See more HERE. And visit the website online HERE.

Dragging The Archive Virtual Tour from Franklin Furnace on Vimeo.

Dragging the Archive

Dragging the Archive: a personal re:encounter with the early cyber years of Franklin Furnace by Elly Clarke

The 8th Annual Live at the Library Exhibition

Opening reception, Thursday, January 19, 2023, 5-7 pm
Onsite at Pratt Institute, 
Brooklyn Campus Library, 
200 Willoughby Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11205

& Online at https://franklinfurnace.org/dragging-the-archive

Dragging the Archive is an online/onsite exhibition of materials from the early cyber years of Franklin Furnace Archive, 1996-2002, taking place across three floors of the landmarked Library at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. Founded in 1976 in artist Martha Wilson’s living loft in Tribeca, Franklin Furnace Archive continues to this day to support the production, presentation, and preservation of what was once known as ‘ephemeral art’ - which included artists’ books and live performance. In the mid 1990s, Franklin Furnace transferred its collection of artists’ books to MoMA, NY, sold its physical space, and Wilson made the decision to ‘go cyber’. This major shift ushered in a series of live ‘Netcast’ performances which were presented via Real Player over buffering, dial up networks, and broadcast out of Pseudo Studios in lower Manhattan. Franklin Furnace thus became one of the first arts organizations (anywhere) to support live art on the world wide web. In 1998, 22-year-old Elly Clarke arrived as a student intern at Franklin Furnace, and began to bear witness to, and provide youthful critique of, these new modes and methods of performance. Twenty-five years later, Clarke returns to the Archive to display fragments of what she (re)encountered during a research trip in 2019, and again just now in 2022-23. Clarke’s selections are exhibited alongside extracts from her personal diaries and letters from the 1990s. 

Installed in museum vitrines across three levels of Pratt Library, Dragging the Archive: re:encounters with the early cyber years of Franklin Furnace, is an exhibition designed to be encountered in any order - (pro)posing a starting point for interactions with faxes, slides, videos and the heavy boxes in which these materials have been p/reserved. The ex:position is an invitation: to discuss, respond, and reflect. And to be involved: by zooming in via QR codes, that give greater clarity to fading faxes, the detail of the slides, the YES / NO / YES notes scribbled on the edges of a rejected proposal dug out of deep storage. Visitors are invited to share their reactions to these objects: online via the specially built website, and on site via the old-fashioned visitor’s book you’ll find on the second floor. 

In physics, drag is a force that pulls in two directions at once: forwards, and back; up, and down. It is also both a performance - with the possibility of transformation - and a burden, or resistance. Within the context of this archive, how to hold this tension? How to re:present evidence of a time, an event, a happening, a performance - as well as the major institutional shift taken by Franklin Furnace at this time - out of the physical and digital matter that remains? How best to present an entire storage box of phone messages received for the Founding Director over lunch? Clarke’s response is to present the logbooks as found in storage, as a readymade sculpture titled ‘Missed Calls, 1984-1988.’
Live at the Library, now in its 8th year, is an annual art exhibition and programming series collaboration between Pratt Institute Library and Franklin Furnace Archive. Curated by Elly Clarke with design by Yunjia Yuan, Live at the Library VIII is presented with the support of Michael Asher Foundation; Hollinger Metal Edge Archival Storage Materials, The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs;The New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature; Pratt Institute; The Silicon Valley Community Foundation; and the Board of Directors, members, and friends of Franklin Furnace Archive. And Elly Clarke’s PhD funders CHASE Doctoral Training Programme. 

Dragging the Archive Accompanying Events:

Thursday, January 19, 2023 - 
Onsite Opening Reception of Dragging the Archive 

5:00-7:00pm ET in the Library at Pratt Brooklyn - with simultaneous Dragging the Archive website launch. Elly Clarke’s short introduction will be live broadcast via Franklin Furnace’s Instagram account. Free to attend. Registration taken at entry. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2023 at 6pm-7:30pm ET 
Cristina Fontánez Rodríguez’s Dragging the Workshop: How to Read Archive Materials 

In the Pratt Brooklyn Library, Alumni Reading Room, 
Free, open to the public. 
Booking link here: https://franklinfurnace.org/dragging-the-workshop/ 

Thursday, January 26, 2023
Goldsmiths/Pratt collaboration with Elly Clarke’s MFA curating students and Professor Kim Bobier’s BA Art Since the Nineties class, resulting in new interpretations of the materials on show that will be added to the exhibition website

Wednesday, February 1, 2023, 3pm ET 
Virtual Tour with Elly Clarke and Martha Wilson - showing video walk though and Q&A - with curator Elly Clarke and Franklin Furnace Archive’s Founding Director Emerita Martha Wilson. Online at Franklin Furnace LOFT. Booking link here: https://franklinfurnace.org/dragging-the-archive-virtual-tour/ 

Monday, February 6, 2023 at 3-4:30pm ET - 

Dragging up the Performance: Halona Hilbertz: Pseudo Studio Walk 25 Years Later

Live broadcast from the Alumni Reading Room at the Library at Pratt, Brooklyn Campus to Franklin Furnace online LOFT performance space

Reconstruction of the very first Future of the Present Franklin Furnace / Pseudo Studios Netcast performance, by artist Halona Hilbertz, 25 years later to the day. Link to follow. 

Tuesday, March 28, 2023 at 3-4 pm ET

Dragging the Archive Closing Panel with Elly Clarke, Cristina Fontánez Rodríguez, Halona Hilbertz and Martha Wilson.

Dragging the Archive at Franklin Furnace / Pratt Libraries Jan-April 2023