Monday, 30 December 2013

Artist's Book: Damp in Ditchwater

 Postcard souvenir booklet. First edition of twenty - Brighton UK
Heavy yellow card cover with shaped edge, printed in either, burnt-orange or turquoise.
Introduction page followed by 10 detachable heavyweight colour postcards with tissue interleaves.
One card contains a tipped-in stamp and handwritten salute.



 

"A charming history - told through postcards - of the philanthropic, family-run Damp Industries’
partnership with the sleepy town of Ditchwater-by-Sea. Damp Industries’ self-appointed mission, is to strive until culture, learning and suitable products reside in the South."

In this sequence of ten postcards the intriguing relationship between Damp
and Ditchwater-by-Sea is slowly revealed.
.....What happened on the opening day at the Damp Museum?
.....Who wears the Cod-Sash?
.....Why is the curator missing?

This book has grown out my fascination for less-than-exciting museums. I particularly enjoy the secondhand mannequins with scuffed noses and displays that have been gathering dust for years. I make a point of searching out the least-popular tourist attractions, in the hope of finding a display of manky plastic fruit or - my favourite - a historical family diorama. The trend in swish, technologically interactive museums are fine for children, but the creepy dank interiors of the deserted local museum are my delight. I have been recording these museum interiors for a number of years in the hope of celebrating these fast-disappearing gems. The second-rate displays often reveal an 'any old rubbish for the tourists' attitude that is sharper than any deliberate satire.


The narrative behind Damp in Ditchwater is the story of an unscrupulous company that, hounded out of its own country, has started over again in England. The clash of values, along with the townsfolk's desperation to 'be put on the map' reveals itself through the comments on the reverse of the postcards. Starting slight but getting more and more vocal until there is little room to actually write a message on the postcard. The Damp employees and Ditchwater townsfolk have an uneasy alliance, where both are gritedly out-for-themselves.




Selected Exhibitions:
The Southern Cross University Acquisitive Artsits’ Book Award is coordinated by the SCU Next Art Gallery, 89 Magellan Street, Lismore, NSW, Australia.
Now in it’s 5th year this annual award provides Southern Cross University with an opportunity to continue to develop an artists’ book collection of national significance and in so doing also contribute to the development and awareness of artists’ books as an art form. Exhibition opening & announcement of acquisitions August 11 - exhibition continues to September 22.
Damp in Ditchwater has been selected for this exhibition.

Place, Identity and Memory – books made by artists
Opens 23 May to 28 June 2009, Gracefield Arts Centre, Dumfries, Scotland.
Then the exhibition tours libraries and other venues across Dumfries and Galloway, ending at Stranraer Museum, 55 George Street, Stranraer, DG9 7JP, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland between the 26th September – 31st October 2009, to coincide with the annual Literary Festival at nearby Wigtown, Scotland’s Book Town. This is a travelling exhibition by IRIS. The aim of IRIS is to develop Dumfries and Galloway as a recognised centre for book arts in Scotland and internationally.
Headroom and Damp in Ditchwater both feature in the exhibition and catalogue.

Scheduled to appear in the November-December issue of the Book Arts Newsletter No.31, UWE, Bristol, UK

Babylon Lexicon - New Orleans, 14-30 Nov. 2008
Damp in Ditchwater and Headroom will be on show at the New Orleans Bookfair - Babylon Lexicon. - Future Fantasteek! Issue No.5 will also be exhibited, at the same time, during the New Orleans Zine Fair.

Re: 2008 The Gallery, The University of Northampton, Monday 12th – Thursday 29th May 2008
New book - Reboot has just been completed and accepted for the exhibition Re: 2008, Damp in Ditchwater joins the exhibition as part of The Ministry of Books Show.
Venues:
  • The Gallery, The University of Northampton, Avenue Campus, Northampton, NN2 6JD, UK. 
  • Artworks MK, Milton Keynes, UK from 14th July–14th August;
  • Herefordshire College of Art – Summer 2008;
  • The Space Gallery, University of Portsmouth from 3rd-14th November 2008.
  • Quay Arts, Newport, Isle of Wight, UK