Heavy Water In Conversation at the Graves Gallery, Sheffield

Joanna Whittle, Maud Haya-Baviera and Victoria Lucas ( left to right) In Conversation at Graves Gallery, Sheffield

PostNatures installation view showing the Heavy Water Collective Vitrine in front of JMW Turner’s painting The Festival of the Opening of the Vintage at Mâcon

Introducing Heavy Water Collective practice and Launching the Heavy Water Digital Archive

An evening of shar­ing prac­tice meth­ods and method­olo­gies of the Heavy Water Col­lec­tive at the Graves Gallery. Explor­ing Heavy Water Col­lec­tive items dis­played with­in the vit­rine, embed­ded with POst­Na­tures, curat­ed by Vic­to­ria Lucas: 

With­in the vit­rine, Maud Haya-Baviera, Vic­to­ria Lucas and Joan­na Whit­tle’s artis­tic respons­es to items found in Cardiff Uni­ver­si­ty Spe­cial Col­lec­tions are posi­tioned along­side objects relat­ing to the his­to­ries found in Sheffield Gen­er­al Ceme­tery. The web­site devised with Stu­dio AW_AR builds on this process of reassem­bling and con­nect­ing, cre­at­ing an order­ing sys­tem based on the geo­graph­i­cal loca­tion of the objects dis­cov­ered rather than rely­ing on the clas­si­fi­ca­tion sys­tems in which they are indi­vid­u­al­ly embed­ded. Through these geo­graph­i­cal mark­ers, we are able to read the his­to­ries of the land through the com­ing togeth­er of objects and texts, grave­stones and sym­bols. The his­to­ry of a site in this sense is read as an archive of that place, and vice ver­sa. Through locat­ing mate­r­i­al his­to­ries, the Heavy Water Col­lec­tive embed them­selves con­cep­tu­al­ly in the British land­scape.” (Vic­to­ria Lucas) 

Our col­lec­tive is dis­rupt­ing tra­di­tion­al archival mod­els and cre­ates new trans­ferrable method­ol­o­gy for curat­ing exhi­bi­tions and ways of engag­ing with both archives and col­lec­tions. The out­comes of our research are locat­ed on our web­site, which works as an online archive for our research projects. This mate­r­i­al is open to pub­lic access, and is an edu­ca­tion­al and dis­sem­i­na­tion tool we have used dur­ing pub­lic engage­ment events and work­shops. Our web­site is also a tool enabling us, archives and col­lec­tions to reimag­ine and re-think what archives’ data­bas­es and search engines might look like.” (Maud Haya- Baviera) 

” This dig­i­tal archive is pop­u­lat­ed by details of research sites; research meth­ods and method­olo­gies and the arte­facts and art­works them­selves. These are cat­e­gorised with Acces­sion Num­bers relat­ing to sites, cre­ators and the col­lec­tions with­in which they reside. This cat­e­gori­sa­tion allows the arte­facts to exist phys­i­cal­ly, dig­i­tal­ly and con­cep­tu­al­ly. The archive also posits each site and arte­fact geo­graph­i­cal­ly through active map­ping show­ing the inter­re­la­tions between site, research and object. This map, along­side archival items, will con­tin­ue to be pop­u­lat­ed, grow­ing con­nec­tions between future and cur­rent active sites of research. The dig­i­tal archive is live and acces­si­ble as an active resource rather than as a pre­sen­ta­tion of accom­plish­ments which only serve to mark an end point.” (Joan­na Whittle) 

Victoria Lucas, Maud Haya- Baviera and Joanna Whittle (left to right)  at PostNatures, Graves Gallery (Sheffield)  in 2023, standing  behind the Heavy Water Collective vitrine and before  JMW Turner’s painting The Festival of the Opening of the Vintage at Mâcon

Heavy Water Collective vitrine, showing  Maud Haya-Baviera's Beyond the woods, The Village Where He Came From and The Darling One; Victoria Lucas' Cave Womb (detail) and Witches' Ladder and Joanna Whittle's Postcard depicting Hollow Flame, lit on 8th January 1916

The Heavy Water Collective Vitrine showing the work of Victoria Lucas' Self-Destructive Acts (2023) and Joanna Whittle's Kippfiguren/Talismen (2023)

Heavy water Collective Vitrine showing the work of Victoria Lucas