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Aaron Seeto

“…As my family came from China to Australia via Papua New Guinea (as traders) in the early 20th century, the remoteness of the pacific meant that their domestic photographic record only really began in earnest during the 10 years preceding the Second World War. Since 2001 I have been collecting photocopies of my family’s albums, utilising many known and unknown members in my work, piecing together stories that have an almost mythic story-like presence of how individuals adapt and change in worlds away from homelands. My work is interested in the quality of these recollections, which is a melding together of both fantasy and harsh political and individual struggle. Specifically I am interested in how these stories have the potential to renew the ways in which we imagine and recollect the past and equally how these stories provide us with political imperative to understand the present.

My research primarily revolves around two areas: the operation and collection of archives through an expanding familial network; and the poetic consideration of the physical and chemical properties of photography and the archive itself. My interest in silver photographic processes coincides with my interest in my family’s history and the ways in which both the photographic record and the retelling of stories degenerates and is reconstructed through time…I create all of the photochemistry where possible, recreating 19th and early twentieth century photographic techniques…not only to invoke the history and foundations of photography, but to also present a complex history of assimilation and change.

The work is mostly constructed in large series or projects, where small or individual photographic objects combine to make large installations, for example The One Thousand Other Things, which is an ongoing project utilising silver-salt processes on duck eggs; or The Unseen, a body of work that uses silver-plated spoons and concave mirrors through which the work is seen...