Former students continue to drop into the Old Birrego School as news spread about our work. Some arrive during the day, not knowing that our artwork involves projection through the school room window which can only be viewed at night. We show them their old school room and ask if they would like to come back in the evening. But we are told that older people do not want to drive at night because of animals on the road. I am embarrassed that I had not taken this into account and made work which was not accessible to a very important part of the community.
From Our School House is site-specific. It is meant to be viewed and listened to inside the school room of the Old Birrego School. I began to make a dvd of the work for those who were not able to come at night. Making a dvd means that the oral history and photographs new and old not only would be collected, digitized and collated as done in the last two and a half weeks, but will remain as a tangible archive within the community.
I wonder about the relationship between collective memory and archive.
I am thinking I need to give a copy of the dvd version of From Our School House to the library and museum in Narrandera. Perhaps I should send a copy to the local newspaper. Perhaps I should send a copy to the Wagga Wagga Art Gallery. Perhaps I should send a copy to the Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga library.
Then I stop to wonder what this compulsion to archive is all about.
In a case like From Our School House, which may be called a process driven site-specific memory installation work, is there a need for archive? Is not the shared memory of process enough?
What is it that compels us to remember together?
Perhaps these thoughts are with me because I am leaving here tomorrow to return to Sydney.