Figures of Folk
A collaboration between London College of Communication, LCC Green Week 2015, the UAL Photography and the Archive Research Centre (PARC) and the Museum of British Folklore, Figures of Folkexplores ongoing traditions through a series of large format photographs by Graham Goldwater, of objects associated with British folklore, alongside letterpress posters created by LCC students, inspired by ancient phrases and words.
In 2009, Simon Costin, the Director of the Museum of British Folklore, put out a call to the nation’s Morris sides to replicate their team kit in miniature, as handmade dolls. . The response has been overwhelming, with nearly three hundred sides participating in the creation of a physical archive.
Together with the Morris dolls, The Museum of British Folklore owns a collection of jig dolls – articulated wooden figures, whic Main Roomh were used by street performers to create a rhythmic beat and movement, mimicking traditional folk dance. Both collections have been photographed by Graham Goldwater, exploring the ways in which the photographic image both documents museum objects and extends their meaning and reach. Both object and photograph become an artefact of dancing and celebration which has taken place in Britain for nearly five hundred years.
As a temporal equivalent, letterpress has also been in continuous existence since 15th century and the work produced by LCC students, Oliver Zandi, Stefania Lucchesi and Vaida Klimaviciute, pays homage to this tradition. Much as Morris dancing has grown in popularity after an earlier decline, the letterpress was superseded by industrial and digital methods of printing. Today, Morris now has over eight hundred active sides and letterpress has seen a huge resurrection of interest.
Both of these activities represent a means of reaching out and connecting to the old ways. But, rather than being a purely nostalgic exercise, their acknowledgment of a rich, deep-rooted past serves to highlight the value of continuity in building a stronger future.
Showing 9 February – 30 April 2015 at PARCspace, Room W224, London College of Communication, Elephant and Castle, London SE1 6SB.
Open Tuesday and Thursday between 12 and 2pm and informally during each weekday.
Opening party and Simon Costin (Director, the Museum of British Folklore) short talk, plus Graham Goldwater on photographing museum objects. Monday 9 February 2015, from 16:30 to 18:30.