Treblinka: Archaeological Investigations & Artistic Responses (2016), eds. Caroline Sturdy Colls & Michael Branthwaite, Stoke: Centre of Archaeology Special Issue, ISBN 9781534632295
Between 800,000 and 1 million people lost their lives at Treblinka extermination camp during the Holocaust. A further 10,00 perished in the nearby labour camp as a result of the Nazi death through work policy and ad hoc executions. Since 2007 both camps have been the subject of forensic archaeological research by Dr Caroline Sturdy Colls, to reveal new insights into the nature and extent of Nazi persecution.
This book presents the major findings, which included the discovery of the gas chambers, personal effects of victims, and mass graves. It also includes artistic response to these findings, curated by Michael Branthwaite and commissioned as part of the international exhibition Finding Treblinka. Featuring new artworks by Michael Branthwaite, Dave Griffiths, Janine Goldsworthy, Hilary Jack and Jenny Steele, this opened at the Museum of Struggle and Martyrdom in Treblinka, Poland in August 2015 and the Wiener Library in London, UK in June 2016.
From: Emily Gosling, review of Frequency13, Design Week, 21 October
“Another incredible and incongruous space that makes the most of the juxtapositions between futuristic artwork and the city’s crumbling medieval past is the Bath House next to Lincoln Castle, where Dave Griffiths’ work Babel Fiche is running. The 18-minute video piece was formed from moving-image content donated to the artist, which was then compressed onto microfilm to form a strange, non-linear ‘time capsule’. The piece explores how archivist of the future will view our continually-recorded present, which – as one of the video’s many narrators puts it – ‘we flick from scene to scene without observing’.
Through the endlessly shifting footage of a dead mouse, rubbish dump, clubbers, line dancers, pretty girls, planes, a young family in a suburban high street, riots and skimming pebbles by the sea, Griffiths places all imagery on a level plane. The non-hierarchical, non-linear treatment of the scenes questions what recorded fragments from today will be valuable in future; and whether our constant desire to record and document our time is, deep down, a manifestation of our ‘fearing the crime of disappearance’.”
Read the full review of Frequency13
Cornerhouse, 26 September 2013, 6pm, free
“Join us for the launch of a new Cornerhouse publication exploring new possibilities of collage using material gleaned from cinema’s near endless supply of imagery. Misdirect Movies is a touring exhibition featuring Andrew Bracey, Cathy Lomax, Dave Griffiths, David Reed, Elizabeth McAlpine, John Rimmer and Rosa Barba.
This beautifully illustrated publication is designed by Mike Carney and features newly commissioned texts by writers from cinema, art and literature: Jaimie Baron, Andrew Bracey, Sam George, Sir Christopher Frayling, John Rimmer and Maria Walsh.
Extract from review, Art Monthly 369, September 2013, pp.24-25
“So in Misdirect Movies we have contemporary artists building on and reprising modernist activity, but doing so not as pastiche for the benefit of the market, but as distancing devices from cinema. The acknowledged principle for the show may be collage and the rearrangement of cinemas’s infinite supply of imagery – it is infinite because it grows faster than our capacity to appraise or rearrange it – but the outcome is something beyond cinema. I was especially taken by Dave Griffiths’ presentation of tiny, almost unintelligible images on glass slides, to be viewed through a microscope. The slides themselves, and the demand that one put them in the apparatus and focus it, recalled the materiality of proto-cinematic devices in the 19th century – not the precursors of cinema, but rather evolutionary paths that weren’t pursued. So too the creation of a flow of images, one slide after another, required a body rather than dematerialising it. The microscope also brought the viewer back to the history of optics, the idea of fixing the object in sight, and the need for the precision lens with which to do it.”
Read the full review
“The film is a powerful piece of work and asks questions about the permanence of our information-rich, but largely digital, age. I have personally wondered if future historians might see the twentieth century as the start of a new ‘dark age’. One in which historical records are rare – not in this case because of the fall of the Western Roman Empire – but because the digital records that were kept are not longer readable with future technology, or have simply decayed beyond use.”
Full review on Sean Clark’s blog