If Not Here, Then Where?

Artist Feature of Danielle Ezzo

Recently, The Metropolitan Museum of Art developed a digital archive of their entire collection and made it available to the general public. Despite the extensive exhibition history there’s an equal amount of material that has never been shown: anonymous works, old postcards, textiles, and ancient jewelry.The viewing of artwork this way has its trade-offs though. Broad searches by date/era, object/material, geographic location, and keyword engage the archive. But unexpected results are common in a place where curation and the canon of discourse is no longer a priority. Objects that have never lived together, make new meaning outside of time and tradition simply by how they’re filtered.That’s where ‘If Not Here, Then Where’ begins. I scrape the database of 406,000 public domain images, selecting and printing only artifacts that intrigue me. My personal preferences on composition, color, and aesthetics are what drives what’s printed and what’s left behind, applying another layer of bias into the search results.The artifacts cluster together and form delicate mobiles that exist again in tangible form, but they are not what they once were. As constructions they're fragile and easily disturbed. The artifacts are forever altered: flattened, downsampled, and all relative in size to one another. They’re reliant on the quality of their documentation to survive in their new bodies. Sometimes names, histories, and provenances have been erased for ease. What they lack in context and historical grounding they are charged by the newness of proximity to one another. I grapple with how post-colonialism extends past the historical art object, the collection, presentation and archiving of artifacts; and as representations of those objects proliferate and evolve virtually not merely existing in neutral virtual platforms, but also engaging with the infrastructure of those spaces and their own set of bias.