Baken Museum ResidencyOctober, 2013 Research
The Bakken Museum, Minneapolis, USA
The Research fellowship was between 7th – 18th October 2013. It began with a tour of the extensive artifact collection in the volts in the basement of the museum and general reading on magnetism and mesmerism. This focused the research towards equipment designed to generate and use static electricity, in particular those used in early anatomical and medical experiments. The intention was to build a resource of information and images gleaned from the Bakken during the two weeks of the fellowship, that could be use later as the inspiration and source for the development of new artworks. Over 500 photographs were taken of artifacts and books, including over 50 separate items from the artifact collection and a range of books looking at the work of, for example, Volta, Galvani, Aldini and Mesmer. Stereo photographs were made of the objects, many of them equivalents for some of the artefacts that the Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, once possessed, but have long ago mislaid. The most exciting and influential aspects of this experience at the Bakken was learning how early natural philosophers generated electricity through electro static machines, voltaic piles and simple batteries. The relationship between these early experiments, medicine and the ‘cure all’ claims of electric therapy treatments became the focus of future research.