Jeremy Millar takes ghostly A Scale of Time to Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon

By Culture24 Reporter | 15 March 2012
A photo of a ghostly figure in a dimly lit room
© Photo: Alex Caminada
Installation: A Scale of Time, Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon, Barnstaple, until April 27 2012

In 1845, a Literary and Scientific Institution was founded in Barnstaple on the very site where the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon now stands.

Inspired by the scientific instruments, models and curious, unidentified objects left behind by the building’s inquisitive ancestors, Jeremy Millar has made a 20-minute film, shot in the attic space of the factory building of local manufacturing powerhouse Shapland and Petter.

He asked students from a local college to ghost around the space, then set their measured movements to a musical score written by composer and regular collaborator Sophie Sirota.

“The actions of the performers are at once both simple and ambiguous,” says Millar, describing a work which is part of a wider exhibition, And Curiouser, at the museum.

“They are a series of stylised movements that seem to mark out space or time, even if their purpose is not immediately obvious.

“In their repetition and care, however, there is the sense of enquiry, and the patient gathering of knowledge or data which might lead to a greater understanding of the world around us and our place within it.”

Millar has had high profile shows in the UK and remains a tutor at the Royal College of Art and an associate artist at Kettle’s Yard. But he still lives in Whitstable, and this project is part of a programme to encourage alliances between contemporary artists and museums in the south-west.

“I hope that the combination of definite enquiry and uncertain discoveries will create a work that is theatrical, unusual, and instills a sense of curiosity rather than demands for an explanation,” he adds.

  • Open 10am-5pm (closed Sunday). Admission free.
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