Photo Essay

Peter Metelerkamp

in The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of the Contemporary World

Published in print October 2013 | ISBN: 9780199602001
Published online December 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191755859 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Archaeology

Photo Essay

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  • Contemporary and Public Archaeology


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This project uses the photography of the interiors of buildings to inquire into the ways in which the character of a community reveals itself at a moment in time. Reflexively focused on a provincial British university, it considers spaces that construct and inscribe hierarchies, operate as vehicles for collective management, and produce social and psychic relations. It is also concerned with the nature of institutionalization, and the ambiguous ways that members of institutions retain necessary fictions of personal identity. In focusing on the ordinary and the everyday the photographs question the way significance is attributed. In the tradition of surrealism, they affirm the neglected and the overlooked as subjects for archaeological reflection and examination, and the complex ambiguities of the photograph as a subversive vehicle for uncovering meanings unintended by discourses of power.

Keywords: photography interiors; institutionalization; community; identity; surrealism; subversive

Article.  2705 words. 

Subjects: Contemporary and Public Archaeology

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