Last Argosy

Edward C. Rigg. Physical archive

Main arch

The Physical archive is the largest of the archives of Edward C. Rigg consisting of 24 A4 ring bind folders arranged in chronological order. The archive covers Edward leaving school in 1944 and joining the RAF documenting his time as fighter, test and military transport pilot over four decades before leaving the RAF to become a financial advisor in the 1970’s. The physical archive can be seen as the embodiment of Edward and the narrative of self, documenting his ordinary yet extraordinary life. The archive is a rich comprehensive tapestry of both personal and professional material including, RAF photography, maps and correspondence marked secret as well as general RAF and personal correspondence with his Father and girlfriend Anne. When I first viewed the archive, it reminded me of how the artist Joseph Cornell would archive his collections of items and artefacts before making one of his box compositions. The folders are logically designed and ordered yet have a scrapbook look and feel, holding the thread of narrative, hidden in and around the archive content.  After several months of semi structured conversations with Edward and his files, it became apparent they were an important not only to his past but also a major concern to the present and future. These interviews manifested the micro and metanarratives contained within the archive which led to the development of an interactive timeline which would explore Edwards own guided autobiography and memory whilst also encouraging external contributions to the timeline from individuals who may have memories and experiences of the time period to run in parallel with Edward’s narratives. 

Central gunnery school

Tropical trials in Khartoum 1954, from the Archives of Edward C. Rigg, granted with permission