Strong Room: Material Memories and the Digital Record

Jane Wildgoose, Roelof Bakker


Strong Room, by the artist and researcher Jane Wildgoose and the artist Roelof Bakker, was published in 2014 by Negative Press London, a small press established by Bakker with the aim of initiatiing collaborations in print between artists and writers. Strong Room mixes photographs showing traces of preserved past human activity with writing, which highlights the loss of tangible experience and lack of physical presence in the digital world. Reflecting on the aesthetics of abandoned workspaces and the historical and academic importance of paper-based archives, Bakker and Wildgoose explore the potential for perceptions of materialiy to prompt the imagination and evoke memories. In this article, the artists reflect on a range of subjective responses to archives and archival materials and discuss the background to their collaborative approach to developing the book: presenting a selection of Bakker's photographs together with extracts from the accompanying essays in Strong Room.


memory; materiality; archives; remains

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European Journal of Life Writing - ISSN 1876-8156 - is an open access initiative supported by the VU University Library.