An exhibition that looks to the future of archaeology. A re-imagining of the museum environment and how it could archive future work or look to the past to re-envision it in a completely different way. This is how the artists in ‘How to Dust the Surface’ have responded to the theme ‘The History of the Future’. Juan Covelli and Neale Willis collaborate to create a site-specific installation related to Warrington: the town, museum, it’s collections and the building itself.
Exploiting modern advancements in technology and the digital tools available, Covelli has re-created the town’s Oliver Cromwell statue to form some kind of insidious beast from a Tomb Raider film. Torn-apart from the middle, it is in actual fact a 3D rendition of Cromwell. Re-configured and re-shaped to release it from its historical baggage and place of origin.
Neale Willis’ inspiration has taken the form of the “unknown” within one of the Museum’s donor books. Taking aspects of the classification system and Index Key, Willis has built a bespoke piece of software to generate phonemic text – distinct units of sound in a specified language that distinguish one word from another. So that when read by the robotic synthesiser through a humungous plastic-taped speaker, depicting the storage of old artefacts, a strange ‘almost-language’ emerges from its form.
The prevalent AI theme running through the entire exhibition demonstrates the many applications of technology. As these examples are based near or in the museum environment it makes you wonder as to what is possible outside of these boundaries.
Trying to understand these newly re-imagined objects is not necessarily the end-result. It’s the processes and new materials being used by the two artists. It’s in our understanding of the implications of the technology they’re using and how our definitions of the objects change depending on their format that’s important to note.
As we move forward it’s clear that the physical nature of things will change and adapt as the proliferation of mass images and worldwide circulation provides a never-ending impetus of renewal and diversity. What is real and what is illusion becomes blurred. So this snapshot of future archaeology gives us an insight into these strange and new possibilities.
On until 15th September
Warrington Museum & Art Gallery
Warrington, WA1 1JB