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Razor Blades & Dice

Razor Blades & Dice is a booklet of photographs which I have recently compiled to commemorate/memorialise my father Roy H Barter and his overwhelming compulsion to catalogue and archive. The death of my parents earlier this year has, not surprisingly, had a profound (and to be honest somewhat unexpected) effect on me. As well as many other things, it has led me to analyse and question the focus (but not necessarily the outcome or intention) of the THREE SCORE & 10: our days are numbered exhibition.

In order to try and explain my thought processes, with regard to the exhibition, I need to go back a bit: (remembering that 'everything happens for a reason')

For some time now, Year 2 members of The Stitchbook Collective have been engaged with a project, called 'Shall I Tell You a Secret'. This project looks, amongst other things, at a concept called Locard's Exchange Principle (every contact leaves a trace). In forensic terms, this means that the perpetrator of a crime will bring something into the crime scene and leave with something from it: an exchange of microscopic material. We looked at a piece of work by Textile Artist, Ali Ferguson called 'HiStories Uncovered' which takes this concept one step further and suggests that an emotional trace is also exchanged when you touch an item.

I have a very strong memory of once seeing an exhibition of Leonardo Da Vinci's notebooks, and being overwhelmed by the potential of the closeness of contact between us.

As you know, my original focus for 'THREE SCORE & 10: our days are numbered' was the structure of DNA (which was discovered 70 years ago, in 1953), but even in my blog dated 16 January 'The Shape of Chromosomes' I was worried that 'the double helix structure has proved too regular for my mind to settle comfortably.'

Those worries have continued to multiply, and I have become more enthusiastic about focussing the exhibition towards representing emotional and psychological connections, and not physical shapes. The DNA soft sculpture which members of The Stitchbook Collective are currently working on will, hopefully, have an imposing physical presence, but I'm now certain that a huge part of it's relevance will be due to the collaborative nature of its construction: the 100+ different pairs of hands which have made it, the 100+ people who have connected with it physically and emotionally. If every contact leaves a trace: it will ultimately contain the 'trace' of thousands of interactions.

The Structure of DNA may have offered me 'scaffolding to hang ideas on', but I do not really want to be celebrating the physicality of that structure. If that was the case I might just as well construct a scientific model, akin to a High School classroom project ...

I am interested in investigating a visual interpretation of the process and results of exchanging emotional AND physical traces ... perception, cognition, intelligence, subjective experience, motivation, personality ... connection, memory, heredity ...

Now I might really be getting somewhere!

I would like to acknowledge that the start of this year may have made me panic and jump the gun with the proposal to Kettle's Yard. I'm not saying that I wouldn't have made a great fist of it has they accepted my proposal, but actually I believe that their rejection, and my response to it, will have been hugely beneficial to the project in the long run. I do wonder if emotionally, I felt that I had to go down the Cambridge route, in order to assuage some misgivings from 2009, but the freedom from that thought, and the freedom from other personal matters has led me to this ...

September marks a change of season, and a huge mood shift for me. I am regaining focus at last. Thank you, as always for still being here! x x x

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