My research follows a multidisciplinary path to address the critical potential of the photographic documentation of work-related accidents as found in the (post)industrial archive. It focuses on the particular archive of the Centre des Archives Industrielles et Techniques de Moselle, France (CAITM). I am the first artist to gain unrestricted access to its architectural site and holdings to develop practice-based research. CAITM holds in excess of 20 000 photographs and the administrative records of a regional section of Charbonnage de France, a national coal mining conglomerate operative from 1946 to 2008. My research will develop artistic methodologies tackling the photograph’s critical potential in the industrial-optical complex at the convergence of documentation, cognition, and affect. When encountering the photograph of an accident’s aftermath, one’s ability to make sense of such image intellectually faces a limit while the photograph continues to affect. I propose to engage with the non-cognitive and affective domain opened up by the photographic record of the accident while asking how such mediated affective experience can constitute a unique basis for historical analysis and consciousness. The accident’s image is disseminated in a multiplicity of forms throughout the archive from the accident report photograph, to the diagram, and simulation technologies. How can lens-based art perform what I call an accidentology of the archive of industrial production that proposes alternative forms or sub-versions of the latter? The research will draw on a bio-political interpretation of economics, as the accident interrupts the workings of a form of power that aims to regularize life and its processes. How can art practice use the accident as a trope to shape an analysis of an economic power that normalized risk while considering affective and ethical dimensions? My research will contribute new ways of transmitting archival knowledge by developing imaginary procedures engaging with photography’s affective capacity.