Thursday, 19 September 2013

Thirty Instruments Loaned by Ladies - Update

Performance, September 2013

This is a unique and playful disruption of museum practice, reflecting on the history of the Harris Museum & Art Gallery,  formally engaging with the grand steps of the Harris Flights to create a display of objects loaned by ladies.  And so, I present the performance: Announcing Thirty Instruments Loaned by Ladies


Normally, a new museum display appears almost silently, away from the public gaze, objects arrive through back doors, carried out of internal stores and down hidden corridors to be presented to us the viewer as we arrive in front of the display case; the presented objects quietly inside.

Here, we are turning this process on its head, announcing thirty loaned objects as if they were guests arriving at a formal dinner, publicly introduced as they are carried up these grand Harris Flights.

So, why thirty ‘instruments’ and why ‘ladies’?

When the Harris Museum & Art Gallery first opened it was reported that 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 gentleman.

We are now redressing the balance with this display of Thirty Instruments Loaned by Ladies.

The original objects were indeed instruments; microscopes and other related objects.

Here, we question and play with the word ‘instrument’, these are very much personal objects, which have stories to be told by their owners – why they keep them, who previously owned them and the inevitable memories that they bring back.

These objects become talking points; we want to share our stories with others and so these items, things, objects become social objects.

In this process, the object becomes a tool, or instrument with which we engage with others, sharing our stories along the way.

And so, we present Thirty Instruments Loaned by Ladies

Please, take a seat, stay a while and listen to these rich personal stories as the objects are presented to the Harris Museum for display.


Thank you to those ladies who have so kindly loaned their thirty objects.  They are now on display in the Harris Museum for you all to see, accompanied by a publication.

Please, come inside and take a look …

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