Project 12 GOW at GNM
30th July- 31st October 2011

Dawn Felicia Knox

Artefacts of a Return:

A distillation of Returning to the Philosophers’ Table

Many of the objects in the Great North Museum: Hancock – the wombat, the mummies and the paleobotany specimens to name a few – were gifted to the Literary and Philosophical Society Newcastle. In the 1800’s the Society was the centre for discovery in the North East, the place where objects from the far reaches of the globe were brought to be observed, assessed and classified. The mummy, Irt Yru, was unwrapped on that table. From the Society and the men around the table came great innovations such as the steam engine and the first light bulb.

Returning to the Philosophers’ Table was an interdisciplinary art project which set out to evoke that time of innovation and wonder. During the project artists collaborated with scientists to research and then respond to the objects Project creator and lead artist, Dawn Felicia Knox, documented the project as it unfolded. She was drawn to the acts of making, investigating and interpreting as was done by both artists and scientist. The parallels in rigour and, at times approach, were striking. She began to amass implements used in both endeavours. This cabinet is a distillation of the project utilising what she had documented and collected.

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This project was funded by the Arts Council England.