Einen Augenblick (A Moment) by Patricia Walsh was presented as part of the Harris Flights project. The audio piece is a combination of original music along with found and/or manipulated sounds all of which form, in various ways, a link or connection with the term ‘flight’. The resulting aural interactions relate to aspects of rising up or uprisings, challenges and encounters, and incorporated the physical disturbing of the atmosphere and the displacing of space itself. The inherent resonances of flight, in any permutation, induce a sense of hovering or drifting between the opposing states of safety and danger.
When the Harris Museum & Art Gallery first opened in 1893 it was reported that one of the most interesting and popular displays was in rooms set aside for a show of microscopic and other apparatus, of which, thirty instruments were loaned by gentleman. As part of the Harris Flights project, McConnell redressed the balance by presenting to the public, through performance and display, thirty personal objects loaned by ladies.
Normally, a new museum display appears almost silently, away from the public gaze, objects arrive through back doors, carried out of internal stores and down hidden corridors to be presented to us the viewer as we arrive in front of the display case; the presented objects quietly inside.
The grand staircase of the Harris Flights called for an equally grand gesture, a public performance to announce each object individually as if a guest at a formal dinner, carried slowly upwards on a red cushion as their personal stories are told. Each object is passed at the top of the stairs to a gloved museum attendant, who, in turn places the object into a display case.
The publication which accompanied the performance was also featured in the Royal Photographic Society Summer 2014 issue.
As part of the Harris Flights programme, Martin Hamblen spent four weeks performing his piece 29,028. This durational performance of the phrase ‘Two steps forward, one step back’ saw the artist walking up and down the Harris Flights. Hamblen likens the performance to climbing a metaphorical mountain. Walking two steps forward and one step back is a positive message. Regardless of life’s struggles, people carry on with their everyday endeavours.
Unpickling Aspic was an unspoken performance piece; duration thirty minutes,which took place as part of the Harris Flights programme. It developed from a jelly project with residents at the local Sue Ryder Care Home during which tools were adapted and a repertoire of gestures and actions uncovered. It was to resonate with elements of ‘Literature, Arts and Science’ and specifically referenced Mrs French’s huge collection of scent bottles at the Harris Museum.
Polished metal tableware, concealing colourful jellies, were formally brought out from the museum building by one of the staff and delivered to a dinner table. The steampunk staging had three animateurs systematically dismantling the jellies with the aid of corers, corkscrews, cheese wires, slicers, a samovar and a spirit burner. Each jelly encapsulated an historical perfume, releasing odours and revealing their natural ingredients. By the end of the piece sections of dismembered jelly had been reassembled to resemble the cut glass vessels of the collection.
In Certain Places
VB005A, Victoria Building
University of Central Lancashire
Preston, PR1 2HE