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David Rokeby, The Giver of Names (1991-)

Documentary Collection

Introduction to the Collection, by Caitlin Jones and Lizzie Muller


Maintaining the tension between the ideal notion and the real manifestation of The Giver of Names in this documentary collection has produced a productive way to reconcile the way in which ephemeral artworks exist in the world and the way they are represented in archival contexts. The result is a collection that provides multiple perspectives of the work, as well as multiple layers of information, held together with - but not sublimated to - the idea of a unified ideal. As such we hope the collection will provide future researchers with an array of tools and perspectives through which they can understand the actuality of the work as richly as possible. Rather than creating an authoritative documentary account, which establishes a single ideal identity of the work, we have sought to capture its mutability and contingency through the dialogue between its experiential, conceptual and technical aspects. Through this strategy we believe we have created a more, not less, “complete” account of the artwork. By allowing future researchers to understand more deeply the occurrence of the work in this particular place and time we believe that our collection offers them a field of possibilities relating to the work, enabling them to act confidently, in their own time and place, in respect to their own conservation work, research, re-staging or exhibition projects.

Caitlin Jones & Lizzie Muller © 2008 FDL