Digital Photograph 2015
Fossils give us a very immediate connection with a distant past and a deeper understanding of the land. This Ichthyosaur is just one of many wonderful specimens in the Etches Collection (Kimmeridge, Dorset). Framed by ribs, the skeletal traces of its last meal can still be seen. A tiny snapshot in time, captured forever.
Specific imagery had to be incorporated to build a framework of visual encoding within the textiles to test at different sites. This involved considering the communicative function of individual signifiers (images, textures and colours), the readings generated when several signifiers were brought together, and the overall meaning created when groups of signifiers were combined within a composition. The lock was incorporated to connote imprisonment and a key added in later visual experiments to reinforce this reading but also suggest potential for release.
M. Lannois, “Dermographisme chez des épileptiques atteints d’helminthiase intestinale”, 1901. Look carefully: the woman pictured has her name scratched into her chest and back. The writing was probably done by her physician. Angeline Donadieu was an epileptic patient at the turn of the twentieth century. She is exemplifying a particular condition known as dermographism – skin that retains the imprint of marks traced onto it. Yet the image speaks most powerfully of the relation between medical and personal identity. © Wellcome Library, London. Creative Commons CC-BY.
These postcards were produced in October 1903 by The Strand Magazine as part of the release of The Return of Sherlock Holmes. They feature Sidney Paget illustrations for the Sherlock Holmes stories ‘The Final Problem’, The Hound of the Baskervilles, ‘The Adventure of the Empty House’ and ‘The Adventure of the Norwood Builder’.
Digital Photograph 2015
Collections of archaeological and geological material in museums offer us different ways of engaging with the elements of the land. Over the course of my research on the Jurassic Coast, I was struck by the number of small, personal museums. The artefacts were woven with stories and memories, reflected in their imaginative and aesthetic curation. This is one of the cabinets in Charlie Newman’s museum at the Square and Compass in Worth Matravers, Purbeck.
The panel backgrounds were formed from the detritus of past collecting; stained lining paper edges from old picture frames, sections of discarded fabrics, and torn fragments of aged house paint and wallpapers. The collage process enabled ‘hands on’ working with these materials, exploring spatial relationships and defining the panel dimensions. The compositions were photographed and disassembled, with individual components scanned and the backgrounds reconstructed digitally. This process echoed the early stages of the practice, where hand-generated experiments created components for later digital development.
D. Younger, The Magnetic and Botanic Family Physician, 1887. Employing cataleptics or epileptics to perform particular medical roles shaded into wider performance in the later nineteenth century. Although this image shows a purportedly “scientific” experiment using mesmerism on a cataleptic subject it appears far more like the stage show of a magician. Regarding seizures as material for popular performance shifted them from the realm of medicine into the public sphere and made them subject to industries of entertainment. © Wellcome Library, London. Creative Commons CC-BY.
This insert from Baker Street's postbox gives the time of the postal collections. Souvenirs like this one are popular amongst fans and collectors for their link to Baker Street, where Sherlock Holmes lived.
London: Spillers Flour Limited, c.1950. Kerry Group, plc.
Possessing no other qualification than celebrity, popular British film actress Anna Neagle (1904-1986) helped to glamorise the act of baking on behalf of the Spiller’s flour brand. This foreword engages charismatic legitimation, being powerfully personalised in the form of a letter, beginning ‘How lovely to see you’ and ending with an autograph ‘Yours sincerely, Anna Neagle’. It bears comparison, therefore, with the graphic and textual techniques of the numerous film magazines of the era.
After several stages working digitally and on paper, the work progressed to textile experiments incorporating digital printing, stitch, heat transfer printing, screen printing and hand painting with reactive dyes. Specific images were incorporated alongside portrait photographs to communicate the objector’s story. The first triptych particularly featured crossed out medals to connote lack of bravery, stamps to denote the period (and suggest ‘for king and country’) and white feathers as symbols of cowardice.