Shane Dedman

Works in Progress


a love letter to an evolving self

This triptych of experimental short films by Shane Dedman was envisioned within a therapeutic artist residency with TAR Project from 2019-2020. Dedman harbors anxiety about the future, and so they are persistent in transforming the tragic into forces of curiosity. 

The videos are composed of spoken word voice-overs, modulated field recordings, and moving image recorded using mini-DV and DSLR.

PHYSICAL BODY lies between concepts of whether the loss of an archive is a rite of passage or a tragedy. Documenting and analyzing the ruin of the artist’s archive from 2004-2018 (including poetry, journals, watercolors, and drawings) due to a flood, Dedman works to investigate traces of bereavement left behind.

The artist uses alchemy to create and maintain new selves, new archives by virtue of iterations of degraded information through media.

Still from "Part III: Folly", 2020

As a non-binary, queer, millennial filmmaker, Dedman advocates for the agency to maintain one’s archive and urges for the planning of post-humous archive maintenance in anticipation of inevitable mortality. They’re obsessed with the concept of the archive as a distorted mirror of life and as a decaying monument. 

They have learned through first-hand research and experience how inaccessible art, video art, and rare films are within academic & institutional settings. They strive to re-contextualize the spaces and presentation in which their video work is viewed. With this curiosity comes the observation and analysis of the gaps within the archive; the class division of the privileges of storage space, maintenance of staff and machinery, and thereafter, the protection of these afforded resources... 

We must all have the agency to harbor our own histories. 

“Part I: Amnesia” digs into the effects of the flood on Dedman’s writing archive.

“Part II: Aporia” shows the burning of the moldy, ruined notebooks in ritual. 

“Part III: Folly” is a scripted short that contemplates the internal narrative work that arose when the impression of memory became the only remnant of the archive.

The Archive is not Truth;
the Archive is Power over History,
the Archive is Memory and
the Knowledge one must access,
to activate it, to bring it to Light.

What remains valuable within the sepulcher?
How must we digitally/physically curate our realms 
to leave the essence of our “truest” self?

There is no one true Self,
just as there is no
one true History.

“That-has-been” will forever be incomplete
and will forever react as an evolving body
to its shifting environments,
just as our psyches adapt
to time and the unknown... 

*“Part I: Amnesia” was screened at the 2020 NOFLASH Video Show and was published in Analog Cookbook Vol. 2, a zine about analog film processes. 

This work was inspired by the following writings:

“A Museum for James Baldwin” by Fritz J. Raddatz, James A. Baldwin, Magdalena J. Zaborowska, and Theaster Gates from 032c Magazine

“Delete Yr Account: Speculations on Trans Digital Lives and the Anti-Archival Part I & II” by Cassius Adair from the DIGITAL RESEARCH ETHICS COLLABORATORY

Archive Fever by Jacques Derrida

Using Format