Online Presentation and Attendee Feedback
As part of my installation “Remembrance day-dreams” I presented the work to an invited audience online, through one of the available platforms. This is the video of that moment and is divided into two parts: the first is a walk around the installation and the second is a Q&A session with those online.
I asked those who attended the installation and the online presentation to send me their thoughts and reactions to the work. These are their kind responses.
Joanne Jones, Audience Attendee
The image of Tim Stubbs Hughes standing on old kitchen steps and staring pensively over the fence into his childhood garden is striking. Initially, this photograph made me think about Tim adopting the role of the ‘nosy’ neighbour. This is a little bit comical, but we are like a nosy neighbour. Middle age provokes an interest in ours or, better still, someone else’s past, of their successes and regrets. “The past is another country” and in comparison to the reminiscences in L.P Hartley’s ‘The Go-Between’ not necessarily a comfortable place to revisit. Any reminiscences must, then, be reliant on unreliable memories from which we curate our presentation of ourselves, and thus, our preferred identity. This is reflected by the limited availability of objects on display in Remembrance of Day-Dreams, but also how the Hughes’ family’s ephemera is displayed with Tim’s photographs to explore a sense of his own identity and a past which is deemed acceptable to prying eyes. The filtered version provokes curiosity about what is missing and which is what is most intriguing about this exhibition. This mirrors the adult self we show to the world. Like Tim’s presentation, it is a curated version of ourselves I think. Therefore never completely knowable by those closest to us or even to ourselves.
The photographic fragments chosen for this exhibition are, in many ways mundane: the porcelain tiger on the window sill and a door catch or partly dismantled shelves. They are significant because they are fixtures in an otherwise empty bedroom. The archive of those missing pieces contained at the centre of the exhibition and placed around a space the shape and size of Tim’s room are pieces of a jigsaw. They challenge the viewer to fill in the puzzle with the photos and scattered fragments. I am the same age as Tim so the 80’s music, the school report leaflets, a teacher’s handwriting were all pleasing, vivid reminders of my own childhood experiences. There are cheeky references, like the inclusion of a Mayfair magazine, a nod to burgeoning sexuality and the approach of manhood, coyly placed under a pile of battered 80’s novels.
But, what of the less pleasant memories, the nightmares and uncertainty that are integral to childhood and adolescence? One could argue that it is these uncomfortable remembrances that shape our adult identity the most, teaching us how to navigate difficult and upsetting situations. Tim’s self-portraits, which punctuate the still life photographs, hint at these shadows. The images of the adult Tim are of a man who appears still, reflective and perhaps a little perplexed by his remembrances. The man is a contrast to the bright, open-faced and smiling boy who appears in snapshots taken by others. The playfulness of some of the images and choices from the archive hint that these separate portraits are one and the same which the material evidence also helps to substantiate.
Kate Bannister, Artistic Director of Jack Studio Theatre and Audience Attendee
Intensely honest, personal, and beautifully executed, really making the viewer find their own world within it too. Very impressive.
Sally Souraya, Artist and Audience Attendee
Visiting ‘Remembrance of day-dreams’ installation felt like an open invitation to revisit our own personal childhood space, as soon as I walked into the room, I felt so connected with Tim’s childhood stories as they unfold so intimately throughout the installation. Tim’s curatorial choices were very powerful. Using a theatre space for the installation was very interwoven with Tim’s memories and identities and immersed us more naturally in his own world. The selection of photos worked really nicely together and each corners/walls resembled a poetry line, rhyming with other others, as well as telling their own stories. I felt as if Tim’s hands echoed the years of both holding on and letting go of his childhood. A powerful openness to share and welcome the past and future in both hands.
Svetlana Atlavina, Artist and Online Zoom Attendee
It was such a pleasure to witness your performance. Thank you very much for inviting me.
Comparing the Real and the Virtual, I cannot decide which would be better for perception. Definitely, there is a new way of communication.
I mean that new technology allows us to be connected from numerous geographical locations. We observed you in the official exhibition but you look at us in our private places. There is also an element of guessing and imagination what is there which became lost for our perception.
The installation was very evocative with flickering images from memory and ‘intertextuality’. Dogville film settings, Tillman Exhibition at Tate, tough reading and decisions during everyone childhood, collective room of all children, your first presentation at City Lit, and many more.
The computer screen became a portal, the sense of temporality of the connection added additional value to the memory bank. I think I will remember bright colours, the story, similar to a fairy tale because it always discuss very personal things and show bravery in disclosure weakness.
Paul Clements, Photographer and Online Zoom Attendee
When viewing Tim Stubbs Hughes work placed within the original setting of a theatre stage, I certainly do admire how he has taken up the photographers challenge to consider display and curation!
Tim has certainly thought creatively and outside of the traditional white cube gallery space here, and importantly what his work is achieving; the importance of context, how it is shared, and to challenge himself to move beyond the aesthetic.
Tim’s work is personal and shows how the lived experience can structure work and transcribe that to the viewer, to his audience.
When viewing Tim’s bedroom on the theatre stage it certainly had me thinking on what production I would choose for myself within the personal space of the bedroom I grew up in, from a young boy to the end of my teenage years. “Waiting for Godot” by Samuel Beckett, or possibly even “Moscow Stations” Venedikt Yerofeev’s autobiographical novel, from the time I saw Tom Courtenay in magnificent, boozy form recounting his story by rail to the city of Petushki at The Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh in 1994? Courtenay could sit or even lay on my bed recounting his tales!
Tim’s work has therefore certainly achieved what photography should always do, to make you think!