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The Museum of Small Remains

Posted by Kristina Veasey, Thursday 3rd May, 2012

Line of spot-lit wooden boxes with peep holes

The Museum of Small Remains is the multi-sensory art installation created by The Orpheus Centre as part of Campaign! Campaign! Is a project working with young disabled people throughout the South East to build campaigns that raise awareness about issues affecting young disabled people. Campaign! Is part of Create Compete Collaborate and is delivered by Creative Junction as part of the Accentuate programme. Students initially posed the question, ‘What’s stopping you?’ and the Museum of Small remains grew out of the answers and subsequent questions this provoked.

Set in darkness, The Museum houses a line of 20 spot-lit, wooden boxes, with peep holes that invite you to look inside. Each box is accompanied by a feely bag and several have headphones playing original music composed by the students. The models and collage inside the boxes tell a story described by Creative Junction as, ‘ the building of a new civilization which is then torn apart by rejection and the inability to accept difference.’ My overriding memory is of a broken baby-making machine, a gruesome and bloody war, and being taken through a whole range of emotions.

I had the pleasure of speaking to some of the students who had participated in the project. All were very excited to have finally seen all the component parts assembled together for the first time, a culmination of 10 weeks work. The students had worked with visual artist Lisa Ducie and musician Tom Arnold. All the students raved about the fun they’d had developing this project. One student told me he had made so many little baby figures for his box, he was even dreaming about them! Another shared with me the lyrics to the song she wrote, and sang for us whilst we sat in the sun on the lawn.

The young people who have created this piece of art now want to share the experience with as many people as possible and to keep posing their initial question and gathering answers. There was talk during my visit of ways to make the installation even more accessible, and of taking it out into the community. It would serve as an excellent, interactive springboard, initiating discussion around the barriers and rejection faced by different people. I do hope they get the funding they need to pursue this!

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