A ‘ready-made archive’, a holiday correspondence and a philosophico-anecdotal meditation on history, ‘Re: the archive, the image, and the very dead sheep’ is the first collaborative work by Uriel Orlow and Ruth Maclennan.
Ruth Maclennan and Uriel Orlow write to each other while on holiday in the Highlands of Scotland and in Zurich and the Swiss Alps. The correspondents draw on documented, anecdotal and imagined histories of their surroundings to produce associative genealogies: mapping thought, image, object and experience. Seeking correspondences between what has been, what might have been and what could arise, they speculate on pre-archival moments and the archive’s aftermath. This idiosyncratic historiography brings together Cabaret Voltaire, Pictish burial mounds, Lenin, Joyce, the Gulf Stream, and the Rosetta Stone.
The correspondence is expanded by commentaries, afterthoughts and annotations by Robin Banerji, Finn Fordham, Mikhail Karikis and Nicholas Noyes.
The book collates images from personal collections, the internet and museum shops to form an autonomous, yet related image-archive, which generates its own associations and references. This, together with lists of names and terms and a bibliography performs the role of a thesaurical archive-catalogue that provides an alternative entry to the book.
‘Re: the archive, the image, and the very dead sheep’ was commissioned by the National Archives and the School of Advanced Study at the University of London, along with a poster and a video also by Orlow & Maclennan, to accompany the conference Unleashing the Archive held at Senate House, University of London, on 12 November 2004. The book is co-published by Double agents at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, London, and is designed by Kapitza
In May 2004 Uriel Orlow and Ruth Maclennan worked with undergraduate students looking at the hidden associative and emotive structures of archival organisation and their potential visualisation. The workshop formed the basis of a student seminar as a Double agents ‘Studio G01’ event.