Whinfield Project Q&A with Redhawk Logistica
- 1st March 2018
A unique collection of magic lantern slides are the inspiration for a new art project, we’ve interviewed Rob Hewitt from Redhawk Logistica to find out more…
The project is celebrating a unique collection of photographic magic lantern slides taken by a Worcester resident, Arthur Henry Whinfield. He lectured to many local folk about his trips around the world. Worcestershire Archive & Archaeology Service (WAAS) has jointly been awarded a grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund to celebrate the centenary of his collection being donated by his widow to the Worcester Diocesan Church House Trust in March 1918.
A key element of the project is the conservation and cataloging of slides, followed by their digitisation. Working together with the Magic Lantern Society, the lantern slide projector will be repaired and a selection of slides chosen to share with the public.
Tell us a little bit about your background? What is Redhawk Logistica?
I am an artist and curator who makes work about places and the position of the individual. Almost everything I produce is made with the help of others, hence the work is always credited to Redhawk Logistica, to signify it has been created by more than one person. A lot of the art work pops up in public spaces, challenging people to think about what meanings or associations it holds for them.
What were you looking for when researching the AH Whinfield magic lantern slides?
The collection is housed in a big wooden chest full of draws, containing hundreds and hundreds of glass slides. Some are cracked or fading away, others depict subjects that are no longer with us in real life. There’s no list of them all, only some headings written on the front of the draws. I just started with the first one and worked my way through, looking at them all. It’s taken weeks, but I’ve found some amazing images hidden away in the basement at The Hive and some themes are starting to emerge.
Where did the idea for it come from?
Redhawk was working with young people and archives on the Strongrooms project two years ago, that was when I was first shown the magic lantern slide collection by WAAS’ community archaeologist Justin Hughes. It captured my imagination straight away and 2018 marks 100 years since it was first handed over to the public records office, so now seems like the right time to shine some light on these dusty objects.
What is the ‘missing’ project and where will it take place?
The collection is like an encyclopedia of images and they are the raw material we are working with. Some of the photographs show things that have now changed; historic buildings, natural features, cultural objects, moments in time. They may only exist as a memory or as a photograph, held deep within the archives. The missing project is about remembering some of these things that are hard to hold onto. We want to find a way to bring them back to life and share a selection in public. Some will become outdoor projections after dark in March, others will be pasted up onto walls surrounding The Hive building, inserting them into a contemporary cityscape. We’ll be doing some art workshops and putting together a magazine to record all the interesting things we find along the way.
AH Whinfield used to give illustrated talks about his travels, any plans to do something similar?
Yes! In July there will be two public events, forming a sort of re-enactment of a slide talk given by Arthur Whinfield, counter balanced by a set of images selected from the slide collection by Redhawk. We want it to feel like you are delving into his cabinet of curiosities and travelling with him on a sea of images. More details will be released nearer the time on Explore the Past.
How do people get involved and when will things take place?
Everything is taking place between March and August 2018, and we want to get young people from Worcester involved in curating images from the Whinfield collection and generating content for the ‘zine. If you are interested in taking part we’d love to hear from you!