A Million Objects

AUTUMN 2022 ︎︎︎ A Million Objects

‘Archive Fever’ was a project commissioned by Modern Painters, New Decorators that responded to objects in the Leicestershire Museum Collection. We documented the entire project through film, photography and drawings.

The late January sun was strong as we arrived at Sileby station, just two stops from Loughborough. A short walk north, then – tucked away behind a row of trees, on an industrial estate – we were welcomed into the Leicestershire Museums Collection,
a treasure trove of approximately a million objects relating to Leicestershire’s heritage. In conversation with Senior Curator, Alison Clague, we explored the filing cabinets and display cases of the collection to uncover objects that had fascinated four artists on their previous visits.

Since then, we have followed Modern Painters, New Decorators Archive Fever project very closely, documenting six conversations with contributors including contemporary artists, museum managers and collection curators to produce a series of short films which consider the stories behind the project.
The conversations approach themes of preservation, family history, nostalgia, conspiracy theories and heritage, and the more personal responses individuals had as they encountered the objects.

Why do we collect things?

How do we respond to our heritage?

Do the objects we hold on to become vessels for the stories and shared histories that haunt us like ghosts?

Throughout the year we’d shown ‘work-in-progress’ versions of the films in each of the four exhibitions, on old television sets that hum and whine and hurt your eyes to watch. But the films had never been shown together – as a unified piece of work until November, almost a year since starting the project. We were looking for a way to land the film project and Institute, a co-working space in the town centre provided the ideal setting for hosting it.

By using multiple TVs stacked on top each other, we had this idea that the objects on screen would become sort of ghosts, appearing and disapearing - haunting the conversations that referenced them. 
I’m happy making films that are watched somewhere. In an actual place. Escpecially when the film is connected to somewhere in particular. I’ve heard “Somewhere is better than anywhere,” and that pretty much sums up how I like to approach making things in the digital age.

Words by Joshua Jones

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Words by Josie Jones