An image bank for everyday revolutionary life

An image bank for everyday revolutionary life is:

"a multi-phase project that begins as an online photographic archive, produced and presented by e-flux, 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."

There is very much a dream of the 21st Century in this wish of a 20th Century artist for future re-use of found imagery, as building blocks for new (critical) discourses, as clues for deciphering the present through fragments of the past, as samples for remix operations.

Moreover, the archive (which totals over 11,000 images) comes across as a proto-blogger's collection:

"Siqueiros mined many sources for information on the world, ranging from pages torn out of National Geographic to postcards, popular prints representing national heroes, photograms, personal travel photographs, or images by some of the 20th century's most important photojournalists: the Mayo Brothers, Casasola, etc. Siqueiros used these images to research the social conditions that were at the center of his artistic and social practice. Typical subjects that emerge time and again in the archive include poverty, mass demonstrations, the city, industry, etc."


March 14, 2006 | 06:20 PM