Where do I begin on this project? Well, let’s begin with what my group gravitated towards at the Museum. As soon as we walked in, a red sign immediately caught our attention; red, apparently is the first colour we, as humans, are programmed to see. I believe it is a way in which we can differentiate between danger and safety.
The Clore Discovery Centre previously was formerly Glanely Gallery, but with a generous donation from the Clore Duffield Foundation was transferred into the Discovery Centre. It became a fantastic opportunity to experience firsthand part of the 7.5million strong collection of The National Museum of Cardiff. The Centre invites tactile participation and exploration, which are usually prohibited. The room offers a multi-sensory approach to education and learning; children being the main objective. Children’s curiosity towards the world around them is unparalleled, being able to let them enquire and research in their own unique way let’s them build their own narrative and construct their own identity. Children are encouraged to learn, play and study their surroundings, but why does the archaic educational system take joy in unlearning all of the wonderful characteristics which would make them all question and think for themselves?
Interactivity, resources, knowledge, activities, performances, demonstrations and exhibitions are all part of the experience of The Clore Discovery Centre. A definitive narrative is left at the door, and we are invited to make our own choices, interpretations and experience things in our own individual way. How we choose to engage with the subject matter can be dictated by narrative and the information in front of us, this is why a room such as this is a welcome edition to a world saturated with everything chosen for us; there is scope to think, experience and create.
Concessions for entertainment allow scope for families to bond and learn together. If these concessions were removed, what context would the room serve? Would it become child unfriendly? Would the room stagnate and become unfit for purpose? Surely a centre such as this would lose it’s ability to tell it’s story. What narrative would be told by informing us of everything? Taking away visual stimuli, and replacing them solely with written text and monotone information; how would this affect the intended audience? Imagination should be encouraged, not destroyed. The centre does not have a material property as such, but all objects can be touched, bringing us back to the physical material characteristics of texture, shape and form.
This exercise absolutely exhausted me, my CFS has been exacerbated terribly by this Constellation subject. On a plus note, after exiting The Clore Discovery Centre, I was awaited by some of the curators, artists, scientists and museum staff. I chatted to a lovely gentleman called Julian Carter, who works in the Department of Biodiversity & Systematic Biology @ The National Museum of Wales as a Conservation Officer. He demonstrated some of the incredible images that can be obtained from an Electron Microscope, my interest was piqued immediately. The images had the most phenomenal textile quality to them; sheer scope for inspiration is mind boggling. Julian was kind enough to give me his personal Business card and told me to contact him if ever I wanted to work in conjunction with him on numerous scientific and biological collections:
To top off this incredible find, I walked up to a table of cameras ranging from the early 20th Century to modern day and encountered some incredible photographic images showcasing the processes of photogram, lumen and saltwater photography. Vicky was happy to chat about her alternative methods of documenting subject matter without the focus of using an actual camera. I was blown away by the impact, but simplicity of the images in front of me.
Vicky is currently studying an MA in Photographic Practices, although she had no business cards to give me as of yet, she did give me her e-mail address as correspondence:
I will contact her to arrange a meeting, so she can tell/show me in more detail the processes involved in this incredibly textural type of photography. Watch this space, again.