The National Archives of the Republic of the Homeless
Artist Vanessa Cardui has spent six months working with members of Hull’s homeless community and Artlink on a project that has become known as The National Archives of the Republic of the Homeless. Taking place over a six month period, the project has involved people working together, sharing experience and building a creative history of homelessness. An exhibition of the project will open at Artlink in June 2019.
Vanessa writes: “The Republic of the Homeless is a little-known state that coexists in parallel with every country in the world. Many of us have lived there; we keep dual citizenship for life. This Republic has a National Archives – a collection of stuff, kept for posterity, that is somehow about the experience of being without a home. It’s a dispersed Archives, held worldwide by individual people with lived experience of being homeless. But the trouble with our National Archives is like most other archives everywhere – it’s disorganised, uncatalogued, underfunded, nobody really knows what there is; although some people are working hard to bring it together. We have begun to catalogue a particular collection within the Archives – artworks made by homeless and ex-homeless artists and makers in Hull in the 21st century. In this, we confront questions of value, authenticity, belonging, and loss; and explore how anyone’s history can get lost and buried when we fall out of normativity in some way, but even so, we preserve it, under the radar.”
Artist Information: Vanessa Cardui is a participatory artist who is interested in archives and how we deal with the past. She is interested in the things we keep, both as a society and as individuals, the taxonomies we create to organise them, and unpicking the professional practices of archivists and museum workers and reclaiming them. She is particularly interested in how we keep and access narratives of resistance and protest – whether that’s conscious and organised protest, or simply personal resistance to an expected norm. She is currently exploring cataloguing as a creative practice – methods for arranging, organising, and annotating the things we keep to remember our pasts.
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