In 2013 the Science Museum in London invited me to create an installation for their new Information Age Gallery. The gallery was a history of electronic communication and the area I worked on was the earliest part of european explorations - morse code, the electric telegraph, monks electrocuting other monks.
The exhibition was officially opened by the Queen in autumn 2014.
I made a collection of animations, a toy theatre powered by compressed air, mechanical puppet peep-shows, maps, paintings, and a victorian sampler (my mum stitched it). I got to work with a lot of interesting artists to help me make this work, including Tim Hunkin, Tim Spooner, and Dominque Brethes at Wolf Studios.
Here are my video diaries:
This was the first time I had done a project based on real life people and events so I had to find some stories that fitted in with how I like to tell my own stories (because I couldn't just make things up). Luckily there were a lot of stories that involved murder, stupidity, animals and love so I had enough source material to work with. I also learned that "bugger" is not a suitable word to include in song lyrics at a museum, and I wasn't able to prove that Jesus did or did not send a telegram, so we replaced him with Mozart (who probably didn't).
The most complicated piece I made is a big mechanical toy theatre powered by compressed air. I got a lot of help building this (and making it all move) from Tim Hunkin, one of my favourite artists when I was younger (and now). I got to work with Tim again a few years later when he helped me make a mechanical sculpture for my adaption of The Iron Man at the Unicorn Theatre (have a look here).
I wrote a 7 minute mini musical for the puppets in the theatre to perform, focussing on 4 stories from the invention of electronic communication - from a French Abbe's early explorations into an electronic signal passing through a chain of monks, to the first (almost) instant communication across the Atlantic Ocean. I recorded the song with some of my band (Chicco Aurigemma, Will Connor, Simon Marshall, Amelia Jones and Carina Drury) and The Chaps Choir sang backing vocals.
If you're looking for something extra to de-code I added references to 3 of my favourite films in the cut-out paper crest at the top of the theatre.
Here are some photos of the toy theatre and also some photos of us all working on it:
Other pieces include a map of the world with an animation projected over it detailing all the voyages of the ships that laid communication cables, animations about mis