retrospective scree(n)d

an exhibition at Bury Art Gallery, as part of the Bury TEXT Festival curated by Tony Trehy

June 2005

This work was woven on site, with the artists present in the gallery for two weeks. Both the weaving and the writing were made during that period. The projected text is drawn from interwoven shreds and conversations between the artists and with visitors during the work’s construction.

Three issues have been in the foreground during the making of Retrospective Screen(n)d. Firstly, a response to the historical associations of Bury with paper manufacture and the weaving industry. Secondly, links between the words text and textile. Thirdly, productive tensions between analogue and digital forms of information storage and retrieval in a form that brings both into intimate conversation.

The weft of this weaving is made up of shreds from one hundred books representing a century of publishing formats and genres (1897-1997). Languages in the weaving include French, English, Chinese, Persian and German. This collection of books: children’s colouring books, the Bible, cookery books, Shakespeare, Hymns Ancient and Modern, a Latin Primer, a history of the Holocaust, romantic fictions, technical manuals, art criticism, pulp fiction, dictionaries, literary classics, gardening books and many many others cut open a range of ideas around value by presenting what could be seen as an archetypical jumble sale book table. Hence its connection to Things Not Worth Keeping.

The warp contains super 8mm film stocks of twentieth century movie genres including animation, comedy, western, crime thriller, war biopic, martial arts, horror, sci-fi and anonymous home movies (Charlie Chaplin, Walt Disney’s Fantasia, Laurel and Hardy, Stagecoach, The Detective, Patton, The Godfathers of Hong Kong, Joyriders, Earth Versus the Aliens, Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed . . .)

The genres and types used in both the warp and the weft are intended to be indicative as distinct from meticulously representative.

Conversation is key to TNWK’s collaborative creative process and takes many forms. One such exchange with Cliff Topping led to his making a study of their work-in-progress in the gallery – his drawing is now presented in the space from which TNWK also drew.