Reenacting the Spencer & Gillen photographic archive
Sir Baldwin W. Spencer and Frank J. Gillen photographs are from the collections of Museum Victoria and South Australia Museum. The repurposing of the images and the views expressed in the work are those of the author alone and in conjunction with community consultation.
Part of the project ‘Encounters’
‘Encounters’ is a long-term, research-based comparative visual anthropological investigation of Western representations of cultural otherness across time and cultures. Grounded in archive-based photographic interventions and collaborations with indigenous peoples in three sites: Central Australia (May-June 2014), the Brazilian Amazon (April-May 2015), and Siberia (February 2017), the project explores how Western photographers have represented cultural otherness through time and how cross-cultural and co-creative collaboration may render a new form of cultural critique that can destabilize stereotypical understandings of history and cultural contact.
The project does so through four interrelated methods:
archive-based research on photographic works from the period between 1860 and 1920 visual repatriation of the archive photographs to the places where they were originally made in-depth conversations based on the photographs with indigenous descendants of those in the original photographs the collaborative production of new photographs in dialogue with the original material through mise-en-scène, re-enactment, and creative dramatization of the source material
The project will be presented in book, web and exhibition format.