Tracing the Trace is an experiment in "on-line exhibition" made in collaboration with digital media scholar Emily Smith. Interested in the way in which art - as artifact and as event - negotiates the relationship between absence and presence (between what once was and what is and what will be) we use two major methodological approaches - one performative, the other documentary - to record two Victoria cemeteries. Through my digital camera and Emily's video camera and microphone we attempt to reveal the way in which digital objects are as material and as real as the things they represent. This exhibition explores how all things - people and objects alike - are implicated in a dynamic and complex network of relations. Here, the photographs are the medium, as they mediate the performative experiences (walking through the cemeteries, inspired by de Certeau), creating traces that are then further mediated as they are exhibited on this website. We have also described the process of further mediation, or manipulation, by documenting the editing process involved in producing the photographs as a way of acknowledging the distance between the actual event these photos purport to document, but also to draw attention to the always performative aspect of art, something which can, perhaps, only be emulated in practice, not simply in seeing.
Our visits to the cemeteries were as much about the movement toward the cemetery - the institutionalized site of absence - as they were about the traces that were found there. From these traces - everything from the commemorative tokens left by well-wishers to the traces left by time as graves were crumbled or grown over with moss - we created our own traces in the form of photographs, thus calling attention to the way in which every action, every movement intentional or unintentional, and every creation makes a trace, at once referencing something else, while becoming its own object of interest and inquiry. This sequence considers the way in which photographs can teach us something go about the practices of memory.