Dayanita Singh’s File Room is an elegy to paper in the age of the digitization of information and knowledge. The analogue photographer and bookmaker has a unique relationship with paper that is integral not only to the work of making of images, texts and memory, but also to a larger confrontation with chaos, mortality and disorder in the labyrinths of working bureaucratic archives in a country of more than a billion people. The endless rows of files in Indian courts, municipal offices, state archives and other such institutions for the conservation of human data create monuments to knowledge and to the arts of memory. They have their own atmosphere and architecture, rooted both in history and in the present. Archivists spend their lives organizing and conserving these forests of paper; historians and scholars forage in them for voices from the past; and the lives of ordinary men and women get entangled in the bureaucratic and litigious systems with their own copiousness of paperwork and files.
Including an interview with Hans Ulrich Obrist that relates this book with Singh’s other books and bodies of work, and texts by Aveek Sen that explore the different ways in which the mad world of files and paperwork continue to touch ordinary lives, File Rooms is itself an archive of archives. It documents, and reflects on, the nature of paper as material and symbol in the work of making photographs and books.
Hardback / Clothbound
ISBN 13: 9783869305424
Publication date: March 2013