Against the Best Possible Sources is part of an ongoing project that involves extensive research of the TIME, Inc. corporate archive and an investigation of the earliest history of the first professional journalistic fact-checkers, a role created by TIME in 1923 and held exclusively by women until 1971. Few first-person accounts of the women’s experiences remain. Instead, the majority of their stories are found only through internal correspondences with their male colleagues still preserved in the company’s archives: hand-drawn cartoons, scribbled notes, and reminiscences capture the prevailing sexism of the time—a sustained male gaze through which the women and their work was seen, recorded, and mythologized.
As a site-specific installation for Southern Methodist University, Moran considers this loss of primary sources and the untold stories and contributions of the early fact-checkers. Decommissioned library shelves found at SMU are presented as skeletal remains emptied of their contents. Scattered throughout the shelves are artist-made bookends rendered useless save for their surfaces, which display images of found artifacts and office materials entombed in TIME, Inc.’s archive.
5x4.75x5.25in or 8.875x6x8.125in each
Dye sublimation printed steel