The Visual Archive

Critical Thinking and Making — Spring  2024

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?


Reading & Watching

  • Archive as Method. Screening. (password on Canvas). As a response, summarize your interest in archives in 200 words—use at least one examples from the screening. Find an external definition of what an archive is (= not written by yourself but found in a book, an institutional website, …) and add this & source at the end of your paragraph. Work in the google doc in our shared google drive WEEK 2. Submit by Wednesday, 9/6, 6pm ECT
  • John Berger: Ways of Seeing, pages 7-10 (min)
  • Hillary Collins: What makes a good research topic?

A Pecha Kucha presentation

  • Take pictures of 5 objects that represent your research interest.
  • All 5 objects can represent the same topic or diverse areas of interest.
  • Create a PDF with 5 pages, each page has one object.
  • Upload the PDF to the shared google drive into the folder week 2: PECHA KUCHA
  • Be able to talk about each image for 20 sec.
  • 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

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