None of Your Funeral is a ten-month residency exploring the intersection between archives and gallery spaces, and how private snap shots, illustrations, slide shows, home movies and personal obsessions become fodder for contemporary consumption.

On November 25th, 1854 in the Oregon Weekly, the phrase “none of your funeral” was used for the first known time in print; remarking on the effusive wailing of a stranger, a young boy found it hard to fathom the level of interest shown by a stranger.

Over the course of Cowan’s 2014 PICA Resource Room Residency, None of Your Funeral will explore how personal histories are re-imagined for public consumption and, in the end, how the desire for content will often reconfigure the original. But this relationship with the past, this scouring for content, does not necessarily displace the original, nor does it lessen its importance. Instead it can provide a framework by which contemporary audiences can engage with personal histories and personal narratives.

Drawing from the PICA archives as well as the collections of the Oregon Historical Society, this residency will explore these issues through film programs, slide shows, gallery talks, and more.

The public is encouraged to engage with this project: Do you have home movies in your basement? Did your parents make a 35mm slide show? Looking for a projector? Are you curious about best practices for archival storage? Preservation? Interested in making 16mm film loopers? Want to stop by PICA and look at art books and talk about NW video art in the 1970s? Please email.

Matthew Cowan is the Archivist for Moving Images and Photography at the Oregon Historical Society in Portland. He worked previously at Anthology Film Archives in New York. You can reach him at [email protected]


About Resource Room Residencies
PICA’s Resource Room Residency  (RRR) program was initiated in 2012 to provide time, space, and resources for artists whose practices live at the intersection of art and research. The program encourages a consideration of libraries, archives, collections, and collecting, but can find outlets in many forms and disciplines. The RRRs are provided with a modest stipend and unlimited access to our archive of books, media, and ephemera for prolonged engagements. They intersect with PICA’s members and the broader community through salon discussions, screenings, public performances, and printed materials. The 2014 RRRs are Matthew Cowan and Mars Dietz.

All images courtesy of the Oregon Historical Society – Research Library.