UGLyD, John Hansard Gallery Exhibition Database (2016-2018)

Event_Exhibition, UGLyD Digital Archival project

Unconsumable Global Luxury Dispersion

Unconsumable Global Luxury Dispersion (UGLyD) is a long-term project that comments on the distribution of art and other consumer goods through online as well as gallery based networks. It plays with the flow of things and how our categorisations of humans, objects and other things define access and visibility. In this project I use an exhibition history and its artwork titles as the material to work with. The UGLyD project often creates hybrid or symbiotic objects that seek out new ways to disperse. For example, through a font, a tape, a database. A text introducing the terms unconsumable, global, luxury and dispersion can be found here.

John Hansard Gallery Exhibition Database (2016-2018)

In collaboration with the John Hansard Gallery, I have aggregated more than 5000 artwork titles from artworks exhibited in the gallery at the Highfield Campus from the first exhibition in 1980 till the last in 2016. After this date the JHG prepared to move to their newly build city centre gallery. The data gathering and research was commissioned by the Hansard Gallery and supported by the Arts Council England.
Collaborating with the gallery staff and spending lots of hours going through paper filled boxes, we managed to create an (almost) complete set of data of the gallery’s exhibition history from 1979 to 2016. Based on this material, I have created a relational database bringing together all the meta-data of exhibitions, exhibited artworks and artists.

Research to create the database

 

The first stage of the work consisted of a data gathering and research period in collaboration with the gallery staff. Depending on the material of the archive we devided it in three blocks. We started with all the meta-data of exhibitions that was already in digital form. From gallery website, PR texts, gallery guides to list of works. Digital data covered the  exhibitions from around 2002 to April 2016. Going back in time we found mixed digital and paper based data from exhibitions between 1995 and 2002. Material in the archive before 1995 was all paper based. Sometimes a ‘definite’ list of works of a particular exhibition was difficult to find. In those cases we might have used hand written notes from the curator or reconstruct a list of works from the condition rapports or list of works send to the insurance.

A relational database was created to be able to view not only the data from each exhibition but also to link the data from all exhibitions, artworks and artists to create a searchable exhibition history. The database was constructed in three main tables:

The Exhibition table:
Datafields: _Exhid, Exhibition Year, Date From, Date Till, Exhibition_Title, Artist, Artist_Id, Organisational Info.

The Art table:
Datafields:_Artid, _Artistid, Artist_Maker_Author, Art_Title, Date_Text, Details_Label, _Exhid.

The Artist table:
Datafields:_Artistid, Artist_Nameonlabel, Artist_Last_First, Artistnamefirst, Artistnamelast, Artist_Yearofbirth, Artist_Countryofbirth, Artist_Country, Artist_Gender, Artist_Website, Artist_Bio. The names are complete but other data, from Year of Birth to Artist Bio, are not entered because of time restrains.

The searchable database will be available in the gallery and for the opening exhibition Time After Time I am making different visualisations and a simulation of an exhibition history. To support further research the exhibition data will be made available online on GitHub where you can also find exhibition data from Tate (UK) and MoMA (US).
See: Data depository https://github.com

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