Isabella Hargrave

My project proposal revolves around the idea of an archaeological dig in reverse, where artifacts or fragments of artifacts are made and buried, recovered and displayed. This has arisen out of my interest in object and narrative and the links between us and the past -the time line that preoccupies us so much; acting as reaffirmation, as validation, that in turn makes us more secure in our future? The project aims to generate dialogue and narrative around objects/artifacts created/found. The objects created will focus on a common thread of things often found in digs. For example, tools, pots, seeds, jewellery, shoes, figures, as well as things important in my perception of the world for example, button boxes, typed letters, fragments of precious and beautiful things – leading to speculation, the food of narrative.

In my research thus far I have looked at the role of the museum/gallery and the role of the curator and the changes there have been. There is still a strong sense of time and history within these roles and the object still has a significance that seems strangely important to the individual whatever the interpretation accompanying it. Nostalgia and memory as a measure of understanding? a forming of identity? So far my research is raising more questions than it is answering and providing even more avenues to explore. At the moment I am engrossed in Susan Stewart’s wonderful book, ”On Longing” which explores narrative and its role in perceptions.

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2 Responses to Isabella Hargrave

  1. estherdeangelis says:

    Hi Isabella

    I have really enjoyed the clarity and generosity with which you have set out your project on the archaeological dig in reverse. I think that your strands of research are absolutely relevant – indeed how do we present or ‘frame’ objects as catalysts for stories about the past. In what way do they reveal the individual and collective values of previous generations? What can they say about the evolution of human consciousness? What do they in fact hint at in terms of ‘trade’ and co-ooperative or competitive ventures between peoples? And also of course how aesthetics are uniquely formed in relation to time, place, resource and tradition. How did peoples break with tradition and create the new? Oh, so many questions could be asked.

    It is such a complex and fascinating area I am not surprised that your research is throwing up more questions than it is answering. This is a similar process for myself and I suspect is part of the natural flow and cycle of research – from order to chaos and back to order. The trick I suppose is how to keep grounding or rooting a vision while its components are flying madly about in the mind. I suspect it is a process I will grasp and get better at managing the more I do it.

    Creative blessings

  2. qianliu says:


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