Saturday, August 21, 2010

Forgotten Knowledge Project on display at the PNE

Container Art at the PNE
Container Art at the PNE by jmv

Last year one of my personal highlights of the PNE was an innovative display of art in a series of shipping containers. This year is the PNE's 100th anniversary, and I'm pleased to say that the Container Art has returned. One of the featured artists just so happens to be a friend of mine, artist and photographer Rachael Ashe. Rachael has put together an extra special treat for the cultured bibliophile, transforming an entire encyclopedia set into a large scale work of art.

Rachael described the process on her blog as she prepared for the installation of the project at the PNE. Below are a few excerpts from her blog:
In June I began working on a large scale book project tentatively titled, Forgotten Knowledge. I'm working with twenty-five volumes of a set of Funk & Wagnalls encyclopedias I found discarded in our old laundry room. I intend to combine each one of these with objects I have collected from nature. The inspiration behind this work is the idea that knowledge can be lost or forgotten when people no longer value it. The encyclopedias represent the sum of human knowledge contained in written form, while the found objects represent information about the natural world.  (posted 2010-06-30)
Forgotten Knowledge, the completed set of 25
Forgotten Knowledge, the completed set of 25 by Rachael Ashe.

Earlier this month, she successfully completed the project, and proudly displayed the entire volumes on the dining room table. She writes: "While there are about a million ways for these to be displayed, for the purposes of the Container Art space they will be hung on the wall fully open." (posted 2010-08-09)

Paper Flowers
Paper Flowers by Rachael Ashe.

For those making the pilgrimage out to the Pacific National Exhibition this year, do make a point of visiting the Container Art exhibit. It runs for the entire 2 weeks of the PNE, and access to the Container Art exhibit is included in your PNE ticket price. And in case the work brings back volumes of memories of your own experiences with encyclopedic study, feel free to share your response. Rachael openly invites your reactions to the show via blog post, twitter, facebook, flickr, and beyond. I have a hunch this particular encyclopedia set still has much to teach us.

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