[artinfo] An Image Bank for Everyday Revolutionary Life

e-Flux info at mailer.e-flux.com
Sun Jul 24 13:16:24 CEST 2005

An Image Bank for Everyday Revolutionary Life
organized by Lauri Firstenberg and Anton Vidokle

e-flux is pleased to present An Image Bank for Everyday Revolutionary 
Life, a multi-phase project that begins as an online photographic 
archive ( located at 
) and makes publicly available for the first time over five thousand 
images from the 20th century. The source for this material is the 
collection of Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros, who compiled 
the photographs over the course of his own extraordinary life.

The archive-unique in structure, content and intention-was explicitly 
meant for the use of fellow artists as a means of inspiration and a 
source of found imagery. As Siqueiros wrote, "Nothing can give the 
[artist] of today the essential feeling of the modern era's dynamic 
and subversive elements more than the photographic document." In 
keeping with his wishes, the contents of An Image Bank for Everyday 
Revolutionary Life are now being organized for access by artists and 
researchers. The custodians of Siqueiros' project intend to introduce 
the archive to contemporary art audiences and to extend the useful 
life of its photographs.

The content of the archive, which spans the 1930s to the early 1970s, 
offers cultural and social portraits of several eras and nations. The 
collection contains photographic documents that capture a range of 
events from political protest to film and theatre performances, from 
anti-fascist demonstrations in New York and riots in Los Angeles to 
moments in the Russian stage and Mexican cinema. As the title of the 
project suggests, the archive offers a politicized vision developed 
in the context of revolutionary struggles in Mexico and abroad.

The photographic archive, approximately half of which is now 
available as a digital image bank, is organized according to 
Siqueiro's original categories, which include "Architecture," 
"Objects," "People and Historical Figures," "Models," "Painting," 
"Sculpture," "Workers and Industry" and "Misery." The original 
archive, from which An Image Bank for Everyday Revolutionary Life is 
drawn, is housed at Sala de Arte Publico Siqueiros (SAPS) in Mexico 
City. In the 1960s, while Siqueiros was engaged in both art and 
activism, he converted his house in the Polanco district of the city 
into a public art space. The house now functions both as a museum for 
Siqueiros' work and a contemporary art venue.

The SAPS archive will serve as the point of departure for the second 
phase of the project, in which an international group of artists and 
writers will be invited to work with the archive's material. This 
collaboration will result in a traveling exhibition beginning at 
REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater) in Los Angeles 
(February-April 2006) and will travel to Sala de Arte Publico 
Siqueiros, Mexico DF, in the fall of 2006.

For further information please write to imagebank at e-flux.com

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