Sam Vale is a multimedia artist who uses photography and oral history to tell intimate narratives. Focused on the nuances that make people individuals, these artworks use histories gained in relation to objects, memory, experience and nostalgia to reveal insight into the individual circumstances and personal situations. Working in close collaboration with participants, Vale collects the personal accounts of each subject and re-presents them, producing artworks that aim to reveal their distinctive stories.
Vale is currently a doctorial candidate at the London College of Communication. His research project “Collecting Rooms: Objects, identities and domestic spaces,” is a practice-based enquiry into the private space collectors. Working with participants this enquiry reveals the motivations, frustrations and satisfactions manifested in the creation of a private space. Through the examination of theorists and commentators in the distinct but related fields of cultural theory, sociology and art, Vale’s research proposes that a collector’s past can be witnessed through memories generated by and within the space. Further to this, his research advances the idea that part of the experience of the space takes place in the present but simultaneously imagines the future. To present the research findings, Vale constructs spatial portraits using semi-structured interviews, photography and video, which explore the environment of each collector thus gaining insights into individual circumstances and personal situations.
The creative practice produced from this study intends to produce a metanarrative of each collecting room that further investigates the temporality of the space through the combined use of still photography, video and sound. Constructed from a symbiotic relationship between theory and practice, the research explores the idiosyncrasies of each collector, engendering an extensive investigation of the individual collecting spaces.
Currently a Senior Lecturer at Canterbury Christ Church University, Vale recently co-convened the “Nostalgias: Visualising Longing” Conference, which was a joint project between Canterbury Christ Church University and The University of the Arts London Photography and the Archive Research Centre (PARC) at the London College of Communication. This peer-reviewed conference explored the multiple concepts of nostalgia and how longing manifests itself within contemporary culture. Examining, analysing and interpreting the complexities of nostalgic sensibilities within art and media based practices. The conference featured a diverse selection of papers will question a wide range of topics including; the development for ‘retro’ aesthetics in vernacular digital photographic practice; the use of nostalgia as an integral part of a postmodern consumption; and nostalgia as a sensory experience of the past.