Objects in Purgatory brooch exchange: storytelling artefacts as agents for audience engagement

Keyte, J (2015) 'Objects in Purgatory brooch exchange: storytelling artefacts as agents for audience engagement.' Studies in Material Thinking, 13. ISSN 1177-6234

Official URL: https://www.materialthinking.org/papers/203

Abstract

An 'object in purgatory' is a gift you have received and don't want, but nonetheless feel compelled to keep. My Objects in Purgatory exhibition (2011) invited visitors to contribute their uncherished gifts, and relate the stories associated with them. Their contributions were exhibited, and in return they received a handmade brooch featuring an image of another visitor's uncherished gift. This paper describes how public display gave the gifts material agency—opening up a new shared space for reflection on the usually taboo subject of unwanted gifts. The use of display in the exhibition and in the brooches provided rich layers of performance, provocation and interpretation. The paper also establishes the Objects in Purgatory exhibition as a method that combines a form of artistic production—the participatory exhibition—with a form of exchange. The method engages the audience in active reflection on their practices of keeping home possessions, and develops an existing form of contemporary jewellery practice (the making of wearable memories) by employing brooches to reallocate the memories, obligations and feelings associated with unwanted gifts—thereby developing the relational potential of jewellery.

Item Type: Article
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The full article is available to read at the URL above.

Keywords: contemporary jewellery, narrative, gift exchange, performative artefacts, exhibition as research, display
Divisions: Bath School of Art and Design
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Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2019 11:11
Last Modified: 15 Mar 2019 11:11
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