27 May – 1 July 2011
The current Reception class cohort from the school next door to Art House Foundation have agreed to learn a short text, written for them by the artist, throughout their seven years of primary education. The text describes the children’s materialisation into an object. The artist will return to the school in 2017, their graduation year, to witness the class recite the text from memory. She has provided each of the children with a limited edition script to use as a memory aid during the process of learning. The script is set in Albertus, an inscriptional typeface with letterforms that physiologically aid the recall of the information they signify. The script was produced using letterpress printing, a form of relief printing in which a reversed, raised and movable type, is inked and then pressed into a sheet of paper to obtain a positive right-reading image.
Research shows that the human brain changes when a new cognitive skill, including vocabulary and speech sounds, are learned . The artist will have no control over the children’s process of learning or understanding. Neither will she have any contact with the children until she returns in seven years and no way of knowing how the cohort’s developing comprehension of the task will affect their desire to participate.
The letterpress forme used to print the scripts is on display at Art House Foundation. Following the exhibition, it will be de-assembled and returned to the print workshop. The drawing depicts a silhouette of the reception class just prior to receiving their scripts. The artist will re-mark the drawing twelve times annually until her return to the school. This practice reflects the minimum amount of times the children have agreed to learn the script for each year until the project is completed in 2017.
The work in the exhibition announces the beginning of the children’s endeavour and indicates that much of the process that creates the piece happens beyond the gallery, within the children themselves.
With thanks to Europa and Charlie Abbott for designing the script, James Edgar, Printmaking Technician at Camberwell College of Art for use of facilities and loan of letterpress forme and James Langdon for typography advice.
We, the object, 2011 – 2017. 30 children, Letterpress forme, printed script, pencil on watercolour paper. Dimensions variable.