Event Name AgX: Grayson Cooke
Start Date 3 Mar 2016 9:00 am
End Date 3 Apr 2016 8:48 pm
Duration 31 days, 12 hours and 48 minutes

AgX is an art-science project about materialmemory and forgetting, traits that are central to who we are as human beings.

By focusing on the way photography encapsulates memories, and makes themtangible and physical, this project is designed to appeal to anyone who hastaken or stored a photograph as a way of remembering. This is especiallyimportant for the older generations of people who have experienced photographyon film, and who may have collections of slides and negatives stored away incupboards and attics.

As we shift from analog to digital, the question of whatwe do with these celluloid memories becomes more and more critical; thisproject asks people to reflect on their own photographic collections, and thepossibility of their disappearance.

Artist Grayson Cooke works across disciplines as both a scholar and media artist to explore the way we archive our personal lives, our society and culture, and our environment. Grayson examines how we store these material memories, and how we relate to them both individually and as nations. In his work, Grayson hopes to change the way we view our past, and transform our experience of the present day.

This exhibition features time-lapse macro-photography of photographic negatives being chemically destroyed. The symbol AgX is chemical shorthand for thesilver halides, the light-sensitive compounds that constitute the celluloidimage. The silver halides are the ground of a certain historical regime of theimage; throughout the 20th century, it was on celluloid that our visual memorieswere stored. The silver halides are thus the basis for personal and collectivememory – they are the blood of the modern archive, its pulsing life.  As digital imaging comes to play anincreasingly large role in personal and collective life, however, the form ofthese archives, and thus of memory AND forgetting, is changing.

AgX is thus a material enquiry into memory andforgetting, situated at the confluence of analog and digital media. Thephotographs in this project come from the artist's archive of photographicmaterials, they record the images of friends, small details, and naïveobsessions of a former time. They are not artistically significant, and arereturned to us here as nostalgia, but they are also just things in the world,subject to the same physical and chemical laws as any other body, prone todissolution and disappearance just as much as to remembrance. AgX shows usimages transcending their image-ness as they reduce to their material form.

Presented in partnership with Brenda May Gallery, Sydney; and Southern Cross University School of Arts and Social Sciences, and School of Environment, Science and Engineering.