In 2014, Hurth encountered four boxes of cyanotype prints by Thomas W. Smillie, the first custodian and curator of the Smithsonian Institution’s collection of photography (active 1868 to 1917). In her new work Stutters, Hurth builds on several years’ research to rework the original cyanotypes into visual montage, sequencing images that provide a record of Museum life as it documents a "national" collection in the making. The work presents photographs of empty display cabinets and staged objects within the Smithsonian’s holdings, following divergent threads of photographic history, exhibitionship and collection-making, as well as developments in various technological apparatuses across the late 19th and early 20th century.

Through a meticulous process of xerox and printing reproduction, Hurth enlarges the world of each image and traces a photographic lineage, a process itself indebted to the cyanotype. Two overlapping sets of captions from the artist offer a subjective and scientific view of the photographs, inviting a cross-referencing of the “official,” if incomplete, bibliographic record with one that moves more freely across a historical timeline as a way to reflect on gaps in the archive.

Stutters includes three new texts, with Hurth considering the book’s entwined interests, as well as her personal history with the Smithsonian collection and the work of Smillie. Additional contributions by authors and curators Ruth Noack and Kari Conte consider the ways in which artists’ projects like Stutters can quietly break apart the violent taxonomy of an archive, and instead use this shifting fragmentation to envision new meaning and bring into focus voices that have been excluded from history.
Edition of 1,200 copies

Sewn-bound paperback with foldout dust jacket (A2) and postcard insert (A5)
Offset printed on Munken Lynx Rough 100g and Salzer EOS 1.3 70g and Cromolux cover
2 Pantones color and black

368 pages
16 cm x 24 cm

Published by Printed Matter, Inc.
Design (dustjacket, cover, appendix) by Indrė Klimaitė (KlimaiteKlimaite, Berlin)
Printed and bound by Spree Druck, Berlin

Stutters is made possible with the support of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, as well as the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Credits Photos of the Book:
Dante Busquets and Dominique Hurth