The Museum of Contemporary Farming is an impossible project. Museums are generally places where important ‘things’ invested with knowledge about the past are displayed. The word ‘contemporary’ is often used about the new or recent, suggesting the cutting-edge and the metropolitan; the contemporary is ever-emerging, always current, never fixed. Such a museum could never be realised because it would become obsolete as soon as it was iterated. – Georgina Barney
Georgina Barney and I in our collaboration for The Museum of English Rural Life wanted to draw the attention of the viewer away from things and into a conversation about use and experience and as such connect with ideas of the intangible.
I worked up my proposal: improvisation, as a series of scratched drawings You complete me and installed these alongside objects at The MERL [now acquired into their collection]. They reveal one of the most important tools in farming – the simple stick. An item used, as it has been for millennia, to guide, poke and support.
We also asked people, via Twitter, to suggest ‘things’ to include in our new museum. These could have been impossible: too large, expensive, conceptual or even too simple to include in a real museum. Of all the ideas submitted, 5 commissions were made and shared as an exhibition in the MERL stores. We facilliated a discussion over a farm visit and picnic to complete the commission.
The Museum of English Rural Life
The Wellcome Collection
Arts Council England