Archiving Artistic Processes in Evolving Relationships
This thesis is concerned with the institutionalization of artistic processes, particularly in the forms of the archive and the art museum. It is argued that artistic processes are complex, varied, and involves many factors. The archive and the museum, armed with the task to preserve valuable records for society, are also participants of artistic processes, while at the same time contributing to the symbolic value of the objects they hold as they feed their interpretations to a passive audience. Yet as artistic processes enter the archive and the museum, the role of the institution is downplayed and recorded separately from the work of the artist, with the artist being a common organizational principle of artistic processes. The material aspects of works are privileged in the archive and the museum, while processes, especially those that didn’t result in material productions, are seldom discussed. It is argued that the emphasis on the role the artist rather than that of the institution; and the focus on the materialized works rather than immaterial processes, benefit the institution as it excludes the institution’s role and what it marginalizes. This thesis then discusses the recent development of conceptual art, information society, as well as changes of the art museum’s role from a bourgeoisie enlightenment project to a site of reflexivity and criticism, which is now expected to provide the service of artistic critique for productivity in a Post-Fordist society. It is argued that these developments force the art institution to adapt to immaterial aspects of artistic processes; at the same time, the art museum must also renegotiates its relationship to the artist and the audience. The artist and the audience can now push existing institutional boundaries, yet at the same time can be institutionalized themselves, functioning as infinite extensions of the museum. In this instance, artistic processes provides an opportunity to connecting different realities, given that the art institution goes beyond a site of aesthetic discussion and serves instead as a node with its role rooted in reflexivity and criticality. The act of documentation and archiving, must not become a tool to cut off the vitality of operationality of the artistic process, but rather provide a site where official narratives are connected with other realities.