Queering archives and archiving queers in contemporary art

Bell, James Crawford (2021) Queering archives and archiving queers in contemporary art. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

Text (Doctoral thesis)
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This thesis investigates why LGBTQ* archives and histories have become so prevalent in contemporary art within the past decade. To answer this question, I look to three contemporary artworks, made amongst a flurry of anniversaries and increased visibility for the LGBTQ* community, which mediate gay and lesbian pasts: Sharon Hayes’ In My Little Corner of the World, Anyone Would Love You (2016); P. Staff’s The Foundation (2015); and Conal McStravick’s Learning in a Public Medium (2015—17). The artworks are composed from archival materials including correspondence, magazines and other ephemera of their subject’s lives. The artworks knowingly foreground archives as sites productive of queer politics and subjectivities through their engagement in the present. This is queering the archive. Equally, the artworks provide a means through which to figure queer and trans* subjectivities in the historical archive. In other words, the artworks establish links between gay and lesbian pasts and contemporary queer and trans* subjects now. I term this historical constitution archiving queers. To unpack this, I consider the artworks use of moving image, performance, and education with their associated art historical discourses. This thesis brings together the theoretical writings of Ann Cvetkovich, Jacques Derrida, Elizabeth Freeman, José Esteban Muñoz, and Diana Taylor, to propose queering archives and archiving queers as a mode of artistic historiographic practice that embraces the archival and the nonarchival, reconceives the past and present, and challenges the certitudes of history and memory tied to a material trace.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Arts
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 02 Nov 2022 12:23
Last Modified: 02 Nov 2022 12:31
URI: https://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/50509

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