Museum of Struggle and Martyrdom in Treblinka, 2 August – September 2015
Curated by Caroline Sturdy-Colls & Michael Branthwaite: “Finding Treblinka includes new physical evidence uncovered at the sites of the former Nazi extermination and labour camps during a seven-year research investigation undertaken by staff from Centre of Archaeology at Staffordshire University, which have shed new light on the nature of the Nazis’ crimes. A temporary exhibition Finding Treblinka: Artists Respond accompanies the permanent installation, representing an innovative collaboration in which artists have responded to archaeological findings from both the extermination and labour camps. The opening of the exhibitions will feature a commemoration ceremony, and takes place on the 72nd anniversary of the Treblinka revolt.
The artists responses have been driven by their individual practice and concerns over how specialist scientific information can be communicated to a wider audience. The show focuses on how artists can create new discourses and dialogues that create change in the way we think about history and its relationship with the present. It explores how we process and build histories around objects, and how science and art can come together to enhance public knowledge about sensitive and traumatic events.
The artworks range from text-based wall works to free standing sculpture. Re-appropriated objects also feature, such as a re-upholstered chair exhibiting motifs from the objects found during the excavations at Treblinka. Since the objects found during these excavations will remain at the site, the artworks will eventually provide a travelling surrogate, offering viewers a conversational experience that will also hopefully encourage people to visit Treblinka”.
Archaeological research by Caroline-Sturdy Colls, with artists Michael Branthwaite, Janine Goldsworthy, Dave Griffiths, Hilary Jack and Jenny Steele.
Wall drawing, telescope, microdot light boxes
“History […] is a progressive transcoding of images into concepts, a progressive elucidation of ideas, a progressive disenchantment (taking the magic out of things), a progressive process of comprehension.” Vilém Flusser, Towards a Philosophy of Photography
Deep Field [The Photographic Universe] connects the present-day city with the early universe, via the invention of microdots in Victorian Manchester. With advice from the Astrophysics Research Institute and in response to the dimensions of Castlefield Gallery’s double-height wall, this pseudo-planetarium samples a 40 degree POV in the southerly sky, presented as an information surface for navigation and observation. Around 450 deep-field galaxies were and images collected from online databases such as Sloan Digital Sky Survey, Simbad and Galaxy Zoo. Using catalogues compiled by early modern astronomers Herschel and Dreyer, and hundreds of international observers dating from antiquity to modernity, it explores the disenchantment, and communal commemoration, of material reality brought about by photography.
Castlefield Gallery, Manchester, 9 August – 30 September 2012
Clarissa Corfe, Curator: “For its re-launch, Castlefield Gallery is pleased to announce Babel Fiche, an exhibition of new work by artist Dave Griffiths. With the world in considerable political, economic and cultural flux and turmoil, there has been a return to interests in the socio-political in contemporary visual art and our 2012/13 exhibitions are programmed under the overarching annual theme of World In Transition referencing these issues as points of departure.
The Babel Fiche exhibition features two ambitious new works by Griffiths, Deep Field [The Photographic Universe] and the film Babel Fiche, developed from a Film and Video Umbrella commission and co-produced with Castlefield Gallery. For the past few years Griffiths’ work has involved the use of ‘cuedots’, microdots and microfiche, exploring his fascination with technology perceived as ‘redundant’ after the advent of the digital era. These newly commissioned works further develop his interest in this area.
Griffiths’ film explores the human urge to collect, categorise and remix images through a critical questioning of the future of digital image archives. Video fragments from personal and public archives were collected and re-presented from the compressed contents as still frames printed as an edition of unique colour microfiche plates. Making sense of the excess imagery littered on the internet as well as in our personal hoards of photographic images and film footage, the project imagines how future generations may perceive the current times. In the making of the film Griffiths involved a number of collaborators, to broaden the scope of response to the archive content; applied ethics writer Stefan Skrimshire and poet Gaia Holmes as scriptwriters, musician Graham Massey producing the soundtrack, and artist and filmmaker Joe Duffy as editor.
Griffiths alters our seismic understanding of time and history. He orchestrates a disjuncture between the actual, its documentation, consequential archiving and concepts of time-shifting, treating them as malleable components to be expanded, shifted and contracted, radically reappraising the production and consumption of culture. In Griffiths’ film the analogue image archive re-emerges as an object of scrutiny for a future generation of archaeologists, with a mise-en-scène of Manchester’s cityscape shot at the top of the iconic Beetham Tower skyscraper.”