Last Argosy

Legacies of Empire

The physical archive is the largest part of Edward’s archive and my current area of investigation. In this extract from, ‘Capturing the moment’, I describe the physical archive:

The largest archive is an embodiment of Edward and his ordinary yet extraordinary life. When I first viewed the files they reminded me of how the artist Joseph Cornell would first construct his files before creating one of his box compositions. The files hold the thread of narrative, hidden in photographs, correspondences, postcards, etc. They are designed and ordered and have a scrapbook look and feel. After several months of conversations with Edward and the files, it became apparent they are an important link to his past and facilitate immediate access to his memory.

(Kelly 2018: 6)

Many hours have been spent scanning and recording the physical archive with the aim of transcribing the physical archive into developing and designing a timeline. The timeline is a curation of the physical archive and the design influences are taken directly from the look and feel of the original files. Along with Edward’s timeline I have designed a simpler alternative timeline, where I intend to invite participants to develop alternative experiences of the period. These timelines will reflect the mixing of narratives explored through the autoethnographic process. This is a way of opening these narratives out to the archive, exploring the legacy of Empire and post-colonial citizenship.