On Documentation (Processing Process)

An impromptu pose from Caroline with her flagpole.

An impromptu pose from Caroline with her flagpole.

As you may gather from looking at our recent blog posts, we’ve started to take photography pretty seriously at Making Room these last few weeks. Documentation serves many purposes in our lives, but it takes on particular significance when it comes to art-making.

Of course, artwork itself can be documentation— one or many particular renditions of a moment or place. For instance, you could say that the stories we’ve been publishing are partially documentations of PARC, of the people who make up the PARC community, and of the author, Bob Rose’s memory of them.

But what we’ve been getting really interested in recently is the documentation of the process of art-making. How do we capture the broader, unlimited experience of the “art” that we do, in all of its iterations and perspectives? How can we honour our acts of coming together, or shared rituals, our hands at work, through imperfect media like photographs, texts, sound recordings and video? How do we represent our very attempts at artistic representation before, during and after their execution?

At a recent Sand in Water workshop, we talked about documentation, and the first reason Alice gave for why it is important is because “that is how we proceed to the next project”. Records of our group’s previous process can provide an important ground to remind us what we’re doing as we move forward towards something new— like our celebration on June 21st.

But Alice and Shelley also cite the practical purposes of having documentation, which is a way of explaining ourselves when words fail us. People at PARC and elsewhere often ask us where Making Room’s ideas come from and what they mean, and sometimes it’s just easier to show them.

In any case, expect to encounter new kinds of evidence for the experiences and experiments of Making Room.

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