July 21, 2005 - e-flux - An Image Bank for Everyday Revolutionary Life
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July 21, 2005

An Image Bank for Everyday Revolutionary Life

An Image Bank for Everyday Revolutionary Life

e-flux projects 

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 www.e-flux.com ) 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@e-flux.com

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