FAMILY VALUES 2015
residency and installation at IMMEASURABLE, BLYTH GALLERY, IMPERIAL COLLEGE
discarded hosiery, scientific equipment, log book
Family Values sets out to scientifically interrogate the minutiae of mundane, personally worn and discarded clothing to establish evidence of embodiment and to compare differing levels of residing presence between the five members of one family. Utilising the premise of Husserl’s Wissenschaftand the scientific protocols and methodologies offered by various departments in the home of Blyth Gallery, Imperial College, from Nanomaterials to the Ultrasound Imaging Group, the ultimate result of experimentations classified the samples to currently be in line with the title of the show, IMMEASURABLE.
Family Values draws from the contagion theory behind Paul Rozin’s ‘Hitler’s Jumper experiment’ (1) and in analysis of discarded personal and embodied paraphernalia in conjunction with Mary Kelly’s Post Partum Document(1973-79), a pseudo-scientific catalogue of domestic, mundane and familial observations and preserved artefacts presented as on a par with traditionally sourced scientific research. Like Susan Hiller’s 10 Months (1977-79), the scientifically stylistic presentation suggests a detached rigour that is usually assumed to be absent from this type of subject matter. A scientific methodology of classification was put into place, with the artist sampling and collecting matter from a selection of auto-ethnographically sourced samples.
This work is an expanded continuation from ANATOMY OF SOCK, working upon the premise of dissection, processing, measuring and analysis of individually embodied, discarded personal artefacts I a scientific rather than artistic context. Following Walter Benjamin’s theories of mimesis ‘a form of representation based on a particular, material contact at a particular moment’(2) and aura (3) these objects preserve a haptic memory of long durational wear, which it may be possible to measure, if first to be officially identifiable.
In contrast to the work of Christian Boltanski, whose archival installations use clothing items to refer and take the place of those who have died, it is these items themselves have been biopsied and are under scrutiny in an attempt to classify the intangible element that they may hold. Family Values sets out to show these personal items as indexical signs and thereby, evoking presence. This is not like Boltanski’s Canada(1988), where the a lack of classification causes ‘the individuality and specificity of each owner is dissolved’ (4)
(1) Rozin, Paul; Haidt, J; Macauley, C R. 2008 in Disgust and it’s Disorders
(2) Marks, Laura U. 2000. P. 138 The Skin of the Film pub. Duke University Press.
(3) Benjamin, Walter 1936. The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction pub. Schocken/Random House
(4) Van Alphen, Ernst ( 2014). Staging the Archive. Pub. Reaktion Books Ltd . p. 77