Bees, Mills and Museums

Blagg, Peter (2022) Bees, Mills and Museums. [Artefact]


The output is an artefact created by Blagg, commissioned for the 'Following Threads' exhibition at Bradford Industrial Museum. Research Process: Bradford Industrial Museum was originally a working textile factory built in 1875, and was eventually converted into a museum in 1974. Using the history of the building (and his interest in the position of museums in our current cultural and economic environment) Blagg modelled his sculptural making process on three key ideas: mill workers, bees, and museums. Through this research Blagg comments on the perception of the undervalued mill workers in the industrial North of England. Blagg connected the decline of bees and their domestication with the mill worker and ideas about work, usefulness and exploitation. He selected ‘throw away’ found, familiar, and purely functional objects made from overly exploited materials to create this artwork. The final form of this research is an assemblage of sculpture presented as musicological objects. Research Insights: The resulting artwork draws upon the nature of museums as a repository of uncanny experiences and associations, drawing on ideas of familiar and unfamiliar (unheimliche). As this work was created during the Covid-19 pandemic, Blagg had to take into consideration how his work would be seen – as his practice usually involves the handling of objects by audiences. With this in mind, he purposely focused presenting the objects as they might appear in a cabinet of curiosity. Blagg’s intention was to impress upon the audience the physical nature of the objects, imagined handling, and their curious yet familiar natures. Dissemination: The work has been shown in the 'Following Threads' exhibition at Bradford Industrial Museum, from 26 February 2022 - 23 January 2023.

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