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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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Louise Macul (University of Leicester, UK) Political by design: the sneaky work of a colonial curator in Borneo

 

Annebella Pollen
 Annebella Pollen
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 18
Topic starter  

Dear Louise, 

Thank you for a fascinating talk. Most of my knowledge of the extraordinary Harrisson is connected to his time in Mass Observation so I am always interested to hear about his other activities, not least when they are so intimately connected with seeing and the subversive political potential of the visual!

I have a question. You said Harrisson didn’t give instructions to the artists but the works were commissions so I wondered: how did they differ from the artists’ usual practice? Was it the norm for them to compose square works or to work in grids? This seemed, perhaps, inspired by the need to fit the courtroom architecture. Did their materials and methods differ for these works?

Thanks again. 


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Louise Macul
 Louise Macul
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 2
 

Dear Annabella,

Thank you for your question and I apologise for the late response. According to the artist I was able to interview (the only surviving artist), Harrisson did not tell them what images or motifs to paint. However, it is not common practice to paint on panels or in grids and this was specific for the architecture of the courtroom. Unfortunately, I am not able to get any further information on Harrisson's decision-making process on this. I do find it fascinating because there is no tradition of painting on ceilings here as basically there would be no ceilings in longhouses, only rafters for storage. Paintings are on walls on the verandah of longhouses or the walls of rice barns and the outside of coffins which were put on poles, these could be called 'burial huts'. 

I would say the only request he had was to put whatever images they wanted to paint within those 4 foot square panels. The method of painting is something I did not have time to describe and it is unique. They paint the images 'in relief' being that they draw the intended image and paint the background to it, not the image itself. This traditional technique is evident on each panel, they did not stray from it. The colours used in the paintings may have been new for them as they may not have had such colours deep in the interior. The paint was oil-based manufactured in England. At the longhouses I do not know, yet, when they shifted from natural pigments to commercial paint. They stuck with the same colour palette that they would have had with natural pigments with the only exception being the colour blue which was available to them in Kuching. 

I hope this answers your question. I can be contacted at lm429@leicester.ac.uk

 

Louise


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Annebella Pollen
 Annebella Pollen
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 18
Topic starter  

@lmacul Fascinating, thank you! 


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Chris White
 Chris White
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 2
 

@lmacul

Hi Louise,

Thanks you for your interesting presentation. Living just over the border in Kuala Belait made it particularly relevant. I also grew up just around the corner from the house where Harrison attended many gatherings with Charles Madge and the Blackheath Group of the Mass Observation movement – so some interesting connections. Would be good to meet for a coffee in Kuching when things are more back to normal in terms of cross border movement.

 

Kind regards

 

Chris


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Louise Macul
 Louise Macul
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 2
 

Hi Chris,

Yes indeed, let us meet up. As you know, Malaysia forbids entry from anyone from Indonesia and 22 other countries. Once things settle down we can meet somewhere. Please keep in touch:

lm429@leicester.ac.uk

or macullm@gmail.com

Mobile: +60128550588

 

Thank you so much for reaching out!

Louise


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