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from stardust to stardust
from stardust to stardust is a series of photographs commissioned by Scarborough Museums Trust as part of its ‘New Digital Commissions’ programme, in which artists were invited to respond to the unfolding Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. The work was made at the beginning of the first national lockdown when, collectively and individually, we began to experience confusion and grief, anger and gratitude, relief and joy.
The title of the work acknowledges the fact that we all come from, and eventually return to, star dust—that is, particles of exploded stars. Knowing that can give us a sense of our place in the universe.
The theme of ‘cherished objects’ is one that I have worked with previously, both independently and collaboratively with artist Lin Holland. In the context of Covid-19, however, the objects that featured in FSTS had all been given to me, or otherwise acquired, in other times of personal crisis or heightened emotion. Also included were objects given to me for safe-keeping by their previous owners, for whom they represented a moment of crisis or unsettling change.
FSTS examines how objects carry emotion. It also explores how the vocabulary used in the context of museum collections might also be applied to our own treasured pieces, and questions why we preserve things for posterity. While none of the objects appearing in this work are of significant monetary worth, their value and power lie in who or what they represent, and the human values they embody.
The objects were photographed using natural light with the absolute minimum of cropping and post-production intervention - a simplicity which echoed the enforced back-to-basics necessities of lockdown. The photographs were presented singly, in pairs or in small groups, reflecting a range of interconnected emotions associated with crises.
The seven works were released individually on Instagram over a period of seven days by Scarborough Museums Trust.
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