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BA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography x The Stanley Kubrick Archive

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ASCC searchroom display, Lolita install
ASCC searchroom display, Lolita install
ASCC searchroom display, Lolita install.
Written by
Georgina Orgill
Published date
16 January 2020

At the end of last year, the archive worked with BA Documentary Photography and Photojournalism students on an elective unit with the Stanley Kubrick Archive. We first collaborated with this course in March 2019, and the success of the initial project meant that it was turned into an elective unit.

The project lasted for nine weeks. After an introduction to the archive and an introductory tour, the students were split into four groups and asked to research a film, theme or aspect of Kubrick’s work and create a response to it, which would be exhibited in display cases in the ASCC searchroom, Typo Café (LCC) and at Chelsea.

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ASCC searchroom install, Kubrick and changing landscapes display.
University Archives and Special Collections Centre, ASCC searchroom install, Kubrick and changing landscapes display
| Photograph: University Archives and Special Collections Centre

For most students, it was their first experience of archive research, and initially, some groups found it hard to narrow down their ideas into a project which would be achievable in the tight timeframe they were given. Most groups made several visits to the archive, and although there were overlaps in the material they focused on (A Clockwork Orange was covered by two groups), the resulting responses were very different.

Typo Cafe (LCC), maze display install
University Archives and Special Collections Centre, Typo Cafe (LCC), maze display install
| Photograph: University Archives and Special Collections Centre

One group examined the changing landscapes where Kubrick shot his films, with another examining Kubrick and Brutalism. One group used mazes as a metaphor for Kubrick’s working style, complete with an impressive scale model of the maze from The Shining. The final group looked at the controversial side of Kubrick’s films, and recreated the Bert Stern image of Sue Lyon used in Lolita publicity.

Chelsea display, Kubrick and Brutalism
University Archives and Special Collections Centre, Chelsea display, Kubrick and Brutalism
| Photograph: University Archives and Special Collections Centre

It was fantastic to see such variety in the final displays, showing how Kubrick’s work can be constantly reinterpreted, and his archive reactivated by creative responses.

The archive material used in these displays are publicly available to view by appointment, please contact archive-enquiries@arts.ac.uk for questions and booking requests.