anna archibald                 

    The project, this isn’t my grandmother’s house, but it might as well be, is a mainly text-based work that sparked my initial line of inquiry into the potential of found photographs and images. In the project, which takes the narrative and formal structure of a book, I pair excerpts from a journal written to me by my mother at the time of my birth with my own poetry/responses, and a series of found images. In my mother’s writing, she explains to me pieces of my family history, centered around my great grandmother, who I was named after and passed away over the course of her writing the book. With my own writing, I reflect on the current state of my relationship with my mother, my parent’s separation, and my relationship to my place of birth, writing back to her 20 years later and from 5,000 miles away in the confines of a journal-like space that she may never read. Showing this work in book form facilitates the reader in accessing all of the textual material, and presenting a loosely chronological order of events over the duration of the book.

    The images I’ve paired (except the very last one) are all found material from unknown sources, collected at junk shops, featuring and created by people I’ll never know. I use the idea of found imagery to consider what it means to encounter information about ancestors the same way you would strangers- how an image of a place taken by someone unknown can feel instantly familiar while certain family members may always remain strangers. This piece is about encountering pieces of my own history through mundane and unexpected gestures, encounters with people and objects, and creating my own artifacts for understanding hybrid cultural identity and experiences.