Record of processes

The photographs record the project in progress from June to September 2020 for the three objects that were manifested in the final submission. One nice description given was that of evocative engineering. These are only experiments and very much work in progress.

The final outcomes can be seen on the page: Work/MA By Project final outcomes.

Research Question: How can object-making become instrumental in establishing a narrative space in which personal memories and replicated images from two paintings are combined to impart knowledge about the notion of English politeness through the lens of the 18th Century tea table?

The very rudimentary films below were mini staging posts. I became verbally mute by creating the three objects, moving away from little films in which I talked. I think there is something about doing a tour of objects in a museum and getting the objects to ‘talk’ to each other – perhaps to gain some contextualisation.

This experimental film was highly problematic for me in that I found the background imagery so unsettling and threatening. This was to the extent that, whilst working on this project, I had to cover up this ‘image’ that I had photocopied in a tile format on my canon printer so that I could enlarge it. For me it is the hidden world within the bosom of the family.
This was practicing with a very rudimentary panning app on my tablet. Obviously this needs more intention behind the movement of the camera – the app lacked the subtlety of movement and timing – but it is gloriously hypnotic. Just immerse yourself in the beauty and technical brilliance of Jean Etienne Liotard’s painting. This is so much more than a record of a tea tray – there is such an implicit sensual pleasure.
Again this was a very rudimentary experiment so the ‘stage’ is pretty rubbish. The Chinese tea bowl is located in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London and the picture is a poor photocopy from a book, lacking in vitality and lustre. On a recent visit to Korea, when taken to a Chinese tea house to drink tea, it struck me that the majority of the beautiful Chinese cups were not decorated in the blue and white as we find so familiar in Europe. They were earthy green and browns all created to enhance the beauty of the tea liquor. Their manufacture has not greatly changed and these cups are still prized today. Regarding the film, the sound of course is poor and it is nice to revisit as I think there is something her about giving objects voices.
These are all experiments – working in lockdown meant much of it was very much au naturel! I recorded myself just talking about how I had this epiphany about High Tea. Trivial as it might seem it really shows the value of just absorbing information generally and ferretting about in different archive sources. It was the description of the boys’ tea at Rugby in Tom Brown’s School Days that started to unlock some ideas. For me, High Tea initially appeared outside the domestic space of the home. It appeared in the extended home, the educational establishment where the concept of the High Table was practiced.
High Tea is not Tea the evening meal which evolved from the working class or labourer’s home. Nor is it the ‘afternoon’ tea of the elite and middling classes who paid Social Calls. High Tea stood alongside these, an import into the domestic home from the educational establishment in the mid to late 19th century.

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