Tunbridge Wells Museum & Gallery sits at the heart of the cultural landscape of the High Weald area in rural Kent. The museum is currently being refurbished, and I have been commissioned to create an artwork to welcome visitors to the newly refurbished building. The brief is to make a work which will be displayed inside two glass cabinets which responds to the Magic Lantern Slide collection.
The Magic Lantern Slide Collection
The magic lantern slides in the collection date from 1880 to 1950. Some slides accompanied public lectures and others were used domestically for private screenings. The slides depict local and foreign scenes, the sciences and social sciences, British history and children’s stories. The collection also includes magic lantern projectors and ephemera related to public lectures.
What I Plan to Make
The work will be a part of a larger inquiry within my artistic practice into unusual architecture, and using architecture as a metaphor for the body and/or the mind. I have regularly made sculptural houses from organic or edible matter, and have made several drawings of follies and grottoes both real and imagined. I am interested in how people often dream of architecture as a physical representation of their emotional state. I also believe architecture strongly affects human behavior. The spaces we live in directly shape our lives.
The magic lantern slide collection is rich and eclectic. There is a vast variety in content and subject matter. The strange mixture of images is similar to the memory of many places someone goes to in their lifetime. I like the idea of retaining the diversity, rather than trying to edit or control it. Reflecting how often real experiences are equally bonkers and incomprehensible as this wonderfully curious collection.
The Show will be opening in October. More details will be posted soon.
(All images are copyright of Tunbridge Wells Museum & Art Gallery)