Brooches: Story exchange catalysts
The brooches pictured belong to a series of over 100, made for The Campaign for Objects in Purgatory. They were given to contributors to the Objects in Purgatory exhibition (Sheffield Institute of Arts Gallery 2011) in exchange for contributing their story or drawing of an uncherished gift. The project has been initiated and developed by designer Julia Keyte.
Each brooch contains a photograph of an uncherished gift submitted by an earlier contributor. They are all different. When we gave a contributor a brooch, we also told them the story of the object it contained, and it was interesting to see people responding to the stories with empathy. The brooches gave a 'voice' to the uncherished gifts, and they became catalysts in the collection of further objects and stories. They harnessed the unique capacity for jewellery to project a message, and helped engage people in the dialogue surrounding the exhibition.
The Campaign for Objects in Purgatory and the exchange brooches are the foundation for developing creative methods employing performative artefacts, as catalysts for data collection, and as a means of engaging the public in academic research.
The brooches were made by hand, from embossed cartridge paper, wax and a dress-making pin. Whilst the materials are of little apparent worth, the brooches embody an obvious investment of labour, creating a contradiction in value and a dilemma for the recipient. Should you keep it, and care for it?