Unruly Archives at DJCAD

The following archives held at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design (DJCAD) at the University of Dundee can be considered materially and/or conceptually unruly due to being produced through multi-modal, networked, processual and non-conformist art practices.

REWIND archive 

The REWIND archive was initiated by Professor Stephen Partridge in 2004 and developed through an AHRC-funded research project which addressed the gap in the knowledge of early video art histories in the UK uncovering and digitally remastering around 450 seminal video works made between 1970-1990. The digital collection is accompanied by related ephemera and associated materials all scanned, catalogued, and made available through a website alongside interviews with many of the artists. Material from ‘spin-off’ research projects have been added to this collection over time, including studies on Expanded Cinema, early Italian video art and early European women’s video art, and around 2000 videos made by students, staff and artists in the sought-after Television Workshop production facility from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s. Many of the works in this collection were conceived as multimodal installations or performance, and so their re-installation, re-exhibition, and other forms of articulation is a curatorial challenge.

The Demarco Digital Archive 

The Demarco Digital Archive was established between 2004-2008 through an AHRC-funded research project led by Euan McArthur and Arthur Watson at DJCAD. It provides a unique insight into the rich history of the late 20th century European Avant-Garde through the activities of the Scottish art impresario, Richard Demarco’s activities, including numerous happenings, landmark exhibitions and guided ‘Edinburgh Arts’ journeys around Europe. This digital archive has been developed as an educational and research resource and includes around 10,000 records (photographs, films and video, printed material) from Demarco’s physical archive held at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (SNGMA) and the Demarco European Art Foundation (DEAF). The digital archive at DJCAD disseminates a significant part of Scottish and international art histories of ephemeral, and event-based art practices. Further work carried out by Adam Lockhart and Arthur Watson has seen the recent introduction of audio visual material into the archive, these are primarily documents of events organised by or related to Demarco. There is a question now of how the digital archive can be curated for engagement with ephemeral art practices.

The Alastair MacLennan Archive 

This unique performance art archive, previously held by Locus+ at the University of Sunderland, was donated to DJCAD by Alastair MacLennan in 2019. It brings together over 30,000 slides, video, ephemera, drawings, and objects relating to over 600 site specific and durational ‘actuations’ of one of the UK’s most significant and prolific performance artists active today. This archive is conceived by the artist as a ‘living archive’ and expected to continuously grow in the future with the addition of new artworks and material from the artist’s ongoing practice (including drawing-as-performance, performance-for-camera) as well as material from curatorial projects. The collection is currently being catalogued and digitised at DJCAD with financial support from the ART30 Foundation. The archival website which not only makes the artist’s practice accessible and available online but will also be developed as a digital curatorial platform to engage with the artist’s practice.

The Attic Archive 

The Attic Archive on 37 Street Union Street, Dundee was an independent artist archive conceived by artist Pete Horobin after graduating from DJCAD in 1975. As a self-historicization project the archive documents the life path of the artist through four ten-year-long artworks produced by different identities reflecting the changing conditions in his own life within particular periods in history. The first artwork, Daily Action Time Archive (DATA), 1980-1989, documents Pete Horobin’s existence in his 30s under multiple names; his ramblings in the Scottish landscape, and his involvement in the ‘Eternal Network’ of correspondence artists internationally through mail art and neoist activities. The second artwork, the Marshall Anderson Journals, 1990-1999, reflected his artistic style as a mixed media artist and freelance art journalist in his 40s living and working outdoors in Scotland. The third project, the Peter Haining decade documents the artist’s work in his 50s as a researcher of outsider art in Ireland (Haining’s Irish Biketour in Eire and Round N Ireland (Arts) (HIBERNIA), 2000-2005) and the archivist and curator of the Attic Archive. Between 2005-2010, Haining split and relocated the Archive into national collections across Scotland, Ireland and Hungary, including the University of Dundee Archives, the National Library of Scotland, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, the McManus Gallery,  Artpool Art Research Center, Budapest, and National Irish Visual Arts Library, Dublin. Haining sold the Attic in 2011 and completed a fourth project in his 60s (2010-2020) as ae phor Aitch producing a series of born-digital artworks from the archive revisiting his collaborative projects from the previous decades. The splitting and dispersal of the archive to different institutional collections raise the question of how anti-establishment, networked, performative and conceptual artworks can be understood and articulated in the future from their archives.