Tuesday, 20 December 2016

The art of sound and light at the Pitt Rivers Museum

Hopes and Fears from Pitt Rivers Museum on Vimeo.

The Pitt Rivers Museum is a great place to work if you enjoy rubbing shoulders with a vast range of creative people.  As an educator at the museum for quite a long time I have worked on some amazing and inspiring projects, but none simpler and more effective than working with sound and light artists Luxmuralis, and the whole project had a turnaround of six weeks.

Pitt Rivers labels as projections

I was approached by Fusion Arts in East Oxford and they suggested that they could apply for Arts Council funding for artists to project onto the front of Oxford’s Museum of Natural History. At that point I didn’t realize quite how extensive their projections would be, but if you watch their short film you will get a pretty good idea. The forty minute long film was looped for the evening and the projections ran at the same time as one of our late night openings, Hopes and Fears.

Textile projection on the museum

1,400 people attended the event to experience talks, debates and live music in the museum while Luxmuralis did their magic on the outside of the building, mixing museum images, film and field recordings into an explosion of sound and light. The following week they took the film around town as a series of ‘guerilla’ projections.

Wilfred Thesiger as a projection on the museum

Andy McLellan
Head of Education

Monday, 12 December 2016

Arctic Explorer visits the Pitt Rivers Museum

For our monthly Pitt Stop activities for families we invited along an artist who has just come back from a trip around the Arctic. This special Arctic Explorer is artist Jennifer Crouch who has spent the last couple of months travelling around the Arctic on a ship. Her trip was part of The Arctic Circle who run an expeditionary residency program for artists and scientists. The project that Jennifer was involved with is called Making in Transit and there are a number of events going on. She came to the Museum to share her experience of her visit and what she did during her time there.

One of the things that inspired Jennifer to go on the trip in the first place was seeing some Inuit carved maps that were carved from ivory. During her trip Jennifer carved some of her own maps of the places she visited, primarily Svalbard (Norway).

Families around a table looking at carved wooden maps
Jennifer showing families her carved wooden maps © Pitt Rivers Museum

For the workshop at the Pitt Rivers, Jennifer brought along a making activity where families could carve maps into sandstone. Sandstone is quite a soft stone so you can slowly carve it with clay tools, and it has a really smooth texture which makes the carving very therapeutic. Jennifer explained to families how she carved her maps whilst in the Arctic, pointing out how she would have to pick up all the wood shavings from the floor otherwise they would pollute the landscape. The reason for this being that the Arctic is so cold so things take hundreds of years to rot down. Families had great fun carving their own maps of Svalbard looking at maps that Jennifer had on display.

Carly Smith-Huggins
Families Education Officer

Man and two small children sat at table carving onto soapstone over trays
Families carving soapstone maps © Pitt Rivers Museum

Adult and child sat at table carving soapstone over trays
Families carving  soapstone maps © Pitt Rivers Museum

People carving stones over trays
Families carving soapstone maps © Pitt Rivers Museum