Instant Archives

Exhibition Archive

Instant Archives

Emily Donnini, Travis Souza & Ralph Mackenzie
Curated by Nicola Wright

20.08 – 11.09.11

Friday 19 August | 7 - 9

04.09.2011 | 4 – 6

Friday - Sunday | 12 - 5
Or by appointment

David Dale Gallery & Studios are pleased to present Instant Archives, an exhibition of new work by Emily Donnini, Travis Souza and Ralph Mackenzie, curated by Nicola Wright. Instant Archives marks the first exhibition of an annual curatorial opportunity offered by David Dale Gallery & Studios, which invites an emerging curator to propose and instigate an exhibition with the support of the gallery.

The ‘instant archive’: silos of un-arbitrated information created by the quickening pace and expansion of communications within a contemporary society; the detritus of action. Instant Archives proposes alternatives to hierarchical presentations of texts and images to interrogate failure within these systems, both created and inherent, and escape the given classifications of their subject matters. The archive becomes less a container than a model for distribution in a move beyond narrating information to (dis)organising it, creating distances and deferrals between a past and present, here and there.

Emily Donnini explores the slippages that occur within categorical determinations to engender non-hierarchical understandings of information, ciphers, texts and forms. Working with repositories such as Internet search engines and vinyl records, works transpose and problematise distances, allowing fleeting, fugitive correlates to arise. For Instant Archives, Donnini will present new video work in addition to related sculptural and photographic works. Filmed predominately in Dawsholm Park, the video captures the seductive qualities of what first appears to be fields of luminescent foreign bodies, intercut with animation and stock footage. Drawing on Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged (1957), illusions to science fiction and couture fashion are strangely displaced against Rand’s charter of absolute individualism combined with a demanding moral hierarchy.

Ralph Mackenzie’s practice marks the significance of production over resulting product. For Instant Archives, Mackenzie will present new work that extrapolates the cyclical manufacture, reconstitution, entropy and eventual erasure of information within a finite, analogue container. Consisting of two ‘stations’ – recording and playback – sounds are collected from the surrounding space and replayed on a delay, only to be erased once the tape has looped and new information has been recorded. Through innumerable iterations and restatements, the work’s edit follows an interior logic or system, which manifests itself as an engagement with the space of production as a form of both dissemination and redaction.

Travis Souza’s modes of engagement, from a self-directive school programme to a three-legged race for the unemployed, see him considering the art world’s culture of work and leisure, and its ostensible function as a utopian model for production and labour. Works produced often have several lives, existing provisionally between meanings and context to renegotiate their given discourses. Souza’s work for Instant Archives takes its title from William Morris’ News From Nowhere, or, An Epoch of Rest, Being Some Chapters From a Utopian Romance (1890). A divergent kind of aspirational setting constitutes the works visuals; swimming pools in holiday brochures. For the duration of the preview evening, Souza will be at the actual location of one of the pools depicted.


Emily Donnini lives and works in Glasgow. She received a BA from Greensboro College and a Post-Baccalaureate degree from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She graduated from the MFA programme at Glasgow School of Art in 2010. Past exhibitions include Facebook Is A Flawless Object, Around the Corner Project Space, Sils Residency Exchange, Rotterdam (2011), GSA MFA Exhibition CCA and Glue Factory, Glasgow and The Glasgow School of Art MFA International Exhibition, Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin (2010). She has been selected as one of Axis Webs MAStars.

Ralph Mackenize lives and works in Glasgow. He graduated from the Glasgow School of Art in 2009, with a BA (hons) in fine art photography. Past exhibitions include The Mutual Members’ Show, The Glue Factory, Glasgow (2010), WHITE, David Dale Gallery & Studios, Glasgow (2010), Now I Know my ABC’s, +44 141 Gallery, Glasgow (2009), Kill Your Darlings, Shoreditch Town Hall, London (2009), and Roy G. Bivolo, South Side Studios, Glasgow (2009).

Travis Souza lives and works in Glasgow. He graduated from the Glasgow School of Art in 2009 with a BA (hons) in environmental art. Past exhibitions include Travis Souza: Doer’s and/of Doings, A Pop-up School, Sierra Metro, Edinburgh (2011), Verses, Market Gallery, Glasgow (2010), and Cut/Paste (supported by ContemporaryArtETC), Embassy Gallery, Edinburgh (2009).

Nicola Celia Wright is based in London. She graduated from the Glasgow School of Art in 2009. She is currently completing an MFA in Curating at Goldsmiths College, London. Selected curatorial projects include characters in search of an exit (Mircea Cantor, Beatrice Gibson, Mauricio Guillén, Amalia Pica, Ric Warren) MOT International, London, VOL.1 Short Film Programme, (with collective Vol.*) Lewisham Art House, London, Testing Ground | Time Scale, 176 Gallery, London (all 2011).


Roundtable discussion and screening


An event for further discussion on the varying sensibilities toward the archive as seen in its practical manifestations, academic potentiality, and consumer appeal.

While archive has become a key site of inquiry within contemporary art practices, Do What The Clouds Do looks to deliberate the archive in its expanded field. Reflecting on the divergent elements which might organize ‘the archive’ as both an idea and a material accumulation, the event will look to the significance and practice of its contemporary forms. Do What The Clouds Do will work to interrogate ‘the archive’ as a site operating beyond testimony or authority, but as an active site of mutable transparency, heterogeneity, perpetual revision and distribution.

Do What The Clouds Do will consider what an instant archive might constitute in a roundtable discussion with Francis McKee (Director, Centre for Contemporary Art, Glasgow), Malcolm Dickson (Director, Streetlevel Photoworks, Glasgow), Damien McCaffery (University of Glasgow), Glasgow-based artists collective It’s Our Playground (Camille Le Houezec & Jocelyn Villemont) and Instant Archive’s curator, Nicola Wright.

The discussion will be preceded by a short screening of films and video clips selected by the panel, including Oliver Laric‘s Versions (2010), with additional contributions from exhibiting artists, Emily Donnini, Ralph Mackenzie andTravis Souza.

Do What The Clouds Do will be chaired by David Dale Gallery & Studios committee member, Darren Tesar.