At our first week at the gallery were given the task to create a half page performance text from stimuli given to us, of which there were two photos of exhibits in the Viewpoints exhibition. Also included were two questions, one was to find an object we no longer use in contemporary life (and make a new story for what its use could be) and the other was to find three different textures around the gallery. I settled upon Earth, Wood, and Glass, and from the tone set by George Shaw’s ‘Untitled’ (The Bed) and a piece of text I saw within the Collection that stood out to me, simply saying ‘Survive and decay’ the piece developed to become contemplative and morbid. For the performance text itself I also added the texture of metal, and I knew from exploring the spaces both within and outside the Usher and The Collection there was a space that had all of these I could perform the text in. The final idea that added structure to the performance was one that had occurred both in our introductory talk at The Collection and in ‘Ways of Seeing’ by John Berger, concerning how the connotations of a piece of artwork can be altered by their context, in terms of the sounds surrounding them, other artworks nearby, and the description that is given of them. To this end I decided on using the textures I had chosen, and giving them different context by my accompanying description, in order to show how something as simple as the feel of a texture can change with the context surrounding it. Below is the text that I ultimately came up with, and it was performed just beside the entrance to the Usher gallery (pictured).
The Collection (2015) The Collection Museum [Online] Lincoln: Available from http://www.thecollectionmuseum.com/ [Accessed 15th February 2015].
Outside, somewhere where all of the materials mentioned are present and easily accessible to touch, just outside The Collection there is a space where this is intended for.
Have the group of people gather round you, so that they can all hear and see you.
In very simple terms one can summarise human development as going from Earth, to wood, to stone to metal, to glass, where we are now. Just take a moment to find and touch those textures in order around the space, thinking about what I’ve suggested they stand for.
Then in reverse the transition from the society of glass and metal, into wood, into earth can be seen as the progress of an individual person’s life from birth to death. Now if you repeat finding and touching the textures in this order instead, thinking on what I’ve suggested they stand for again, yet also dwell on how the interpreted meaning has changed.
The space we are in is devoted to saving items from the past, and by doing so saving pieces of history itself. Having felt all of the textures in the space, think of one item you own that if left here and taken into the Museum and seen many years from now could summarise you as a pers on. Now if you feel the textures around you one more time in any order, and imagine the item being kept in this space Indicate Museum.
Now that you have thought about something as simple as three different textures by the museum in three different ways, I challenge you to go into either The Collection or The Usher and do the same. Seeing how perceived context can change the meaning of anything, but especially with art.