A Social Event Archive: Volume 5 (1997-2007)
Author and Editor: Paul Druecke
Publisher: Milwaukee Art Museum (2017)
A Social Event Archive is a collection of 731 photographs gathered over a ten year period, beginning in 1997. The Archive is comprised of physical photographs, predating the wide-spread use of digital photography by nearly a decade. In fact, the Social Event Archive is seen as foreshadowing the now familiar sharing of personal life via phone cameras and social media.
The process for collecting donations for the project evolved over time: from door to door solicitations and word of mouth, to a mailer campaign and collection boxes at exhibitions of the Archive. A website, www.asocialevent.com, encouraged visitors to submit their own donations, while hosting a platform to exhibit the photographs digitally.
The guidelines for donation were simple: any photograph was fair game, as long as it was roughly standard snapshot size, and depicted a social occasion. The meaning of this term was left up to each contributor to decide. This resulted in submissions that illustrate a far greater understanding of a social occasion in practice than any one person, the artist included, could ever have thought of. Organizing submissions by the order they were received in allows for contrasts between photographs that are sometimes unexpected. Pictures of weddings, birthday parties, Christmas mornings, and graduations exist alongside other, less conventional photographs, the gravestone of an anonymous soldier, seals lounging on San Diego piers, and a zoomed-in image of micro-organisms, presumedly. No single life event is the subject of the Archive. Instead, it asks us to reconsider our relationships to socializing and the structures that govern this.
2017 Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI
2007 Open Engagement, Regina, Canada
Aurora Picture Show, Houston, Tx
2006 Locust Projects, Miami FL
2003 AllstonSkirt Gallery, Boston, MA
2002 Foster Gallery, University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire
Delta Axis @ Marshall Arts, Memphis, TN
Crossman Gallery, UW–Whitewater
2001 Lump Gallery, Raleigh, NC
2000 The Figurative Show, FGA Space, Chicago IL
Union Theater Gallery, UW–Madison
1999 Tracey, Liverpool Biennial
Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design
Milwaukee Enterprise Center
ASEA Benefit, Tasting Room, Milwaukee, WI
Fiesta Hispania, Madison Wisconsin
1997 Website created at WWW.ASOCIALEVENT.COM