The Night Diana Died/I Remember A Time (Princess)
A box set containing two hand-made A5 artist’s books each addressing an event connected to Princess Diana, published on 31 August 2022, the 25th anniversary of her death.
Beyond the negative articles and conspiracy theory television documentaries about Diana, Princess of Wales, I remember her as a positive role model, (gay) activist, humanitarian and subverter of the tabloid press.
With the book ‘The Night Diana Died’ I explore storytelling combining photography, writing and tactile form, looking back on the night of Princess Diana’s accident in 1997 when I made my DJ debut playing gay disco classics at a friend’s birthday party.
By referencing and listing song titles and artists from my 1997 playlist including ‘La Vie en Rose’ by Grace Jones and ‘Spacer’ by Sheila and B Devotion, I celebrate Diana’s spirit of kindness and her rarely acknowledged sense of fun and adventure. A Spotify playlist, Diana’s Disco, accompanies the book.
Portraits were made with discontinued Polaroid GridFilm, a format used at one point by emergency services to record accident or crime sites. With a macro camera I copied her image from a photograph printed on a china plate issued at the time of her wedding to Prince Charles. Other pages in the book show the outline of a GridFilm grid, a graphic structure consisting of one hundred and ninety five empty squares, symbols of absence but also of opportunity.
‘I Remember A Time (Princess)’ is an experiment in making a publication using one sentence and one reappropriated photograph. The book responds to the lie advocated by the 1980s tabloid newspapers that AIDS can be passed on by every day social contact. Diana crushed this lie by inviting the tabloids to photograph her holding hands with a man living with AIDS-related illness, the printed photograph a hugely significant moment in changing perceptions about the disease.
To emphasise the message of human touch as activism, the book uses four different paper stocks. Image and text are printed on tracing paper and appear on facing pages, which when pressed together create a single artwork. A sheet of gay pride rainbow paper emphasises the importance of her action, a key moment in LGBTQIA+ UK history.
‘I Remember A Time (Princess)’ follows on from the tabloid newspaper and exhibition ‘The Spots That Never Went’, employing the same one sentence writing style to explore personal memories from the 1980s/90s AIDS pandemic.
Edition of 5 available from https://negativepresslondon.bigcartel.com/product/the-night-diana-died-i-remember-a-time-princess
The Night Diana Died/I Remember A Time (Princess) published by Negative Press London. Black cardboard box with foil blocked text to exterior. Two A5 hand-bound books: The Night Diana Died, 24pp; I Remember A Time (Princess), 16pp. Tracing paper, parche marque, cupcycled paper, gay pride rainbow paper, linen thread. A5 insert, 1pp, tracing paper. Foil blocking by Fraser Carr Mills. Spotify playlist ‘Diana’s Disco’. Edition of 5, 2 artist‘s proofs
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