|dc.description.abstract||The object of this research is to expand the practice of archiveology, a term coined by Joel Katz in 1991 and theorised more recently by Catherine Russell to describe the process of reusing found archival footage in expository documentary to “produce new modes of thinking about the past” (2018, 47). This research will experiment with poetry as a source of archive, adding to the more commonly deployed materials such as film, still photographs, or letters used in documentary production. The intention of the work is to illuminate the literary career of the Australian poet Ronald McCuaig (1908–1993), who was also my grandfather. Ronald McCuaig was described by Australian author Geoffrey Dutton as “Australia’s first modern poet” (1986, 49), and was widely respected for his literary contribution, which spanned from the 1930s to the 1990s. In recent years, however, his work and career had begun to fade from view. As an established documentary filmmaker, I have completed a significant practice-based study, experimenting with production methods for multiplatform outcomes. The rich archive collection that emerged throughout the study led me to question how it is possible to do justice to literature through my usual documentary practice. I have initiated a hermeneutical experiment, re-versioning McCuaig’s literary work—predominantly poetry—through the methodologies of archiveology and videopoetry.
Over the past ten years, audience screening options and spaces have changed dramatically, providing opportunities to develop work that provides for a multifaceted viewing experience, adding online spaces to traditional cinema or television viewing. These options provide an opportunity to experiment with archiveological practices for new viewing artefacts such as videopoems. I aim to demonstrate the impact of Ronald McCuaig’s original work and its potential to provide powerful social commentary, still of relevance in 2020, using Walter Benjamin’s ‘dialectical image’ as a conceptual framework. The outcome of poetry from the 1930s, reimagined into videopoetry with companion documentary sequences, results in a synthesis and an unusual and expanded outcome for a documentary filmmaker: a gallery exhibition. Rather than a single screening event, the exhibition includes multiple screening spaces, a material culture collection, furniture installations, an exhibition publication, digitised original anthologies, and an online space. The combination of these outputs and proposed future endeavours provides audiences with a more visceral connection to the poet, his life and work.||