is this not my work?
jolene mok feat. lisa mccarty
an online video archive; experimental documentary
medium specificity | analog and digital | archiving as an art form | visual representation | consumer as producer | questioning authorship/co-authorship | video art | experimental and documentary arts

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About the project:

Through representing Lisa McCarty’s analog photography collection in the form of an online video archive, I attempt to question the notion of authorship and investigate how it could be constituted.

Lisa has long been a very dedicated photographer, her persistence in taking analog photography, as her major creative platform is instructive. Apart from her chance-driven experimental approach in capturing still images, I am particularly compelled by the strong and intact structure of her photograph archive.

To create, to present and to represent are three basic yet crucial practices in ones’ artistic pursuit. Generally speaking, ones’ achievements in the making of arts are measured and indicated by how productive, generative and groundbreaking ones could reach. Such a trend is inevitable for upholding the ‘law & order’ in the art world. However, within such a product-driven, output-oriented setting, the pre and post-making phases in the art making has always be marginalized and overlooked.

Looking at Lisa’s photograph archive, her ability to produce, to generate and to break rules could clearly be seen. What I genuinely admire in her is her awareness and insight to archive her photographs, which turns out to be a much valuable asset within her body of work. Through going over her archive, I genuinely think that the archive itself is an individual, stunning piece of artwork, which deserved to be highlighted and promoted in a much wider sense.

So, I wonder, what possibly could I do to pay tribute to Lisa’s archive?

Personally speaking, I take video as my core creative tool and platform, which allows me to represent stories and experience within a specific time span and unique spatial setting. Through looking into at Lisa’s archive, I cannot help thinking to what extent I can make still images and motion pictures in a dialogue with one another. Besides, I find the challenge arises from authorship issues yet another interesting topic to explore.

Through the making of an online video archive entitled Is this not my work? I try to break the boundary of various binary structures: By flipping over Lisa’s analog photograph archive page by page and have the entire process digitized through video documentation, I attempt to explore what alternative dialogues could be brought up between still images and motion pictures; Through engaging myself to re-invent a specific body of work of another artist, I want to challenge how authorship and co-authorship could be re-constituted; From stepping away from being a standard consumer/viewer, I re-position myself as an active producer through the means of producing an online video archive; Finally, I want to see in what ways the visual can be represented by integrating both the experimental and the documentary arts.