Embodied Viewing: Peepshows, Panoramas, Magic lanterns and Victorian Optical Devicesfellowship
Lea Anderson is an independent choreographer, filmmaker and artistic director and has worked on hundreds of different collaborations throughout her career. She has a special interest in working with museums and collections, and is particularly focused on
ways to present objects and ideas in new and engaging ways. Although a choreographer her concerns are not solely with dance. She is interested in the choreography
of objects and their hierarchical place in our lives.
For her fellowship Lea will be based at the Bill Douglas Cinema on our Streatham Campus. The museum is home to one of the
largest collections of material relating to the moving image in Britain. It is
both an accredited public museum and a research facility and holds a collection
of over 80,000 items, including artefacts dating from the
seventeenth century to the present day, covering all aspects of cinema,
pre-cinema and the history of the moving image.
Lea will be working with Professor John Plunkett and Professor Joe Kember on their research which focuses on demonstrating the exhibition of visual and optical media in the period 1820-1920, particularly the different performance and exhibition strategies of the peepshow and other lens-based devices. The fellowship will offer up new ways of understanding this museum material and enrich the educational work that takes place there.
Lea said 'As part of this fellowship I will be immersing myself in this
enormous collection of visual phenomena, and forcing myself to concentrate on
just one thing as an outcome. This is going to be tricky. I will have to make a
short list soon.
When working with museums and other institutions I have found that although I enter the relationship full of ideas and big plans, I cannot ever truly understand the values, purpose and the potential of the project until I actually am installed and understand how the institution functions. It is important to me that there is a genuine exchange of ideas, that the work we create could not have happened anywhere else.
This fellowship is a refreshing
opportunity to find new ways into a subject in collaboration with open-minded
people and I am excited to discover what each discipline (artist and academic)
can offer each other. Artists need more spaces like this!'
Professor John Plunkett said 'Lea will contribute to ongoing research on the different performance practises
and audience experiences of formats such as the peepshow, panorama and ghost
show, or devices such as the kaleidoscope, and how they might connect to
contemporary experiences of digital media. Many of the museum’s artefacts
concern present challenges to conventional academic research because they
concern ‘live’ performances that have only left minimal records. Lea's work has often mixed high and popular culture, as well as different media, and,
as a choreographer, is profoundly concerned with capturing and documenting
movement. As Arts and Culture Fellow, she will help to recover the world of
visual exhibitions and picture-going in the nineteenth-century, and will offer
up new ways of understanding the museum’s collections.'
Follow Lea on Instagram @squeakingshoe and @leaandersoncholmondelyes
Follow the Bill Douglas Cinema on Twitter @bdcmuseum and Instagram @bdcmuseum
Above image: Los Amores de Marte Y Venus, a commission from Danza Contemporanea de Cuba 2018. Image courtesy of Lea Anderson.