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Evoluon 2 (crop 1)

Evoluon, Eindhoven, 1968

Evoluon, Eindhoven, 1968

Science and technology exhibition, Evoluon, Eindhoven, 1968
UoB Design Archives

Evoluon 2 (crop 1)
Britain Can Make It 1 (crop 1)

Mural in the Furnished Room, Britain Can Make It, V&A, London, 1946
UoB Design Archives

Britain Can Make It 1 (crop 1)
Taiwan 1 (crop 1)

Sketch of exhibition layout,
National Museum of Natural Science, Taiwan, 1986-88
UoB Design Archives

Taiwan 1 (crop 1)
Britain Can Make It 2 (crop 1)

Tea Bar, Britain Can Make It, V&A, London, 1946
UoB Design Archives

Britain Can Make It 2 (crop 1)
Taiwan 2 (crop 1)

Interior view,
National Museum of Natural Science, Taiwan, 1986-88
UoB Design Archives

Taiwan 2 (crop 1)
Exhibition 1

Construction of exhibition space,
Britain Can Make It, V&A, London, 1946
UoB Design Archives

Exhibition 1
Taiwan 3 (crop 1)

Interior view,
National Museum of Natural Science, Taiwan, 1986-88
UoB Design Archives

Taiwan 3 (crop 1)
B&BwFord

President Ford, Robert Staples, and Barbara Fahs Charles
with model of the "Levitating White House," for the Ford Museum, 1980
Staples & Charles

B&BwFord
Francisco 2 059

Sketch of Australia section,
Commonwealth Institute, London, c. 1961
UoB Design Archives

Francisco 2 059
Festival of Britain 2 (crop 1)

Fashions Hall, Britain Can Make It, V&A, London, 1946
UoB Design Archives

Festival of Britain 2 (crop 1)
Evoluon 1 (crop 1)

Gallery view of The Senster,
Evoluon, Eindhoven, 1968
UoB Design Archives

Evoluon 1 (crop 1)
PhotographyandtheCityinstallSI19681

Installation view, Photography and the City,
Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, 1968
Staples & Charles

PhotographyandtheCityinstallSI19681
Evoluon 3 (crop 1)

General view
Evoluon, Eindhoven, 1968
UoB Design Archives

Evoluon 3 (crop 1)
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the crit as methodology…

 

Jona Piehl
 Jona Piehl
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 32
Topic starter  

Kelvin, thanks so much for this presentation -- I am really interested in this method of, if you will, re-spatialising an exhibition as it speaks to questions of the ephemerality of the exhibition as a text, especially temporary exhibitions, which, arguably, really only exist as retellings once they have been taken down…

Having been through the process of setting up and reviewing this crit, I wonder whether you might be able to say a bit more about the opportunities (and perhaps challenges) that you think this might hold as a method for analysing other exhibitions? J


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Kelvin Chuah
 Kelvin Chuah
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 10
 

Jona, thank you for your question. I started conceptualising the crit as a written text. To create a narrative from fragments of information that proves the existence of this exhibition. These different resources were woven together in the British Art Studies article I wrote, fashioning a walkthrough of the exhibition shaped like a memory theatre. You rightly highlighted that it became a retelling of sorts. Yet, my writing was only a mental imagining, which prompted the crit as a way to further the reading by fleshing concurrent events seen and unseen in the exhibition.

I think restaging the exhibition in the form of a crit allows for current mediations that locate the exhibition as an agency for more specific musings/interrogations. Creating new interpretations or in my case, an understanding of a politically motivated showcase through exhibition study.

Speaking of my research, which framed a Malaysian national exhibition, there are plans to restage the crit on a suitable platform - to historicise and commemorate a largely forgotten piece of national exhibition history. My investigation also satellites several Malaysian-London exhibitions I could explore in methods similar to the crit.

Also, I reckon there is no fixed approach for analysing exhibitions. Assuming the crit as a process, it can be 'configured' catering to the needs of the research.

Kelvin

 


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Jona Piehl
 Jona Piehl
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 32
Topic starter  

@kelvin thank you, yes, I think this re-staging is especially interesting as it, to an extent, avoids the construction of a linear narrative, maintaining an openness in the relationships between different (archival) fragments, and perhaps even to recreate a sense of scale and immersion of the original exhibit -- I like the idea that the reader/the audience of the crit can experience the research as a spatial text…


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Kate Bowell
 Kate Bowell
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 6
 

@kelvin thank you for that description. In my work with labels, I also struggle to find ways to recreate past exhibitions using the clues I have. Understandably, mine are mostly textual, although there are some images and descriptions. I hadn't thought of this crit/memory theater approach before; in your expertise, how well do you think that might work and/or how would you imagine going about beginning?


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Kelvin Chuah
 Kelvin Chuah
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 10
 

@Kate Your focus on labels is exciting. I always perceive them textually, and now I am reconsidering images as labels thanks to you.

I think the crit as a process would work fine with your research.

If I were to apply the crit onto (museum) labels, here is how I would begin.

Based on Clair Le Couteur's research (and my interest), I would trace the history of Gill Sans as a museum typeface(?) to the designer Eric Gill and his teacher, Edward Johnston, designer of London Underground Railway's signage. The intention is to make connections between the 'humble' museum label to the broader Gill Sans applications on corporate branding for some UK companies. Some people argue that the typeface is also culturally significant, which folds back to its usage in art spaces - drawing on issues of readability, the familiarity of font type, current developments in digital typeface, etc. Using this as a port of call, I would be keen to develop a metanarrative with Le Couteur's research at the RCA; where he also spotlighted artistic interventions with labels.

Perhaps, a deliberation on the ownership of the label?

Kelvin

This post was modified 1 year ago by Kelvin Chuah

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Kate Guy
 Kate Guy
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 16
 

Kelvin, you have answered the question I had, responding to Jona's question. So I just wanted to thank you for sharing your brilliant approach. As scholars of the ephemeral exhibition, you offer an incredibly useful approach.  


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Kelvin Chuah
 Kelvin Chuah
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 10
 

@kguy Hi Kate, thank you for your kind words. I am happy to continue with this conversation after the conference if you are keen - using metanarrative constructions to interpret exhibitions. Good wishes, Kelvin.


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Hajra Williams
 Hajra Williams
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 12
 

@kelvin thank you for your presentation - as a process and it was great see how you followed it through. What stage is your project at now? You mentioned a book for example.

In my own research and particularly having an art/design background, I have been visualising the exhibitions in similar ways- however one of the exhibitions I am researching does not seem to have as much archival material as the other more recent one (I am not certain what material there is due to a lack of access to the archive- my hunch is that there is very little). This is leading me to consider what possibilities there are when faced with a lack of research material and how one may fill in gaps. Your material was of course very rich and really lent itself to this way of imagining the exhibition.

I also noticed that you have incorporate interviews from visitors who were there at the time- can I ask how you found these people- were you familiar with them already?

Best wishes

Hajra


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Enya Moore
 Enya Moore
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 3
 

Hello Kelvin,

Thank you for your incredibly generous presentation and bringing us into the heart of your ongoing research practice. I found your process fascinating and an incredibly valuable approach for critical analysis of a past exhibition. Your presentation was such a great approach for this conference format - well done to you and your colleagues who worked on producing it in this way! Your critical consideration of the temporal aspects of the research connected really well to the presentation of Jona Piehl in the first panel on Decolonizing Exhibitions ( I see you have already been chatting above!). Her approach to exhibition graphics might be helpful for you (I noted in your excellent article on the British Art Studies website that you thought you were not doing justice to the design properties of the posters). Great work - looking forward to seeing more in the future!

Enya Moore, PhD candidate, UTS Sydney

 


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Kelvin Chuah
 Kelvin Chuah
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 10
 

@jona Hi Jona, thank you for your interest in re-staging. It does open windows to how we can develop new narratives and interpretations of the original exhibition - entirely or in smaller sections. 

Can I move on to your presentation? I was enjoying your excellent presentation again, and you have pointed to some strategies I could incorporate into my research. It feels like a deja vu moment when Enya @enyamoore wrote to me this morning about your work, noting how your approaches would forward my research. Would it be possible for me to email you privately? I am afraid this forum would close tomorrow. 

Good wishes, kelvin.

My email, chuah.kelvin@gmail.com

 

 


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Kelvin Chuah
 Kelvin Chuah
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 10
 

@enyamoore Hello Enya, thank you for your kind words. Hope you are doing well in Sydney. I spent some time researching at the University of Sydney back in 2013, and I really enjoyed the city.

Coming back to the conference, I am glad you enjoyed the presentation and also the article from British Art Studies (BAS). Essentially, I planned to interrogate the original exhibition in three parts: with the BAS article (where I was meandering in the memory theatre) as the first part; the crit (in this conference) as the second; and the book and re-staging of the exhibition/post-crit at a gallery space as the third. I had this intention to formulate the reading/narrative of 'Instant Malaysia' with a drawn-out process, which would allow for multiple inoculations and more detailed analysis. 

Thank you for suggesting Jona's research, which addresses the graphic elements of my endeavour.

Good wishes, Kelvin 

My email, chuah.kelvin@gmail.com


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Kelvin Chuah
 Kelvin Chuah
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 10
 

@h_will2 Hello Hajra, thank you for an excellent conference. It's great. 

I was working with some technicians to produce the book when lockdown started in London. Unfortunately, I still can't access UCL facilities at this moment, so the book project is facing some delays. Where the research is concerned, I am currently working with an informant who is an architect and architectural historian. She is musing over the visuals as part of our extended dialogue.

I quote from your text, "In my own research and particularly having an art/design background, I have been visualising the exhibitions in similar ways". I understand your position, as I started in fine art as a painter. The shortage of resources does complicate matters. It is also due to such roadblocks that I conceived the crit, presented here. I used the crit as a tool to generate new resources for the research. Primarily, using a contemporary lens to invoke new ideations by looking at the original exhibition retrospectively. I also looked at similar events happening laterally. To develop a different reading for Instant Malaysia, I compared it with another exhibition, 'How to play the environment game', which took place in the same year. Both were architect-led exhibitions; they were peers and London-based shows. I hope this helps.

I knew some of these visitors for some years. However, I wasn't aware they visited the original exhibition back in 1973. When I made an open call to interview people, a friend stepped forward, and she introduced others who saw the showcase. It snowballed from there. Due to the exhibition taking place a long time ago, some visitors can't remember their experience apart from more generic details. I had to probe with the right questions. The photographs of the exhibition also helped in the 'recalling' process.

Best wishes,

Kelvin

 


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Hajra Williams
 Hajra Williams
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 12
 

@kelvin Hi Kelvin -Thank you so much for your reply- re conference, we are really thankful for the generosity of the panellists for their time, knowledge and input into making such a wonderful event.

I did design at undergraduate and fine art at MA level and would love to bring that to my research. I hope that the final output can incorporate that in some way. I think that's why I was drawn to your methodology. Thanks for the answer re visitor input- I have been grappling with an idea of doing a call out for an exhibition that took place in 1971 and am wondering how feasible that would be so it's good to know of your experience. 

Best of luck with the book - I look forward to it being published.

Hajra


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Kelvin Chuah
 Kelvin Chuah
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 10
 

@h_will2 Hi Hajra, you are welcome and all the best for your research.

K

 

 


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Jona Piehl
 Jona Piehl
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 32
Topic starter  

@kelvin yes!! I will send you an email! 


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