THE PRE-PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY OF THE UNITED STATES by Aleksandra Mir
210 x 270mm, 90 pages, Black and white printed, Perfect bound, Softcover, Ed. of 250, 2018
Aleksandra Mir presents 87 Donald Trump tabloid covers sourced from the microfiche archives of the New York Public Library in exploring the 15 year period 1986 - 2000. The headlines functioning as his proto-tweets are dominated by Trump’s business dealings, political aspirations or personal life, while world news, such as the possibility of nuclear war with the Soviet Union, occupies minor real estate on the same page. Also notable is a headline from 1999 reporting Trump’s intention to run as Presidential candidate for the Democratic Party. Significant in its absence from the covers is the AIDS crisis, which claimed the lives of over 75,000 New Yorkers during this period but made the headlines just 13 times.
Mir’s research enables a close examination of tabloid aesthetics and politics and lays bare the symbiotic relationship between the subject, the media and its audience. Via the secondary medium of microfiche, which was once the gold standard for archival storage of news, Mir has captured this most ephemeral form of printed matter to enable a closer look at collective memories that have already been largely superseded. Proposing the tabloid news covers as official documents and naming her collection the Pre-Presidential Library of the United States, the foundation of an open source project which anyone can host or contribute to, Mir raises important questions about history, narrative, truth and value in the circulation of facts and ideas.