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Labelled faces in the wild [Worktown]



‘The continuous work of looking, if you’re really looking critically and with imagination, is to track that dynamic between submission to power and the unpredictable artistic understanding of it, the latter always beyond the artist’s conscious intentions’.[1]

Worktown is a suspended collaborative archival project between Michael McGinley, Martin Grimes and the curatorial staff at Bolton Museum. As part of our proposed investigation into this archive, we engaged with the outcomes of earlier research where possible. Anthropologists Moor and Uprichard identified that subjective encounters are prompted by the sensual and material characteristics of archival material.[2]Following their lead we began to RESCAN and OBSERVE both the archive itself and the apparatus that houses and enables it.

Building on the museums ‘Art of Noticing’ programme, ‘Evidence and Perception’ were the central motifs in our ambition of stirring the imagination of future viewers. Mandel and Sultan’s 1977 publication ‘Evidence’ and Claudio Hils 2004 publication ‘Archive - Belfast’ offer aesthetic and conceptual guides. Our aim was to produce a body of productive knowledge (exhibition of photographs, audio and film and publication) that would contribute positively to the ongoing dialogue with the Worktown archive.

[1] Matthew Collings, (As Antonio Gramsci), Art Review, Vol 65, No 5.
[2] Moor, L and Uprichard, E ( 2014 ) The Materiality of Method: The Case of the Mass Observation [Online].


Gallery︎