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Matthew Haycocks

Published date
27 Jun 2018

Where are we now? Geo-located narratives of quotidian archives

College: Central Saint Martins
Supervisor: Stuart Jones


The subject area of this research is the interpretation of historic photographs of place, and in particular the way that heritage institutions use imagery from personal collections to give accounts of the past.

Context and background

The research will investigate strategies used by museums to gather images from the general public and explore the way the images are subsequently displayed and consumed using hand-held digital devices (phones and tablets). These GPS enabled devices allow images to be 'overlaid', onto the exact geographical location and orientation of their origination.

The research questions are: how do institutions acquire photographic images from the general public and what motivates people to donate their 'family snaps'? What value do institutions place on them and how do they use them?

I will conduct a critical inquiry into how technologies fuse the past and the present by interposing databases of historic photographs of place into the space between the viewer and the view, and how this changes both the way places are presented and perceived and how stories of the past are told and understood.

Within my own art practice I aim to mix archival images with consciously fabricated narratives, propose alternative histories and analyse the cultural obsession with heritage.

Aims and objectives

  • I will produce a survey of geo-located media and artwork, alongside their historical precedents from the mid 20th century to the present; and examine 2 contemporary institutional projects, displaying archives of historical images linked to location.
  • By working with a heritage organisation, I will develop principles and research technologies to enable me to solicit content and design my own co-located display system (App).