An Ethnographic Study of The BNSS (2020) is an art installation/ projection that serves to function as a piece that is both intimate and informational. Through photographing and questioning several of the people who help run the society, using 35mm film and a series of recordings, the work provides the exhibition viewer with a small insight into their lives and untold stories. The projection is inspired by the portraits of past members hung on the walls of the institution. These photographs are charged with history, and their presence is equally as powerful as the artefacts on display. In addition to documenting other important factors of the BNSS, such as the architecture and displays, Aimable felt inclined to create a response that highlights the contributions made by members that are still alive, in the hopes of further educating those who visit the Bournemouth Natural Science Society.
Acrylic on recycled cardboard with a Jesmonite sculpture
Untitled 2020 is a combine comprising an abstractive, resin sculpture and a large-scale collage painting densely layered in acrylic, ink and charcoal. The piece responds to the architecture of the Bournemouth Natural Science Society (BNSS), adopting geometric aspects of the building as well as selecting pigments from the museum’s interior.
Additionally, through tracing cartographical data from visitors interacting in the space together with features from the building, the piece offers a map-like embodiment of institution. Both elements investigate the ‘temporality’ of the exhibits and traverse how objects transcend their physicality to become a concept or a lived reality.
Implementing a densely energetic application of media reflects the vibrancy of the volunteers, and the sheer volume of artefacts BNSS exhibit. This piece explores the emblematic nature of artefacts within the museum and how this can be translated into a visual art form.
Aston’s work explores the relationship humans have with animals, confronting the way in which we view animals as a separate species to our own. The artist has been looking specifically at the hunting of endangered birds, in the hope we will begin to ‘reflect’ upon our actions towards other living beings. This is represented by varying textures such as feathers and glass. Aston take aspects of real life, and pauses them in a single moment in time, drawing attention to the decreasing rights that animals have through her own version of a still life.
As an artist, Carr is particularly interested in the relationship we have as humans with nature. Her work often depicts these relationships alongside themes of life, growth and decay. As we journey into spring, she wanted to explore and celebrate the nature of growth through creating a piece of artwork that will eventually nurture the earth. This piece was created with the intention for it to be planted and from it wild flowers will flourish. The sacred act of giving seeds back to the earth can be known as seed starting a traditional druid ritual known to aid connection and nourishment. Using a traditional method for making paper, Carr used recycled paper, dried plants and seeds to make a living pulp. The imagery captures some of the life taking place in the gardens of the BNSS and mimics the life that will form from it.
Edwards has directed her focus into the fragmented, delicate and variety of colour of an agate rock. Agate rocks are formed within cavities of other rocks, this cavity is filled layer-by-layer by microcrystals, this results in the beautiful patterns, layers and colours.
An artist known as a lapidarist then cuts and polishes the rock so that we are able to appreciate and observe its stunning contents.
Edwards has replicated the layer by layer formation, and has selected particular colours to work with. The painting has been made by adding and then removing many layers of diluted oil paint onto pieces of canvas. This process of the layering is just as, or even more, important than the final outcome. The artist would like it to relate back to the natural structure of these hard, cold but fragmented and beautiful rocks.
Fuss’ work responds to the Lapis Lazuli stone and its historical importance, specifically to the ancient Egyptians.
North-eastern Afghanistan has the oldest mining site where the stone is still extracted from the limestone found in the Kokcha river. Lapis Lazuli was traded along the silk road, a trading route extending from China to Africa and Europe. Different religions were spread along this route with mostly luxury goods being traded across the long, arduous journey. The distance from Egypt to Afghanistan is over 3000 kilometres through vast mountain ranges.
The high value of the stone meant it was used represent the high status of their rulers and dignitaries. Tutankhamun’s tomb was full of Lapis Lazuli; his mask was made from gold and Lapis. It was seen as the stone of the heavens due to the dark blue colour and gold pyrite flecks symbolising the midnight sky. The Egyptians believed it was a stone of the Gods which provided you with ancient wisdom and power.
Flint knapping is nearly a lost art, with people perceiving stone tools as a symbol of historic humanity; the primitive hardware of our ancestors and a far cry from the developed civilisations of today. With these models Illingworth hopes to draw attention to the ingenuity of our ancestors who conceived and built hundreds of mine shafts such as at ‘Grimes Graves’ to find the finest deposits of flint for their tools; who without scientific or mathematical understanding formed the intricate craft of knapping to create tools and weapons with serrated sharp edges that strengthen the blades. Exhibiting her own flint knapping alongside she attempts to displays the regression of our race in skills and diligence that were once essential to our survival and would still be were be isolated from modern society. Asking the question, do we as a race still have the ingenuity, motivation and ability to survive again isolated from modernity?
Kandiah’s work creates a commentary on the morality of displaying animal taxidermy. Using technology that the museum already has access to, such as QR codes and Stereography, he has shown how the museum could promote ecological justice opposed to the cruel hypocrisy of trophy hunting.
Talking to the staff at the BNSS, Kandiah discovered that taxidermy provides no educational benefit, but they are purely ‘more interesting to look at than pictures.’ The work is a small collection of Stereographic paintings that create three-dimensional illusions that does not require the killing of animals, but is still ‘more exciting to look at’ than a 2D image.
The artist’s paintings depict local, familiar animals such as squirrels but shown with bullet wounds, addressing the issue of the cruelty done to these animals, while also providing a solution on how the museum already has access to the technology that nullifies its necessity.
Leddington’s work are landscape oil paintings, with imagery ranging from the BNSS itself to distant ruins, in which passed humans habited. The artist is exploring the idea of places surviving the test of time and being revisited by future beings, similar to how we visit the Pyramid's of Giza or Greek Parthenon. However, in the 21st century, medical science and biotechnology could see a new species visiting these places, rather than Homo Sapiens.
Watch as the beauty of Afro culture, the history and movement, made by its wonderful people is overshadowed by the obvious obsession.
You are lucky to bask in its presence. They laughed at first and now they copy. Ridiculing has now become mimicking.
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, a statement saturated with nativity. A con man’s excuse to justify their immoral acquisitions and appropriation. Nonetheless, I do not regret my being, my origins and my power. I just will warn you to be cautious and to be careful, for what you see will make you just like everyone else and you’ll be struck by obsession. I am a queen and I am the motherland; there’s a chance that what you see may never leave your mind. You will want to be just like me, graceful and powerful, ruler of all. An African Queen!
~Queen Rhi 👑
Oates explores the relationship between animals and humans; our lives and interactions, our closeness and distance, our similarities and differences. Inspired by the collection at the BNSS, the artist has been researching insects looking at different species, exploring their anatomy, characteristics, behaviour, their importance and comparing them with humans.
Oates has also been looking into metamorphosis in insects; a change in form from one stage to the next in the life history of an organism. For instance, the caterpillar turns into an adult butterfly. This led to the artist reading the book The Metamorphosis (Franz Kafka, 1915). The Metamorphosis is about a man that wakes up to find himself transformed into an insect, inspiring Oates to look at animal symbolism within her art practice.
A series of textual work; this piece explores how institutions like museums provide their information. Plummer attempts to draw attention to the contradictions of the museum's displays. Due to the age and value of the collection, it is generally understood that the objects in a museum should not be touched. By placing the artefacts directly on top of the labels, the information underneath becomes inaccessible because it is unclear if the collection is allowed to be moved. In this series, the artist removes the information that has been covered by the artefacts altogether, as it is as good as non-existent to most rule abiding visitors. This subtle intervention of the museum's display is likely to go unnoticed unless someone works up the courage to break the museum's rules and move the artefacts in the pursuit of knowledge.
The work is a series of small portraits representing Takahata’s responses to the museum. People who visit and work in BNSS are depicted in ambiguous but emotional portraits, scattered to several throughout the quiet and still atmosphere of the museum. The artist injects life through her ‘explosion’ and ‘invasion’ into the building with her paintings. The intimate and anonymous images come from real observations and sketches of the people in the community thorough her connections with them. In order to share the emotional experience with the audience, each work is aligned to a poem about what Takahata felt during the observation. The work represents the overlap between the external and inner world, connecting people and emotion as a human commonality.
As an artist, Varma explores her work in a documented performance based on a ritualistic act of apology to the preserved animas displayed. The artist has a very profound interest in rituals, and has concentrated in a form to document a performance of the delicacy, time and passion the institution shows towards their displayed animals, whether dead or alive. Her aim in this documented work, is to discover and recognize herself in an apologetic form towards the after-life of every creature. To add value to every death. She is on a journey to discover her position as a human and her relationship to these creatures.
These large-scale abstract painting are representations of birds in flight as a response to the BNSS bird collection. Westgarth found the cases of stuffed birds to be incredibly interesting whilst visiting the museum. Although they were once living, they feel more like you are looking at an object than a bird. A lot of what is quintessential of birds is their ability to fly.
In this piece, Westgarth is portraying the flight of a bird rather than its physicality. The paintings were made by studying a bird’s movement and behaviour from life and film, the resulting pieces showing her response to these sources. As the paintings are on plastic, the room itself becomes a part of the artwork and reflects the life that the taxidermy birds once had as well as the life of the living birds that can be seen through the windows.
Rather than responding to the collection of the Bournemouth Natural Science Society itself, At Long Last (2020) reflects on the surrounding area and its possible history. The footage is a reflective narrative of someone’s life, using a series of scenic shots in which not much happens. The work began through an interest in psychogeography and ways of interpreting a location’s history.
After watching the video, we are led to question if this person’s life really did happen or if it simply a creation of the mind? Is what we see the truth of what has actually happened?
For this exhibition, Woolcock has been looking at the taxidermy in relation to the way humans struggle to deal with immortality. The artist has looked at the way we botch the animals in order to try to preserve and re-animate them. Closely looking the skulls of the animals exhibited at the BNSS, Woolcock has used thick paint and wires to represent a way of rebuilding the flesh around the bones of the animals. The bright colours represent the way that taxidermy continues to change and fades with time, and how fixing them will never bring the animals back.