2017-18: our year in events

This week we closed our 2017—18 events programme rounding off the rich programme of events curated by Assistant Director Tom True that we have proudly hosted here at the BSR over this academic year.  In this blog we look back over what has been a fantastic year, illustrated by snapshots that give just a taster of the varied, multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary programme we have presented over the past year.

We began the first term with the workshop Digital Humanities and the Roman Campagna, a study day uniting scholars working on the landscape of Rome, focusing on the use of new digital technologies for research and publication. With presentations by BSR staff (former Director Christoper Smith, Assistant Director Tom True, Librarian Valerie Scott and Archivist Alesandra Giovenco), this lively workshop set the year’s focus on the importance of Digital Humanities and the challenges of transforming our unique resources into digital assets.

Friday 27 October 2017 saw us host Lost and Found: Places, Objects and People, a workshop that formed part of the international Being Human Festival. The workshop brought together experts from various backgrounds to discuss the importance of cultural preservation. Below are links to the video recordings of the workshop, a collaboration between the British Council, the British Embassy in Rome and the BSR.

In November BSR Research Fellow Emily Michelson (St Andrews) presented the paper ‘Walking Conversionary Rome’, which was all the encouragement needed for award-holders and BSR staff to hit the streets of Rome on foot, in the company of Emily herself and expert alumnus Piers Baker-Bates (Rome Scholar 2002-3). Together we traversed the most celebrated pilgrimage route, the Giro delle Sette Chiese (link to blog written by Assistant Director Tom True), the route connecting the Seven Pilgrim Churches of Rome.

'The pilgrims'

As usual the term culminated with the December Mostra, the first exhibition showcasing the work of our resident artists and architect. This term we were even treated to a live re-enactment of the ancient festival of the Lupercalia on the steps of the BSR! The first mostra was a grand success and set the bar high for the forthcoming mostre.

The second term began with an inaugural lecture given by Director Stephen Milner, who became the BSR’s sixteenth Director in October. Stephen presented a paper entitled  ‘And did those feet in ancient time.’ Meditations on movement.’

The lecture perpetuated the themes of walking and movement in the forms of both literal and figurative feet, along with the associated practices of walking and narration, as a starting point for examining the generative power of movement in the production of culture. You can listen to Stephen’s lecture here. To listen to Stephen’s lecture click here.

It was with great excitement that at the beginning of February we welcomed Deborah Howard, Mary Laven and Abigail Brundin (Cambridge) to present their findings on on Domestic Devotions. The Place of Piety in the Italian Renaissance Home, 1400-1600, a special event to concluding their five-year European Research Council project. In the way of a three-part presentation comprising research from the Faculties of History, Architecture and History of Art at the University of Cambridge, this multidisciplinary presentation gave us a glimpse through the key-hole into the spiritual lives of Renaissance Italians.

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The term continued with a fantastic line up of a huge variety of events including Richard Wistreich from the Royal College of Music on fighting and singing in the Renaissance, the 2018 Felicity Powell lecture by BSR alumnus and artist Nicholas Hatfull, and conferences by John Harrison (Open) and Krešimir Vuković (BSR; Oxford), concluding with the March Mostra, a brilliant showcase of the second terms artists in residence.

As usual, Cary Fellow and director of the City of Rome Postgraduate Course, Robert Coates-Stephens curated a fantastic City of Rome lecture series. Over the duration of the programme, which saw eleven postgraduate students traverse and penetrate the topography of Rome, we were treated to six fantastic lectures on the ancient city.

 

Kicking off the City of Rome Lecture Series, was our very own Rome Fellow 2017–18 Fellow Krešimir Vuković (Oxford), a graduate of the City of Rome course himself! Kresho introduced us to ‘Early Rome: myth, history and the environment’,  providing the the ideal introduction to the early beginnings of the city.

The third term also saw the launch of our 2018–19 Architecture programme, entitled Brave New World: New Visions in Architecture. 

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This new programme, curated by Marina Engel (Architecture Programme Curator), will investigate the nature of some of the changes that are being brought about by the younger generation of architects and designers. The programme was launched in May by Reinier de Graaf who presented a paper entitled ‘The century that never happened’ . See below for Marina’s introduction to the programme.

June saw us host no less than four conferences and the end of fellowship presentations by our long term humanities fellows. Lavinia Maddaluno (‘Materialising political economy: olive oil, patronage and science in eighteenth-century Rome’), Niccolò Mugnai (‘Bridging the Greco-Roman Mediterranean: architectural, artistic, and cultural interconnections’) and Helena Phillips-Robins (‘Dante and medieval weeping: literary text and historical religious practice’).

 

On 15 June the last mostra of the academic year opened. The June Mostra as usual was a great success, a showcase of collaboration between our artists and the conversations between their works.

 

It is not possible to mention everybody in such a short space but thank you to every participant or visitor to each one of our events. More specifically thanks must to go Assistant Director Tom True for curating such a diverse and lively programme, and to all who helped with organisation of every event. We are already looking forward to a fresh set of events beginning in September! New programme coming soon…

Alice Marsh (Communications and Events).  Photos by Antonio Palmieri, Chris Warde-Jones and Roberto Apa.

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A look back at the June Mostra…

In June we saw the final Mostra of our 2017–18 programme, in which our seven Fine Arts award-holders put together an exhibition of works produced during the course of their residencies. Here we bring you a selection of photographs of works from the exhibition. You can read more about the practice of each artist by clicking on their name.

Josephine Baker (Sainsbury Scholar in Painting & Sculpture)

 

Oona Grimes (The Bridget Riley Fellow)

 

Yusuf Ali Hayat (Helpmann Academy Resident)

 

Damien Meade (Abbey Fellow in Painting)

 

John Rainey (Arts Council of Northern Ireland Fellow)

 

John Robertson (Abbey Scholar in Painting)

 

Murat Urlali (National Art School, Sydney, Resident)

 

Photos by Roberto Apa

 

Stanzas of recollection

This blog comes from Pele Cox the inaugural John Murray / Keats-Shelley Memorial Association Creative Writing Resident (October-November 2017; April-May 2018). In this post Pele shares with us the poem that she wrote and performed at the June Mostra.

I was asked to write this poem by Marta, Visual Art Residency and Programme Curator, as a homage to the artists for the recent Mostra. I decided to write a collage, using snatches from the favourite poems that some of the artists sent me. These are interwoven with my feelings of loss and gain at my own departure from the British School at Rome, which is communicated as a series of rooms (stanze).

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Stanzas

I

Leave the door ajar.

Cicero says if you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.

But give me a studio and a courtyard.

Leave the door ajar and let me enter in

 

where

words can bloom

mid stripped walls, the blue guitar,

where the mosaic hours

burn

the music of gravel and of rain.

 

My love is of a birth as rare 

As is for object strange and high

it was begotten by despair

Upon impossibility.

 

Leave the door ajar

let me look inside

a sight within

where

words can bloom

mid thorns and scattered chair

 

 

II

I have a room of my own,

With twin steel nests, a desk, the curved chair with wings.

My knees to the books and back again,

the trees beyond and studios beneath,

and artist strange and rare.

 

You walk in. “This room is not going to last.”

We are caretakers of its ending: a shutter,

a camera, exposed.

I reach for the chair again

where I sat for Pushkin, for Sholokov,

where I sat for the things I knew would pass

on.

 

Lady disturbed in her bed-

your thoughts of it?

Light is it a body

 

Leave the door ajar

and let me enter in.

 

In the smoke after twilight

on a milk white steed

Michelangelo indeed

could have carved out 

your features.

 

where the mosaic hours

burn

the music of gravel and of rain.

 

 

III

When I put my hands on your body

on your flesh I see the history 

of that body.

 

Leave the door ajar

and let me enter in.

 

Not just the beginning of its forming 

in that distant lake

but all the way beyond its ending.

 

This room is not going to last

we are the inmates at

its ending.

 

And yet I quickly might arrive

where my extended soul is fixed.

 

It is finished now

this room,

a stanza of recollection.

 

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Text by Pele Cox, photo by Antonio Palmieri.

What do we really know about African art in European museums?

31462683605_ebc546dc0e_b (1)As part of the British Academy Summer Showcase 2018 former award-holder Zoe Cormack (Rome Fellow 2016-17), presents the exhibit ‘What do we really know about African art in European museums?’ An exploration of the arts and heritage of South Sudan. In this blog, in advance of the exhibition, Zoe shares some of the developments to her project since she left Rome a year ago.

(Photo: Antonio Palmieri)

I came to the BSR for a Rome Fellowship in 2016-17. My project was to study four nineteenth century ethnographic collections, assembled by Italians and now stored in museums across Italy, from the territory that is today South Sudan. Rome was new ground, as my previous research trips had been to remote parts of South Sudan. The time at the BSR gave me the opportunity to begin concentrated study of South Sudanese arts and material culture stored in European museums. This week, my research will feature in the British Academy Summer Showcase, an exciting opportunity to share my findings with a wider audience in the UK.

In Rome, the question I was most often asked was, how did these objects end up in Italy? There are many historical connections between Italy and South Sudan. When Sudan was incorporated into Ottoman Egypt in 1821, Italians were among the first Europeans to visit. Some came as traders, some worked in the Egyptian government, others undertook scientific journey of exploration. In 1864, Daniel Comboni (a priest, now a saint) from Brescia established a missionary order in Sudan, the Comboni Fathers, who still have a major presence in Sudan and South Sudan. The Sudanese saint, Josephine Bakhita, lived in Italy from 1885.

Of the collections I studied, one was made by Romolo Gessi an Italian soldier who was appointed Ottoman-Egyptian Governor of Bahr-el-Ghazal (a province in Southern Sudan). He is known in Sudanese history for recapturing part of the province from slave traders on behalf on the Egyptian government (the collection in now in the Museo delle Civilità in Rome).  The others were made by; Giovanni Miani, a trained opera singer from Venice who to Sudan to discover the source of the Nile (the collection is in the Natural History Museum in Venice); Carlo Piaggia, an explorer who lived at a Zande court in the 1860s (the collections are in the Florence Ethnographic Museum and the Archaeological museum in Perugia); and Orazio Antinori (of Antinori wines) who founded the Italian Geographical Society (whose collection is in the Archaeological museum in Perugia).

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A case of objects from South Sudan in Giovanni Miani’s collection, Museum of Natural history, Venice. (image courtesy of the Museum of Natural History)

My research has addressed both how these collections were formed, but also how we might understand and work with them today. These are complicated objects to study. Formed at the outset of European and Italian colonial projects, ethnographic collections were integral to the process of creating difference, of categorising people and their material culture into discrete ‘tribes’ and generating the racial hierarchies that made the ideology of colonialism possible. In Sudan, this process viciously intersected with the growth of a long-distance slave trade in the Nile valley, which remains a painful rupture in South Sudan’s historical memory.

I wanted to understand more about how collecting had interacted with this violent history, but I also wanted to investigate how these objects might speak to current concerns about heritage, memory and community relationships in South Sudan. I have always been struck by how – despite the violent circumstances surrounding their incorporation into museums – these collections are a remarkable and unique record of historic arts and material cultures from South Sudan.

Juba from the air in May 2018 (photo by Zoe Cormack)

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Juba from the air in May 2018 (photo by Zoe Cormack)

Since I finished my Rome Fellowship I have had several opportunities to address this question in more depth. On my return from Rome, I began work on an AHRC Research Network about South Sudanese arts and heritage in Europe. I have also spent about four months in Juba (the capital city of South Sudan), where with a Juba based organised called The Likikiri Collective – are doing amazing work using theatre and oral history to explore memory, ideas of community and the nation. More recently, I met Deng Nhial Chioh, who runs ‘Maale Heritage and Development Foundation’ in a displaced persons camp in Juba. For several years, Deng has been using images from online museum databases to build a curriculum about South Sudanese cultural heritage for displaced students.

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Presenting my research (with Prof John Mairi Blackings, University of Juba) at the Catholic University of South Sudan, Juba. (photograph courtesy of the Institute of Justice and Peace Studies)

Through the AHRC network we have also brought some of the South Sudanese diaspora in the UK into the research conversation. One comment about the museum collections, from a member of the South Sudanese diaspora in London, has stuck with me. He said “these things are important because they are about us. They are about people and a future that can be better than the past.”  As South Sudan grapples with a new civil war, which shows no signs of ending, these objects seem to offer constructive ways of thinking about South Sudanese identity.

Another development, which underlines the importance of the Italians collections, has been the decision in 2017 by the Government of South Sudan to put the former slave-station of Deim Zubeir on the tentative list of World Heritage Sites. Deim Zubeir is where Romolo Gessi fought with and defeated the merchant Suleiman Idris. Gessi subsequently took a ‘trophy’ from Suleiman (including his sword) and obtained other objects at Deim Zubeir. These are now stored in the Museo delle Civilità in Rome and the Musei Civici of Reggio Emelia. These museum collections could be used to build a better picture of the site in the nineteenth century and be put into a productive dialogue with heritage initiatives in South Sudan.

Zoe Cormack is now Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in the African Studies Centre at the University of Oxford. She has held postdoctoral research awards at The British Institute in Eastern Africa and the British School at Rome.

For an opportunity to see Zoe’s Summer Showcase exhibit, visit the British Academy Summer Showcase 2018, at 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AH. Open: Friday 22-Saturday 23 June,11 a.m.-5 p.m. and open for a late-night view: Friday 22 June, 6.30-9pm. 

For more information on the British Academy Summer Showcase 2018 click here.

 

Postcards & Photographs #2

I arrived at the BSR to study vedute, (highly detailed cityscapes), maps and postcards of the monuments of Rome, using Peter Greenaway’s film Belly of an Architect (1986) as a vehicle for investigation. Weaving a narrative of power and politics, Belly of an Architect is presented as a sequence of postcard images of Rome, that alternate with actual shots in the style of the postcards. Greenaway originally intended to trace a route through the city, structured almost like a Situationist dérive, by using postcards chosen for their perspective, each of which connected a monument in the foreground with another in the distance. For example, by using a postcard of the twin churches in Piazza del Popolo, in which one could find in the background a small image of a part of the Vittoriano, the next scene would be set in Piazza Venezia, and if in that postcard one could glimpse the Colosseum in the background, then the next scene would take place there, and so on. When films use postcards and texts these things are always mediated by the filmmaker’s intentions. It’s like the actors. They are both themselves acting and the part they play. Showing postcards in the film is like characters talking directly to camera or when actors play themselves on film.

How excited I was after I introduced my research at the BSR and the director told us about Eugénie Strong’s postcard collection in the BSR archives. When I originally planned this research, I intended to collect my own tourist postcards of the monuments of Rome, but I found Strong’s far more seductive and conducive to the kind of ‘postcard’ tour I was looking for, one that is entirely subjective, blurs place and personal history and, speaks to each of us in a different way, as if whispering in our ears about forgotten experiences, adventures, romances, individuals.

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 Anfiteatro Flavio, postcard (BSR Photographic Archive, Eugénie Strong Postcard Collection)

Like a postcard itself, that arrives with no return address, and only a cryptic comment, postmark and stamp to claim its origins, is the postcard collection from the 1910s and 1920s of Eugénie Strong, the first assistant director of the BSR. The postcards are filed in albums and boxes according to place, like a map that is not yet made. The Rome album begins with Giovanni Battista Piranesi’s (1720-1778) depictions of the monuments of Rome, and ends with the 1911 Ethnographic Exhibition to celebrate 50 years of Italy’s unification, that shows different pavilions from different regions of Italy for the World’s Fair that took place in the Valle Giulia. In fact the BSR building was designed by Edwin Lutyens and constructed as the British pavilion for that grand exhibition which is why it is in the English baroque style, double columns as pilasters on the walls and a neoclassical portico at the front.

Piranesi’s most famous built project is the piazza and church for the Cavalieri di Malta on the Aventine Hill. This is the famous portal with a keyhole that sights the dome of St Peter’s. Strong’s collection includes a postcard of the garden, as if we, like Alice, have entered through the keyhole.

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Cavalieri di Malta, postcard (BSR Photographic Archive, Eugénie Strong Postcard Collection) 

The album continues with a collection entitled Rome Disappeared.

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Roma Sparita, postcard album (BSR Photographic Archive, Eugénie Strong Postcard Collection)

One of my favourites is this one that shows La corsa dei Barberi, a horserace along the Corso, that took place at the time of the Carnival. It shows the Piazzo del Popolo and either very small horses, or else artistic licence in widening the street, and, since it depicts a time prior to its construction, no Vittoriano monument at the other end of the axis.

 

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Corso dei Barberi, postcard (BSR Photographic Archive, Eugénie Strong Postcard Collection)

Most of the postcards are from collections that were never sent, but collected as sets, interspersed with a very few that were sent to her by friends, colleagues or scholars with requests. For example, each year her counterpart at the American Academy would send her a Christmas postcard, in exchange for one she had sent. Another favourite (not shown here) was of a stone frieze, of a pig, a horse and a cow with the note on the back: nice to see our old friends. What was the narrative behind this? Was this a favourite place to visit? And where was it? In the Forum? Elsewhere?

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Eugénie Strong’s address, prior to assuming the Assistant Director post at the BSR (BSR Photographic Archive, Eugénie Strong Postcard Collection)

 

Renée Tobe (Paul Mellon Centre Rome Fellow 2017-18)

Postcards & Photographs #1

The early years of the BSR were dominated by two great figures. The contribution of Thomas Ashby, the BSR’s third Director, to the study of photography and topography has been well documented – see Macquarie Gale Rome Scholar Janet Wade’s post about her research following in the footsteps of Thomas Ashby on the via Flaminia, and my own recent blog on the many faces of Ashby.

However, the collections built up by his contemporaneous Assistant Director, Eugénie Strong, remain largely unexplored.

Three cupboards in the Photographic Archive hold the Eugénie Strong Collection. When you turn the key to open these cupboards you are suddenly grabbed by her personality which is reflected by the kind of material – photographs and postcards – she was to collect and assemble throughout her life.

Most of the photographs are testimony to her interest in Art History, ranging from Roman and Greek sculpture to medieval, Renaissance and Baroque painting. The photographic collection, bequeathed to the BSR after her death, includes many examples of nineteenth and early twentieth century photographs (all in perfect condition) taken by notable European photographers and needs careful examination before being re-arranged and made available for consultation and research.

The same applies to her impressive collection of European postcards, mainly relating to Italy and many with written comments on the back. Some of these are loose and arranged by country or continents (Africa, Asia), while the rest is neatly organised into nineteen albums.

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Eugénie Strong in her role as BSR Librarian in the Main Reading Room

Eugénie Strong (1860-1943, née Sellers) had long been regarded as one of the most brilliant academics in the field of Roman sculpture, even before taking on the post of BSR Assistant Director and Librarian in 1909. Former Librarian at Chatsworth and Fellow of Girton College, Cambridge, she worked closely with Thomas Ashby when he was BSR Director from 1906 to 1925.

The astonishing number of images they gathered – Ashby taking photographs himself, with Strong collecting them from various sources – shows a keen interest in the value of visual culture at the beginning of the twentieth century. Their intention was not limited to pursuing their own research, but was concerned with developing a reference collection for the benefit of current and future BSR award-holders.

In addition to her image collection, there is also correspondence with Evelyn Shaw, BSR Honorary General Secretary, and various members of the Faculty of Archaeology, History and Letters (FAHL) in the course of her administration of the institution alongside Ashby. Remarkable was her role in coordinating the move of the BSR from Palazzo Odescalchi to the new building in Valle Giulia in 1916, while Ashby was engaged on the Italian front driving the British Red Cross ambulance. Not to mention all the responsibilities involved in the running of a Library!

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The BSR façade during the building works (started in 1912 and completed in 1916)

It is no surprise therefore that she played an important role in supporting and encouraging all BSR award-holders, both in the Humanities and in the Fine Arts. The more we read about her through our past records, the more intelligible the picture of a resilient personality that made the pair with Ashby and contributed so much to raising and consolidating the BSR’s profile, until they both left in 1925.

 

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Eugénie Strong in the centre of the picture surrounded by BSR scholars
Back row: Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Eugénie Strong, Colin Gill (Rome Scholar in Painting), Mrs Hardiman, Alfred Hardiman (Rome Scholar in Sculpture), Unknown
Middle row: Miss Jamison, Miss Makin, Winifred Knights (Rome Scholar in Painting)
Front row: F.O. Lawrence (Rome Scholar in Architecture), Job Nixon (Rome Scholar in Engraving), Unknown

 

This year’s Paul Mellon Centre Rome Fellow Renée Tobe has been delving into some of these Archive collections from the BSR’s early years, and in the next blog post she will reveal some of the treasures she has found in our collections.

 

Alessandra Giovenco (BSR Archivist)

Images courtesy of the BSR Photographic Archives

June Mostra 2018 / Meet the artists… Josephine Baker

As we approach the June Mostra, our second exhibition of this academic year, we will be publishing a series of blogs taking a closer look at the individual practices of our seven resident artists. Our penultimate interview is with Josephine Baker, our Sainsbury Scholar. 

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You often address political currents or notions of ethical value in your work, in particular the symbols surrounding them. What ideas have you been exploring in this installation?

Last month I was working in the gallery downstairs on an installation called Night Music, elements of which I am showing in the June Mostra. The first central image you encounter – or rather can’t avoid – on the back wall, almost looming over the landscape of the installation, is a work made from chalk on bricks: a circle of stars, replicating those of the EU flag.

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This work, and how it is placed amongst the other works in the gallery, is for me about contextualizing a universally-recognised symbol; forcing it out of its abstract value, into being in some way more dynamic, fluid, physical. By altering its form, colour, materiality and scale, I hope to put into question not just the associations attached to the flag, but also to question the structure of the image itself. For example, by rendering this symbol in black and white, the stars are in some way reintroduced to the naturalism that they represent, as an image of a constellation in the night sky. Its symmetry and ‘perfection’ then becomes – in this particular context as well as the context of my work more generally – about addressing an idealization and politicization of nature, or natural form. I ask myself: To what extent is that tendency a far cry from the symbolism surrounding the political idea of the unity of peoples? The symbol strikes up a bodily sensation in the room; the physicality of the image for me is in some way connected to the physicality of nation states and the geopolitics of Europe.

I think there are so many ways to interpret this work, but when as an artist you use an image this laden with identification, you inevitably come up against many concerns: perhaps the worry that others will assume that you are attempting an acute political commentary, or expressing your own personal political views, about Brexit for example. You ask yourself whether it will be read as propaganda, or how easy it really is to manipulate these images free from any political agenda. I guess this work will inevitably pose these questions to a viewer too, which could potentially be a really positive thing.

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How does this work relate to or affect the other parts of the installation?

I want this work to be a focal point for the installation – to see to what extent we can confront symbolic language, to understand how much of a stake it has in its environment, how persuasive, how overbearing. Essentially, to ask to what extent it irreconcilably changes the way that you view everything else inside the space. How does this particular work give agency to or withhold power from the much quieter pieces? In this sense to me it is an obvious metaphor for the politics of power, and the unequal and haphazard relations between the different objects and images in the space. Yet the circle of stars of the EU flag stands as a symbol of unity, a perfect constellation of elements brought together. So perhaps the question also is: How do the works in this room create a similar constellation, addressing in themselves and their relations both the political idea and the emotional experience of unity?

The potential affective quality of installation for me is to place or position the viewer where space is not a fact, or an answer, but always a kind of question: Where am I? Where you find yourself is inextricably linked to notions of identity. The question ‘Who am I?’ would not exist without the place. I attempt to create environments that challenge the ‘where’ and therefore the ‘I’.

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Your sculptures are literally silent, yet the things you represent – from pipe organs to natural disasters, or debates about the EU… – are inherently loud, both physically and metaphorically. How does the work address this seeming contradiction?

This is why the installation is called Night Music, to play with this contradiction through an ambiguity: Is ‘night music’ a nocturne, the sound of the night, an impression of it, or simply the idea of quietness, even silence? You can consider the night to be the exact opposite of the cacophony of day – the night when, as a human being, nearly everything is sleeping. I am interested in sounds being interruptions in the silence of nighttime, like perhaps how the sculptures intervene or punctuate the low-lit gallery space.

This body of work started as the idea of making an installation that plays with the same forms, tempos and relationships as make up a musical composition. Every instrument is a sculpture – they all do different things. There are some constants, refrains, some pick out and build the melody. Every piece has a part to play. Together they work to create a unified sound – be it harmonious or disjointed, eliciting calm or disquiet, but somehow unified. I’m interested in how the space or landscape of an installation can repeat, ripple, swell, in a similar way.

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In the work there is also a nod to the distribution of sound in, say, the space of a baroque church. Upon entering a church in Rome you almost immediately encounter the edifice of the pipe organ, but you rarely hear it being played. Often the loudest thing inside the church is ironically the voice telling you to keep quiet. But considering the pipe organ, there is this contradiction between its grandeur, its presence in the space (you only see the front pipes – there are often hundreds if not thousands of pipes hidden from view, in different corners and crannies) and its latent chaos or harmony, the sound it can produce.

I want the environments I make to propel the viewer into a sensual experience of the things that exist within it. A musical instrument is such an example of a sensual combination of the spiritual and the utilitarian, which is often the tension I want to explore in the sculptures. They are tactile, they reference function and are made of utilitarian and standardised materials. The pipe organ is made out of plumbing piping. Most have handles that suggest the objects’ use in some kind of ceremonial practice that is never enacted. It’s about the attempt to understand the noise of the work’s political currents through this metaphor, where what is seemingly absent or invisible is nonetheless completely there, overwhelming the silence.

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Josephine’s work will be exhibited alongside the six other resident artists in the June Mostra. The opening will take place on Friday 15 June 18.30-21.00. Opening hours 16.30-19.00 until Saturday 23 June 2018, closed Sundays.

Interview by Alice Marsh (Communications & Events). Installation photos by Roberto Apa.