The last of the three education projects that we ran as part of the residency was with pupils from Evelyn Lowe School. Pupils came to visit the Tower of London where they were shown around by one of the Towers excellent costumed interpreters who told them various stories of some of the characters from the Towers long history. After a morning of exploring the Tower through some of its incredible stories the pupils gathered together and we discussed some of the things they had learnt.
With all these great stories fresh in their minds we explained what we planned to do. The idea was to get the children to help us design some bright images that would be turned into stained-glass style pictures to be displayed on light boxes in the Tower of London’s education department.
We looked at examples of stained glass windows and talked about how they told stories. We then discussed what key moments and objects stood out in each story and how these could be used in a stained glass window to represent each historic tale.
The children then planned and acted out scenes that could be used in a window for each story.
All this information was collected together and used by Zinta Jaunitis and myself to design 6 colourful stained glass window style images (4 of which are posted here. See if you recognize any of the stories and characters).
Objects photographed are given a sculptural quality by the camera and the removal of the objects necessity of purpose. The photograph creates an importance for this object outside and beyond that for which it was created, turning it into a kind of non-monument, created without the inferred historic importance of a traditional, historical monument. Objects, framed alone, become through their ambiguity, open to interpretation.
I find it difficult to look at a chair within the walls of the Tower of London and not be reminded of the story of Josef Jakobs, a German spy and the last person to be executed at the Tower in 1941, such is the weight of historical anecdote and the burden of interpretation.
A still from McQueen's film, Giardini
I was interested to read about the work that artist Steve McQueen has created for the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. He has chosen to make a 40 minute film of Venice called, Giardini that has been described as a ‘romantic, lyrical, melancholic film that shows Venice hazed through mists and sunsets, dripped in wintry rain’.
I enjoyed reading about this because I can understand how difficult it must be to approach a place that is so heavily recorded by the camera. Apparently the film is made of minute moments, fragments of the overlooked rather than the cliche scenes of canals and St.Marks Square. As McQueen rather succinctly puts it:
“It is about looking,” he said. “What it does is encourages you to look again.”
Im looking forward to the chance of seeing it some time on the future