Julia Flatman, Senior Associate Lecturer, School of Visual Arts
Museums have the authority to tell us what is fact and what is fiction, and the public is very much required to trust what is presented to them. I was inspired by scientific records from the 18th century (pre-digital recording), which were always based on personal observation despite being presented in museums as flawless fact. The style of presentation I’ve used aims to mimic fact while the materials and content reveal invention. It is a comment on the fallibility of history; it aims to subtly and humorously undermine the authority of a museum by presenting a fictional yet believable creature.
The museum itself provides an atmosphere of authenticity and value to the objects it houses. These official truths are often unchallenged or contested. The artefacts within seek to demonstrate both ethnographic and anthropological understanding. By selecting a variety of genuine Museum artefacts I sought to construct contemporary equivalents using the same devices of labelling and display to confer authenticity.