Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Working with objects

It's been a really busy few weeks, so I'm sorry I haven't found time to blog for a while.

My last few weeks have been about working with objects.  At Nottingham Contemporary I am working with the new exhibition which includes two rooms filled with 200 objects that have been brought together by artist Klaus Weber.  Also, I started working with a fantastic group of young people at New Walk Museum in Leicester, looking at curating and interpreting objects there.

Over the half term break 7 young women met with me and my co-worker for this project, Davey, at New Walk Museum and worked with us for two intensive days.  We did all sorts of activities, exploring the exhibitions that they have and the varied ways in which they have been curated, coming up with our own ideas.  We then went on to work with objects that I had borrowed from Leicestershire's Open Museum Resource Box collection to create mini exhibitions and interpretation for the objects.

Objects for A Journey Through Sound

The group were really creative and inspirational, coming up with brilliant ideas for bringing the objects alive.

The exhibitions they created included: a Journey Through Sound, looking at the history of music, sound and communication, from cavemen to the present and into the future; the Global Footsteps exhibition, discovering people's lives and stories from around the globe by looking at their shoes;  and an exhibition of mystery objects called Kitchen Culture which worked as a quiz to guess what curious domestic items might have been used for.
Global Footsteps

A selection of mystery objects

The group thought about ways to move around an exhibition, how visitors might move from one space to another, the Global Footsteps exhibition even had an island that you had to tiptoe around to cross the space without getting your feet wet in the sea!

They thought about ways to make people look closely at the objects, such as in Kitchen Culture they took very close-up photographs of the objects which were displayed on an iPad screen and you had to find the object that corresponded to the image.  

Close up photos for Kitchen Culture
They thought about interactivity.  The Sound exhibition was very interactive with opportunities for visitors to play sounds, listen through headphones as well as surround sound, and create and record their own sounds.
Invented stories inspired by objects

For me it was really interesting to work through the process with the group, seeing how they related to objects and thought creatively to make those objects interesting.  Seemingly mundane items such as shoes and saucepans became curious and fascinating through their interpretation.

The work has influenced my work at Nottingham Contemporary where I have just started working with a group of adults from Bilborough.  Inspired by the objects in the Klaus Weber exhibition, I'm working with the group to make personal connections with objects and to think about collections of objects, how text changes our perception of objects and how objects put together can become something new.

It's been a great experience and I aim to work with the young people's group again at New Walk Museum to create some interpretive resources for visitors to use at the museum in the future.  More fun to come!

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