Friday, 30 August 2013

Thirty Instruments Loaned by Ladies - Introduction

This project is a performance as part of the Harris Flights programme taking place during the summer of 2013.  A grand temporary architectural intervention of stairs installed at the Harris Museum & Art Gallery, Preston, connecting the Market, or Flag Square directly with the first floor podium and museum entrance normally reserved for special guests.

Thirty Instruments Loaned by Ladies plays with the usual methods of loan and acquisition, making a grand gesture of the normally unseen arrival of most display objects as a journey through back doors, loading bays and basements.  The project engages the public in the process, but limits the receipt of items to only those from females, questioning the historical male domination of these environments, as well as rules of discrimination.  It uses old ways of documenting and recording the objects, reflecting back on how it would be been from when the museum first opened.

When the Harris Museum was officially opened in 1893 ... One of the most interesting and popular displays was in rooms set aside for a show of microscopic and other apparatus, of which thirty instruments were loaned by gentlemen.

To contrast with the original opening gesture of thirty gentleman from the town loaning instruments, I will seek out thirty ladies who have objects or instruments which can be loaned to the museum for temporary display.
The selection of the objects will be completed in public in the Market Square, at a table setup near the Harris Flights.

On a separate day a formal announcement process will begin.  Starting in the Market Square the objects will be carried individually on a red cushion, processing towards and up the Harris Flights.  At the top the object will be formally presented and received by a gloved museum attendant who will in turn place the object into a display case.  As each object is carried, it will be formally announced, in the style of receiving guests to a formal dinner, using a PA system to grandly describe the object and acknowledge its owner to the watching audience.

The objects will remain on display in the museum for a period of time.

A publication will be produced to accompany the display.

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