chimaerae verae

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This DVD / booklet developed out of the project Transformations at The Manchester Museum in 2003. I was commissioned to make a new work that explored masks and identity in relation to the British Museum collection of masks, which was on display in the Museum. For this project, I brought together two concepts connected with potentiality and becoming which have fascinated me for some time and are central to my ongoing exploration of liminal states: the western folklore tradition of the sleeper as someone who lies dormant full of potential, and the crossing of the boundary between the human and animal kingdoms as understood in folklore and magical traditions and more recently explored by the philosophers Deleuze and Guattari.

I worked with a group of young teenagers (who are themselves in a liminal state between childhood and adulthood) to make animal masks that reflected a strong innate quality of each individual. I made a film with the participants in the Mammals Gallery, a Victorian gallery space within the museum, which is full of stuffed animals. I also took photographs of the young people wearing their masks in spaces in the Museum not open to the public, such as store rooms or offices.

This project has evolved into a collaborative work with Iain Biggs, an artist based in Bristol, with a shared interest in liminal states and in human-animal border subjectivities. A limited edition DVD has been produced which includes footage from the museum as well as stills and Super 8 film shot in Pembrokeshire. The final format is a hand made box containing the DVD, a booklet of text by Iain Biggs and three still images.

The box set costs £35. Please go to publications for more information and to buy. Click here for a link to view a Quicktime version of the film


film still including polar bear

film still with glass cabinet

film still with crowlady

film still with crowman

film still with masked kids

film still with masked man

film still with glass cabinets

film still with bearwoman in wood


still images included in the box:    
image of a half crow half woman image of a bearwoman in wood image of two masked boys

the box:

image of a handmade box


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