The ‘Georgian Enamels: Piecing together a new narrative’ project is now well under way and the second of the ‘Enamels on Tour’ consultation events took place this week.
During the session participants handled, discussed, deliberated and imagined what the objects were, who owned them, and the back-story that had resulted in the objects becoming damaged or incomplete, and then documented their imaginative thoughts on paper.
The events are designed to generate, through a combination of handling of the enamel fragments and discussion, a series of narrative departure points for the museum curator and myself to subsequently develop. The participants reinterpret the objects through their own knowledge and perspective, some come to the events highly informed about history, culture etc., others do not, however all have one valuable skill, the ability to be able to interpret the objects through their own experiences and therefore generate personally relevant starting point.
After each session the Museum Curator and myself embroider the initial ideas with further imagined visions, developed through historical research, dialogue and reflection on contemporary narratives. Tales of Mercantilism, political ineptitude, banking crashes, political skulduggery, a King and Queen devoted to each other and elicit relationships have all been discussed.
As a result of the two sessions, twenty ‘ideas’ sheets containing participants thoughts have been created, some incorporating factually accurate historic references and others completely imagined narratives. These have become quite a document in themselves and may form part of the exhibition.
The current focus of my creative attention is ‘#Chaterama’, an automata piece that will incorporate the two damaged, but yet wonderful Finches held within the stores at the museum.
The work recasts the origins of social media back to the 18th Century, and imagines a world where ‘Social Discussion Machines’ were often used ‘after dinner’ as a means to amuse, interact, chat and flirt. Combining references to the 18th Century use of patches as a means to ‘communicate’ with the current vogue for ‘text speak’ and the use of ‘relaxed’ language, even at No.10! For the piece, I have been busy making ten facsimiles of the finches, using a blue colour pallet, hopefully for obvious reasons! These will then be incorporated into the Georgian Social Discussion machine!
Once a project commences I like to respond to ever changing news stories, scanning for narratives that may fit in with or have resonance with the work I am making at the time. Because of this, work can be in a constant state of flux for a number of months, this helps to cement the work in the multiple time frames of the present and the past, but makes it a challenge to know when to bring a piece to conclusion, I suspect that will be May!
More to follow!