Photographs of archival material, 2017
Carlton Mansions, an expansive and now empty Victorian building in South London’s Brixton, was an active short-life housing co-op for 35 years. In 2014, the final occupants of the building were evicted by Lambeth Council, prompting former resident Matthew Clarke to donate a body of material relating to the co-op to Lambeth Archives. It’s possible I know nothing was carried out over four months to document the cataloguing process of the Carlton Mansions Collection, culminating in a photographic installation in a disused corner of the Archive building. At its core, the project explored the divergence between the messy process of creating an archival catalogue and the relative neatness of its outcome: the creation of a neutral, chronological entry point for future research.
It’s possible I know nothing proposed a shift in focus towards the performative nature of the archivist’s work. It acknowledged that the process is not linear, but that instead, the archive is a space of competing ideas, clashing voices and frustrating absences. This makes the archivist an interpreter, who is subject to distraction, whim and the influence of everyone they encounter whilst de-tangling the paper trail of a period that’s passed.
The materials here are a selection of those used in the original site-specific installation.
Find out more https://carltonmansionscollection.tumblr.com/