The Visual Archive

Critical Thinking and Making — Spring  2023

April 25, 2023
by Pascal
Comments Off on WEEK 13/14 | Research⇄Making⇄Introduction

WEEK 13/14 | Research⇄Making⇄Introduction

→ Studio Week
Next week is studio week: use the (class-) time to develop your final archive. You are required, however, to meet me for a quick check-in on Thursday. Please sign up for a time using the spreadsheet in our google drive folder, week 13.

To make up for the class I missed at the beginning of the semester, you can email me to schedule an additional individual meeting anytime between now and the final presentation. This is entirely optional!

→ Introduction
Also, write an introduction to your archive using the guiding questions in the HOW-TO document provided in the same folder. Your final introduction should be about one page. Create a new google doc in the folder week 13 with your introduction on or before May 3rd.

April 19, 2023
by Pascal
Comments Off on WEEK 12 | Archive⇄Pitch

WEEK 12 | Archive⇄Pitch

Please upload a documentation of your typology project to the folder week 12 on google drive—include pictures of the version on paper and the animated gif.

Pitch Your Final Archive
On April 27, you will pitch your final archive (requirement: 100 records with captions & introduction). Prepare a concise deck with these slides that you can present in 3 minutes and upload it to google drive folder week 12:

  1. Your Name, Archive Title
  2. Statement:
    I am archiving _______ because I want to _______ in order to ________
  3. Methods:
    What do you record?
    (people, branches, rocks, found images, pieces of …, …)
    How do you record? Be specific!
    (tools, instruments, camera, ask people, use social media)
    What is the rhythm/routine of your recording?
    (every morning I take a picture of …, I use social media to …, over three weeks, I will …)
  4. Visuals:
    3 sample records (images, …) of your archive with captions
  5. Metadata:
    List 10 data items you could collect for each record ranging from basic (date, size, name) to creative/speculative (news headlines, poem, emotions)
  6. Precedents:
    1-2 projects that inspire you
  7. Audience:
    Who will learn from your archive? What will they learn.
  8. Prototype:
    The most up-to-date prototype of your archive. How you will circulate your archive: what medium, early design application.

Optional Readings
Skim and decide if these chapters are helpful for your research/process:

  1. Sven Spieker, THE BIG ARCHIVE, Art from bureaucracy, Chapter 7: Archive, Database, Photography (google drive)
  2. Carolyn Steedman, DUST, The Archive and Cultural History, Chapter 4: The space of memory: in an archive. (google drive)

27/17 – Archive Pitch (in class)
5/4 – Studio Week (individual virtual check-in)
5/11 – Final Presentation

Seher Anand
(Visual Archive, Fall 20)
Signal Still, 2011
Chromogenic prints, Penelope Umbrico
Signals Still, 2011 – ongoing
Signals Still, are images of the screens of TVs for sale on Craigslist. As the substrate on which one sees the image, the screen both sifts and registers the result of the sift.
Read more

April 10, 2023
by Pascal
Comments Off on WEEK 11 | Archive⇄Typology 3

WEEK 11 | Archive⇄Typology 3

On April 20th, we will discuss your typologies. Prepare the following and bring your laptop to class:

→ 1 | Printed Archive
Present your micro-archive. Requirements: Create an archive with at least 24 records (all with captions) printed on multiple pages/cards and as an animated gif. The focus is on similarity (for example, form) through the lens of your research inquiry. The number of pages and format is up to you. Consider this an opportunity to explore directions for your final archive (which does not have to be on paper).

→ 3 | Animated Archive
Use at least 9 of your typology images to create an animated gif. Think about the characteristics of your working object/ research inquiry to identify an appropriate timing for the frames. For example, you can create a “flashy animation” showing all frames with “no delay.” You can also display frames using different durations to focus on specific content. Don’t hesitate to experiment. How to make an animated GIF in Photoshop 

→ 2 | Printed Introduction (max 200 words)
What is this typology-archive about? What is your methodology to make recordings and create visuals? What is the system to develop the captions? How will it inform your final archive?

Optional Readings: (skim and decide if these chapters are helpful for your research/process)

  1. Sven Spieker, THE BIG ARCHIVE, Art from bureaucracy, Chapter 7: Archive, Database, Photography (google drive)
  2. Carolyn Steedman, DUST, The Archive and Cultural History, Chapter 4: The space of memory: in an archive. (google drive)

→ The typologies will be presented in class on April 20th.

Chloe Abidi, 2022, The Visual Archive class,
Luca Grondin, 2019, The Visual Archive class, Website
Nicolai Howalt, Cool, Calm and Collected, Exhibition Poster

April 6, 2023
by Pascal

WEEK 9| Archive⇄Typology 2

On April 13, we will meet in class for a peer review session looking at your typology project one last time. Prepare the following:

→ 1 | Sample Records
5-10 examples (or more) of what your recordings will look like — with captions. The final typology needs to have 24 records.

→ 2 | Archive Prototype
How will you document the records/ images? This micro-archive needs to be shared on paper — there are a couple of examples in the right column. Use a mockup to show if you will create a magazine, a stack of index cards, a poster…

→ 4 | Questions
What do you need to know moving forward.

→ The final typologies with 24 recordings (all with captions) will be presented in class on April 20th. The final typology will be shared on paper and as an animated gif (more about the gif on April 13th!).

Volume-No-3 by kristine Kawakubo (make sure to look at the other projects too)

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is A5_1000.jpg
Volume-No-3 by kristine Kawakubo (make sure to look at the other projects too)
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is b42a7c18545011.56e6ad88676b8.jpg
Noelia Felip
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is B-Sides2011-StudioFeixen-20and121.png
Studio Feixen
B-Sides Festival 2011
Archiving a historic moment:
Julie Héneault: The Wereld, 2013 “Zwarte Strepen” Interview @GRAFIK

March 27, 2023
by Pascal
Comments Off on WEEK 9 | Field School

WEEK 9 | Field School

We will meet in front of Pace Prints (536 W 22nd) at 12.45pm and visit the galleries below. We will end at Printed Matter (231 11th Ave) with time to look at experimental publications or additional exhibitions.

Sol LeWitt (Anyone ?)
Pace Prints, 536 W 22nd

Susan Hiller, Rough Seas (Lily)
Lisson Gallery, 504 W 24th St

James Clar, By Force of Nature (Yuiko)
Silverlens, 505 West 24th

Leo Villareal, Interstellar (Ayten)
Pace Gallery, 540 West 25th

Joe Rudko, Afterimage (Mado)
Davidson Gallery, 521 W 26th

Edward Burtynsky, African Studies (Anyone?)
Sundaran Tagore, 542 W 26th

Printed Matter
231 11th Ave

Joe Rudko, Afterimage
Open February 23 – April 1, 2023
@ Davidson Gallery

Field Trip Instructions
— Making Observations

→ Before we go, click through the galleries/exhibitions and find things that resonate with you.
→ Bring a camera/phone and make sure you document the day, including the work inside the galleries and things you come across on your way.
→ Focus on the methodologies of the artists. For example, what would their instructions be if they gave you an assignment to create the next ten images for your archive?
→ At home, retake a look at all images and select the ones that speak to your research inquiry (directly or indirectly) and arrange them on a letter-size document.
→ Add a short paragraph to describe how these are meaningful to your research process.
→ Export and upload to google drive week 8, “Field School Observations.”

March 23, 2023
by Pascal
Comments Off on WEEK 7 | Archive ⇄ Typologies I

WEEK 7 | Archive ⇄ Typologies I

Field School
→ On March 30, we will visit some galleries in Chelsea. Until Friday, Mar 23, 6pm:
For our visit to Chelsea, select two exhibitions that relate to your research interest and post a link to the gallery into this document. Add one sentence how this is relevant to the class or your research. The schedule for March 30 will be shared on this website. Use these links to identify exhibitions:
See Saw Gallery Guide — APP (recommended)
GalleriesNow — Website

→ Experiment 5 — Typology, Paper
Create an archive of at least 24 records (all with captions) printed on multiple pages/cards and as an animated gif. The focus is on similarity (for example: form) through the lens of your research inquiry. Number of pages and format are up to you. Consider this an opportunity to explore directions for your final archive (which does not have to be on paper).

→ Bernd and Hilla Becher
Video @SFMoMA
The Photographic Comportment of Bernd and Hilla Becher @Tate
→ Ari Versluis & Ellie Uyttenbroek
→ Marco Cadioli
Square with Concentric Circles
Necessary Lines
→ Zeo Leonard
You see I am here after all
→ Nicolai Howalt
Light Break
→ Richard Long
Rock Drawing
→ herman de vries
Zweige der Baeume
→ Penelope Umbrico
Solar Eclipses

→ For next week
Prepare 3 mockup typologies—each with 4 records (one image with a grid 2×2). Experiment with content but also methodologies and upload 3 images (jog or jpg) to our google drive folder week 8.

→ Schedule
3/30: Field Trip
4/6: Individuals
4/13: Typology Presentation

Exhibition at the MET, 2022
Using a large-format view camera, the Bechers methodically recorded blast furnaces, winding towers, grain silos, cooling towers, and gas tanks with precision, elegance, and passion. Their rigorous, standardized practice allowed for comparative analyses of structures that they exhibited in grids of between four and thirty photographs. They described these formal arrangements as “typologies” and the buildings themselves as “anonymous sculpture.”  
Karel Martens, Untitled, 2012
Letterpress monoprint on found card, 148 x 210 mm, Unique (KM2012-05)
Christian Marclay’s photogram, @Fraenkel

September 29, 2022
by Pascal
Comments Off on WEEK 5/6 | Archive ⇄ Time Experiment 3: One Hour—One Page

WEEK 5/6 | Archive ⇄ Time Experiment 3: One Hour—One Page

Last week, we looked at space and ways to translate it into an archive. This week we will be looking at time: How can an archive capture a time frame; a moment, a minute, a year, one hour?

→ Asynchronous
Read, Watch, Write

→ Sven Spieker: The Big Archive. Introduction pages 1-5 (continue if you are interested!)
→ Interview with Penelope Umbrico

Experiment 3 — One Hour
Due: March 23
Document one hour in a micro-archive. This specific hour can be any time from March 9 to March 23. The archive needs to have exactly 15 records with captions; its title will be the date and hour. Presentation/ dissemination requirements: all records need to be visible at the same time.

Prepare for our individual meeting on March 9:
→ Sign up for a time slot in this google spreadsheet
→ Five intentions (things you want to achieve with your research/archive)
→ Concept for the One Hour assignment:
Which specific hour will you archive and why?
What are the recording instruments you will be using?
What is the visual language you are planning to use (bring examples)?
What will be the captions?
How will you share the archive? (Printed on paper, on screen, format, …)

Archiving a historic moment:
Julie Héneault: The Wereld, 2013 “Zwarte Strepen” Interview @GRAFIK
Archiving a second:
#oneSecond by Philipp Adrian. Visualizing 5522 Tweets within the same Second.
Archiving an asynchronous moment:
Penelope Umbrico: 541,795 Suns from Sunsets from Flickr (Partial) 1/23/06, 2006
Detail of 2000 machine c-prints, each 4 x 6 in
Archiving 2 years (a life)
Objects of the everyday. Belgian photographer Barbara Iweins classifies and archives her personal belongings in KATALOG

February 16, 2022
by Pascal
Comments Off on WEEK 4 | Archive ⇄ Space Experiment 2: Urban Collage

WEEK 4 | Archive ⇄ Space Experiment 2: Urban Collage

While you are defining your individual research inquiry we will explore experimental ways of visual form-making. These methodologies can inspire the visual direction of your final archive project.
     This week’s experiment takes you out in the streets (if that is safe for you) for field studies and footage gathering.

→ Asynchronous
Read, Watch, Write

→ Experiment 2: Urban Type Collages. Find the password on Canvas.
→ Scott McCloud. Understanding Comics, Chapter 5, pp 118-137.
→ Principles of Visual Language. Kennedy Art Center.
→ OPTIONAL: Beautiful (Then Gone). A short documentary on the work and life of San Francisco designer, Martin Venezky. (14min)

Experiment 2 — Urban (Type) Collage
(It is ok to not include type)
Print and crop your collages for class!

→ Step 1 Identify
Based on your research inquiry, decide for a physical location near to you. A street, a building, a corner, a park, a room, (…)

→ Step 2 Observe
Take a camera (mobile phone) and and spend at least two hours at your location. As a visual journalist, study the environment from different perspectives (zoom in, zoom out) and take pictures of lines & shapes, positive and negative spaces, patterns & textures, and typography & letters. 

→ Step 3 Create
Tutorial: Using Photoshop to create the Urban Type Collages. Get the password from Canvas.
Use your images to create 7 collages that express 7 of the 9 “Principles of Visual Language” discussed in class:
1. 7×7 inches, black on white only.
2. Apply the demonstrated method combining: Image>Adjustment>Threshold and “Multiply” layers.
3. Take into consideration how your seven compositions become a series to represent the same thing in different ways. Even though it is called “Type Collage” not all compositions have to include type.
4. Upload to google drive, week 5, “Urban Collages”.
Print and crop your collages for class!

→ Martin Venezky’s work in the letterform archive.
→ Appetite Engineers Promotion

Updated Schedule
→ 3/2 Archive ⇄ Space. Urban Collage workshop in class
→ 3/9 Archive ⇄ Time. Individual meetings on Zoom
→ 3/16 Spring Break, no class
→ 3/23 Archive ⇄ Time & Typologies. Workshop in class
→ 3/30 Field School. Trip to Chelsea galleries

February 9, 2022
by Pascal
Comments Off on WEEK 3 | Archive ⇄ Order Experiment 1: Bilderatlas

WEEK 3 | Archive ⇄ Order Experiment 1: Bilderatlas

The records (images) of your archive will tell a story. How does the order of things impact the narrative you are intending to convey?
   This week, we will explore ways to arrange visual material and playfully implement elements & principles of visual language.

→ Asynchronous
Read, Watch, Write

Experiment 1: Bilderatlas.
Find it on vimeo—link and passw on Canvas.

Lorna Simpson, Studio Visit @TATE
Batia Suter, Parallel Encyclopedia

Its Nice That, Design, Revolt, Rainbow: the pioneering work of graphic designer Willy Fleckhaus

1. This helps with your homework for next week:
Koren, Leonard: Arranging Things, pp. 41-47

2. This helps to think about your research inquiry:
Colomina & Wigley: Are We Human, chapter 1

Experiment 1 — Bilderatlas
Create 3 plates of a speculative atlas about your research topic:

  1. Use all 16 images—your 12 images (you can change these if you need to) + 4 images “stolen” from peers—on each panel.
  2. Take time to study the images and arrange them inspired by aspects of your research inquiry. You can also revisit the instructions everyone submitted this week. Only rule: you have to come up with three completely different ways of laying them out.
  3. Go back to your research inquiry (or area of interest) and give a title to each plate.
  4. Write one sentence about your process for each plate.
  5. Both title and process should not be part of the plate.
  6. You can use any software or analog process for this assignment.
  7. Submission/ bring to class:
    3 plates, each on a tabloid size paper (11 x 17 inches)
Examples of plate layout. Your plates might look completely different!
Aby Warburg, Bilderatlas Mnemosyne, Re-created for the exhibition at HKW, Berlin, 2020
Willy Fleckhaus, twen, 1962
Batia Suter talks about her process to compile “Parallel Encyclopedia #2” — the effect of combining images in unexpected ways.

Willy Fleckhaus
Article on It’s Nice That
Spreads on Pinterest

Aby Warburg
About the Mnemosyne Atlas (The Warburg Institute)

Lorna Simpson
Lorna Simpson Studio
Lorna Simpson @TATE
Studio Visit @TATE

Additional Introduction to the grid:
→ Ellen Lupton explains the history and usage of the grid
→ An Introduction to Grids and How-to by Andrew Maher

February 1, 2021
by Pascal
Comments Off on CURRENT—WEEK 2 | Archive ⇄
Narrative (12 Images)

CURRENT—WEEK 2 | Archive ⇄
Narrative (12 Images)

“Seeing per se means thinking about the world and this actually takes place on different levels at the same time,” says Wolfgang Tillmans in an interview for Fondation Beyeler.
     Reflecting on his artistic approach, Arthur Jafa has said that he’s “driven by an impulse to consolidate things that were there, but were dispersed.” (Triple Canopy)
     This week we will expand from one object to 12 images that tell a story. How important are order, sequence, and arrangement?

→ Asynchronous
Read, Watch, Write

1. Charles and Ray Eames:
Powers of Ten
2. Wolfgang Tillmans:
Interview Fondation Beyeler
3. Arthur Jafa:
APEX @MoMA (graphic content)

1. Research for people who think they rather create, Vis Dirk, pp 25-31.
2. Read all peer responses to the archive screening (you will find them in the week 2 folder).


1. After reading all peer responses, reach out to at least one of your peer students in an email. You can share a thought, inspiration, ask a question, (…). The content of the message will NOT be shared in class but please cc me (ONLY) on your first email so I can see you initiated a conversation.

2. Select one object from your PECHA KUCHA and find 11 related images. These can be found images, your own, or a mix. Print these 12 images. 4×6 inch (landscape or portrait). We will use them in class for a workshop—don’t select images you feel uncomfortable sharing.

3. After watching/reading this week’s articles, look at your images and come up with ten ways to give them an order. This can be based on content, form, or speculation. Write down each way of organizing as a one-line instruction and add them to the shared document “Visual Narrative” in the week 3 folder of our google drive.

August 28, 2019
by Pascal
Comments Off on WEEK 1 | Archive ⇄ Research

WEEK 1 | Archive ⇄ Research

This class explores the relationship between form and content: How is meaning constructed and communicated through visual language?
    Through observing, collecting, analyzing, writing, and form making, students apply design processes involving visual research, concept generation, and craft skills.
     Driven by research interest, you will use digital and analog means to build visual archives. These collections are approached as a resource of critical inquiry and to respond to current socio-political issues.
    So, what is your research interest?

Read, Watch, Write

  1. Archive as Method. Screening. (password on Canvas). As a response, summarize your interest in archives in 200 words. Use at least one example from the screening and add a definition of what an archive is at the very end. Work in the google doc in our shared google drive WEEK 2. Submit by Wednesday, 2/1 6pm ECT
  2. John Berger: Ways of Seeing, pages 7-10 (min)
  3. Hillary Collins: What makes a good research topic?

A Pecha Kucha presentation

  1. Take pictures of 5 objects that represent your research interest.
  2. All 5 objects can represent the same topic or diverse areas of interest.
  3. Create a PDF with 5 pages, each page has one object.
  4. Upload the PDF to the shared google drive into the folder week 2: PECHA KUCHA
  5. Be able to talk about each image for 20 sec.
  6. Make a test at home!
Aby Warburg, Bilderatlas Mnemosyne, panel C (recovered, detail) | Photo: Wootton / fluid; Courtesy The Warburg Institute

→ In the 1920s, the historian of art and culture Aby Warburg (1866-1929) created his Bilderatlas Mnemosyne tracing recurring visual themes and patterns across time. Last fall, an exhibition at HKW Berlin restored the last documented version of this atlas.


→ Archive as inquiry: objects of the everyday. Belgian photographer Barbara Iweins classifies and archives her personal belongings in KATALOG

Bernd and Hilla Becher @TATE
→ Hans-Peter Feldmann, Portrait, 1994
→ Herman de Vries, from earth: everywhere @designboom | Journal de Maroc | Branches of trees
→ Aby Warburg, Bilderatlas Mnemosyne: Warburg Institute | Exhibition in Berlin this fall @HKW
→ Mario Klingman, X Degrees of Separation
→ Kelly Walters, With a Cast of Colored Stars
→ Mishka Henner, Astronomical
→ Observational Practices Lab: Atlas of Everyday Objects — In the Age of Global Social Isolation