Khalkha Mongol Headdress

A story about the restoration of a Khalkha Mongol Headdress (pre-1900), loaned to the McManus Galleries in Dundee by L J Miller (1931).[1]

The Khalkha Mongol Headdress has been selected, restored and cared for by the McManus. The conversation reveals an object expressing meaning beyond its physical presence within the history of specific events; Mongolian trade routes, craftsmanship and the possible design influence of a headdress worn in Star Wars, Episode 1: The Phantom Menace.

The vocal sound creates meaning found outside language and the spoken word.[2] Inside our perception, the vocal sound allows you to hear the affect the headdress’s journey has had, on the speaker’s feelings.

“Feelings may also link feelings, and this superimposed relationship leads us to an in-between of in-betweens…”[3].

What we hear in tone and vocal expression reveals emotion. To listen and contemplate to the story, bridges us between our personal and shared feelings towards treasured objects. Binaural microphones were used to create an intimate listening experience, locating us in-between the self and the other. And the reverberating sounds of space in the museum, places us from our physical location to the museum, in-between here and there.

[1] Uknown author and date. Khalka headdress. Available: http://www.mcmanus.co.uk/content/collections/database/khalka-headdress. Last accessed 6th Feb 2017.

[2] “… as Ricoeur says, meaning or significance is already both perception and word.” Ihde, D. (2007). Listening and voice: Phenomenologies of sound. 2nd ed. Albany: State University of New York Press. P148

[3] Asenjo, F. G. (1988). In-between : an essay on categories, Center for Advanced Research in Phenomenology & University Press of America, Washington, D.C P139

Advertisements

Meeting Ninety school children

amaxing
Feedback from one of the school children

I was asked to attend the gallery as an introduction to how the creative team at the McManus work with groups. Ninety school children from Broughty Ferry ascended upon the museum, to learn about a Bonnie Prince and some Jacobites. Fortunately, the creative team had logistics already in place, to navigating so many children carefully around the gallery space. I watch as military precision and planning was organised that would make any soldiers heart race. Two hours later a troop of happy children marched out bearing newly made Jacobite shields and returned, homeward bound to the ‘Ferry’.

4

Things I have learned about children in a museum:

  • Ninety children are very loud in an acoustic space.
  • Movement in the space has to well planned and organised.
  • Children spend a lot of time looking up or crouching down.
  • They mix factual and fictional description of things.
  • They enjoyed interacting with the space in the gallery.

fullsizerender-2

Please note: Documentation for this project has photographic restrictions in place.

Introducing ‘The People’s Story’

I have recently started  (a Making the Most of Masters) student placement at the McManus, Dundee’s Art Gallery and Museum. Working on a project called ‘The People’s Story’, running as part of a programme organized by the museum’s Learning & Engagement Team to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the McManus. The project will explore the relationship between Dundee’s diverse communities, the museum and its collections.

mcmanus.jpg

The McManus already has an established form of engagement with a wide range of groups, trustees and communities. Each group engages with the museum in a different way and I would like to consider, what is normal? How do these different audiences normally engage with the museum, the gallery space and interpretation of its artifacts?

Beginning a project is always a daunting task but I’m happy to be working with a fellow student, Stuart McAdam and the creative learning team.  To begin my journey, I have decided to treat it like a walk. ‘The People’s Story’ will allow for an exploration into the relationships between city and the museum. Giving me the resources to collect stories about Dundee and to continue my research, into the dynamic engagement of public and private spaces, using similar methodologies from previous projects involving the tramlines and edgelands of Dundee.

***

Quite unexpectedly, my first visit involved being followed by a Seagull who seemed to be heading in the same direction, the McManus, Dundee’s Art Gallery and Museum.

p1130709

My initial walk through the McManus was to observe the building, space and collections.

Everyday objects from seemingly insignificant past events have just as much validation as an object from a significant historical event.

I noticed the reflections of objects, being mirrored upon the glass of the display cabinets. This reminded me of the process of memory and how people’s stories could place new memories, upon old memories projecting, spatially into a fourth dimension.[1] I wondered if a soundscape of stories collected around and about the McManus could also project into a new dimension.

p1130771-copy

I considered how a walk around a gallery, allowed the place to suggest appropriate sounds. I felt a sense of urgency moving in-between emotions and happenings. A sonic signature is an in-between space where the place is the symbol and the sound, the meaning.[2] The sound of a museum creates an in-between awareness. How people feel in the museum, or about its historical objects, could add something unique to our perception of the McManus and within that thought I found a new line of direction.

[1] “the process is that of continually compounding one and the same topomnesiacal resource.” Casey, E.S. (2002) Representing place: Landscape painting and maps. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.p77

[2] “Thus for the poet in his ecstasy- or perhaps, agony- of the composition the trees are the symbols and the words are the meaning. He concentrates on the trees in order to get the words.” A.N Whitehead (1985). Symbolism: Its Meaning and Effect. New York: Fordham University Press. P12.

copyright © Olsen 2017

Feeling In-between

In-between my reasoning and the real,

I hear the discrete and unrepeatable experiences of illumination.[1]

A soundscape in space-time with sweet gestures placed on my imagination.

Memories of old ambiance upon new ambulation.

 

In-between my head and the sonic,

I receive the distance perceived as a separation from over-there.[2]

A fantasy world bound to subjective questionnaires.

Treasuries of old attention upon new intention.

 

In-between myself and the other,

I bridge an audible world where objectivity and subjectivity meet.[3]

A thing heard, not composed carrying the weight of an archived street.[4]

Subjectivity is an old demanding upon new attending.

 

In-between my silence and the absent,

I listen to a formless stream, emanating from a boundless space.

A walk will allow the appropriate sounds to appear in place.

Accessories urging old emotions upon new happenings.

 

In-between my space and the sound,

I see a place as the symbol and the sound as the meaning.[5]

A form of feeling adds something unique to my perception of dreaming.

Histories of old feelings upon new feelings

 

“Leading us in-between the in-betweens…”[6]

 

[1] Casey, E.S. 2002, Representing place: Landscape painting and maps. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. P76

[2] Voegelin, S. 2010, Listening to noise and silence: Towards a philosophy of sound art. New York: Continuum International Publishing Group. P5

[3] “Listening to sound is where objectivity and subjectivity meet: in the experience of our own generative perception we produce the objectivity from our own generative perception we produce the objectivity from our subjective and particular position of listening, which in turn is constituted by the objectivity of the object of a prior movement of hearing, subjective and particular.” Voegelin, S. 2010, Listening to noise and silence: Towards a philosophy of sound art. New York: Continuum International Publishing Group. P14

[4] Voegelin, S. 2010, Listening to noise and silence: Towards a philosophy of sound art. New York: Continuum International Publishing Group. P23

[5] “Thus for the poet in his ecstasy- or perhaps, agony- of the composition the trees are the symbols and the words are the meaning. He concentrates on the trees in order to get the words.” A.N Whitehead 1985. Symbolism: Its Meaning and Effect. New York: Fordham University Press. P12.

[6] Asenjo, F. G 1988, In-between : an essay on categories, Center for Advanced Research in Phenomenology & University Press of America, Washington, D.C P139

The Useless Gate

The useless gate with no point of entry encloses nothing. No longer approving entry or exit to flow. It stands easily in front of its past barricade and absent without its fence, what nonsense.

p1130590-copy-small

Still, my thoughts invade the space with an intensive survey of neglect. Without a barrier, it creates a bewildering pause; I even relax and unwind a little in the freshness of an invisible edge.

The gate still interrupts here and there, now and then. I begin to walk through space without the cliché of place, allowing a moment to contemplate on ever-changing times, tides, and light.

copyright © Olsen 2016