Friday, 30 October 2015

glass, ether and ethanol

I was one of 5 artists and photographers recently selected by the North East Photography Network, in conjunction with Great North Run Culture, to be taken on a tour behind the scenes of the Discovery Museum’s archive in Newcastle and then to follow up a couple of weeks later with a wet-plate collodian workshop in the wonderful great hall of the museum.  It’s a long time since I got involved with chemicals, having readily gone digital many years ago, so this was quite an experience.

I’m currently developing a piece which involves Newcastle and Malmö in Sweden and, being particularly interested in object research, I already had on my 'object radar' a calculating machine that's in the museum’s collection. It was made in Malmö and is one of a very few objects I could find in the archive to connect the two places.

What interests me is to examine how the nature of the medium so very profoundly colours the way the object is considered. We lit the calculator, I took my collodian exposure (based on advice!) and a few moments later had my head in a rather cramped dark room box (not ideal - but there were issues around using chemicals in a public space). After the mini dark room experience was complete, I set up the same calculating machine on a table nearby and took some digital frames. The resulting comparison suggests so many avenues of critique...not least how we consider ‘the past’ in relation to ‘the present’...which is a central theme in much of my work.

I will be taking part in a discussion around this experience, hosted by NEPN at Sunderland Uni 2nd Dec 6.00-8pm check it out here if you would like to come along >

the actual glass plate

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