Projected Glass slide of GNM museum C. 1900
Projected Glass slide of GNM museum C. 1900

An Artistic Encounter

December, 2017 Projection/Installation

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle upon Tyne.

A one night screening event staged amongst the collections of the Great North Museum: Hancock, An Artistic Encounter presented contemporary artworks set in dialogue with the museums collections of natural history, archaeology, geology and world cultures.  The project builds on the collaborative research project between Newcastle university, Montpelier University, La Panacée: Centre d’art contemporain, Montpellier , and the École Supérieure des Beaux-arts de Montpellier Agglomération.

Visual artists: Aurelio Andrighetto, Enrique Azocar, Murray Ballard, Kathryn Brame, Daniel Brown, Irene brown, Keith Brown, Paul Bush, Roi Carmeli, Chris Cornish, Bettina Dittlmann, Juliet Flemming, Andrea Frank, Nils Guadagnin, Lois Hobby, Michael Jank, Ant Macari, Simon Martin, Jasmine Matthews, Michael Mulvihill, Colin Priest, Claudia Sacher, Sabina Salis, Wolfgang Weileder, Albert Weis, Louise Winter.

Origin by Irene Brown presents an early form of projection, using a late 19th century magic lantern projector long owned by Newcastle’s Literary & Philosophical Society. The ‘Lit & Phil’ gave rise to the city’s Natural History Society, whose collections founded this museum in 1884. The slide reveals a view of the Hancock from the early or mid 20th century, when it still looked like a dark, didactic Victorian institution. Brown is interested in what is gained and lost when we ‘modernise’ civic spaces of learning. She is fascinated by what can instil an appropriate a sense of wonder at the sheer strangeness of the other beings in the ‘natural world’. One of the greatest capacities museums possess is to illuminate the differences in how people have imagined the ‘natural world’ across time and space. Only museums can reveal the ways people ‘knew’ the wider world outside of their immediate experience before television or digital technologies. Even in the 21st century, estimates of the number of species on Earth range from 1.9m to 8.7m. Even in the museum, can anyone ‘know’ more than a miniscule amount about animate life?  

Alistair Robinson