Navigation

Play It Again Use It Together

15 - 24 November 2018

On 14th September I went to see my friends and artists that I've frequenty collaborated with Eileen Simpson and Ben White’s latest Open Music Archive project. Play It Again Use It Together takes as its starting point the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Popular Music (IPM) archive of over 80,000 records, and typical of public resources, much of the material has been gifted over a number of years by collectors and enthusiasts.

I'm one of three artists commissioned to make a new artwork to coincide with the launch of The Box.

The Box in Plymouth is an art institution for the 21st century. It will host  extraordinary gallery displays, work with high profile artists and produce memorable exhibitions, as well as exciting events and performances that take visitors on a journey from pre-history to the present and beyond.  The Box is intended to be a symbol for the city's current regeneration, and a springboard for its future. 

The Box brings onto one new site five previously dispersed archives and collections, and will include: an archive for Plymouth and the southwest to preserve the heritage of the city and region for future generations; a museum with stories of Plymouth and how it reached out to the world and invited the world back into Britain; a location for contemporary art exhibitions, artist commissions and major touring shows; a new study centre for the Cottonian Collection and a purpose built location for the South West Film and Television Archive (SWFTA).

7th June 2018

I visited Bank Job Pictures in a former Co-Op Bank in Walthamstow, and bought some DIY currency to animate community initiatives and cancel one million pounds of local debt.

9th June 2018

I participated in the launch of the Centre for Plausible Economies, which included a day-long programme of workshops, talks and refreshments.

Centre For Plausible EconomiesThe day began with our hosts  Kathrin Böhm and Kuba Szreder introducing diverse economic models for the interaction of art and values not valued by competitive markets. Everybody is exposed to economic forces, but nobody seems to have sufficient agency.

The Enthusiasts Archive was the result of extensive research amongst the remnants of amateur film clubs in Poland under socialism. It was a critical archive of beautiful amateur films found, restored and made available. It was online from 2006 - 2013 hosted by Arteleku in San Sebastian, unfortunately due to Spanish 'austerity' funding cuts Arteleku was disaggregated, and in the process many films, the archives structure and meta-data were lost. A tragedy.

The good news is, the emerging Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw has aquired the archive as part of its permanent collection, we are in the process of rethinking and remaking the Enthusiasts Archive.

Here I'm beginning to reimagine the archives architecture....

Enthusiasts Archive design

Every Friday, more or less, for the past year I 've been posting an image of an object  #ObjectOfTheWeek on twitter. Each object is photographed agains a white or black infinity ground, a classic 'objectifying' format beloved of museums and archives. I like twitter as an exhibitionary stream, and I also like the way that, through tagging, my collection meshes with others: a museum without walls.

I wrote a short text for Distributed, about the possibility of re-imagining the world in common. Distributed is edited by David Blamey and Brad Haylock for OPENeditions and was launched with a symposium at the Royal College of Art

table

 

 

FREE TRADE
Manchester Art Gallery
May 2002 - February 2003

Commissioned by Catherine Dickinson

I collaborated with Marysia Lewandowska, on a long term research project that was to coincide with the re-opening of the Manchester Art Gallery (MAG). The research culminated with a project entitled Free Trade, the following text is edited from the final proposal.

Free Trade Our starting point was the simple observation that as objects enter public museum and gallery collections they are inevitably removed from the wider world of exchange. Our project was to  imaginatively reconnect a major collection from the MAG - the Beatson Blair Bequest - to the circuits of trade and exchange from which it originated.

We identified in the Beatson Blair Bequest a beautiful example of Manchester’s particular social, economic and art collecting history, as well as a device with which to explore the history and conventions of the MAG itself.

First prototype of a possible chair. It's inspired by Enzo Mari's ideas of being able to make domestic necessities, using stock timber, simple hand tools and everyday skills. There's an echo of Utility furniture from the 1940s and a hint of Gerrit Rietveld's prototype Red and Blue chair from 1917 too.

During the 1990's I was very interested in the idea of collection for making sense of the world. And to be honest I'm still interested, take a look at #ObjectOfTheWeek on twitter.

Display Cases

 

Two images of two Details From the Collection  are reproduced in the catalogue for Pictura Britannica: Art from Britain Sydney, Australia 1997.

Left: African Artifacts, from the collection of Mr & Mrs Winter Salzberg (1995)
Right: Detail from the Collection: Blue private collection, London (1996)

I started washing all the plastic bottles that passed through our home, and putting them on a shelf. They started to become a collection. Grouping through colour became a way of organising them, of classifying. And then I began to make museum-display cases from recycled cardboard I found on the street to exhibit the different parts of the collection. The architecture of the display cases, especially with internal lighting, leant authority.

When asked to participate in an exhibition in Salzberg, with the help of the curator I found a family that had a collection of souvenirs from visits to local museum gift shops. I constructed a recycled cardboard display case for the 'African artifacts', and installed it in their home.

There are already enough 'things' in the world without the need to add any more

Cummings continues to investigate the way we construct value – social, cultural and cultural – through material things. This would include thinking about the 'institutions of display', galleries, museums and shops for instance, as well as the artefacts they contain. Imagine a museum vitrine, with interior lighting in which plinths present vessels of immediate and luminescent elegance; works of art of obvious value and importance displayed in classic museological convention. Approaching the seductive display across the gallery floor, the visitor discovers that not only does the vitrine lack the heavy plate glass to protect the contents, but that the mahogany was actually of a less solid order; merely found cardboard glued together to approximate the authority of museum display. Just as surprisingly, on closer inspection, the contents of the case turn out not to be important example of Roman glass, but domestic plastic bottles, deprived of their labels and revealing beautiful shades of the palest to the deepest blue. By a process of close attention to the conventions of display, Cummings has conjured from the discarded, a work of effortless glamour and sharp critique.

From the catalogue Pictura Britannica: Art from Britain Sydney, Australia 1997

images

Surrealist flip-flopsGive GiftsNottingham ContemporaryVirginYour Rainbow PanoramaLittle Green Street