Cast Courts, Gallery 46 A, captured from the Victoria and Albert Museum's film
First opened in 1873, the Cast Courts were built to exhibit one of the most comprehensive collections of casts of post-classical European sculpture. The gallery houses the V&A’s largest objects and is among the most popular in the Museum. The Cast Courts have often been a source of controversy during the 14o-odd years of their history, not least because of an earlier reaction against copying original works of art. Now, however, the interest of the collection as a whole has come to be fully appreciated.
Plaster Cast, Trajan’s Column; being casted at the V&A. 113 (made). 1864 (cast)
There are two reasons for adopting the architectural casts as the object of my practice, the first of which follows from the twofold meaning of the Cast Courts. Each cast is simultaneously an object and an environment. Unlike sculpture, the architectural casts belonged at one time to a specific place. Detached from their original site, the casts are now rooted in a new context at the V&A. I was attracted to this dual identity as a contextual object-site that precisely accords with my concept.
A second reason for this undertaking is that the Cast Courts’ collections are not originals, but reproductions, prompting diverse reactions. It is interesting that, in a few cases, the original has been destroyed and the cast is a unique record of a lost work. This issue of copy versus original is significant in digital media, given that the notion of originality does not strictly exist in the digital realm, as everything can be transformed into everything else by editing binary code. However, projection mapping entails a somewhat different ontology; despite its digital nature, it exists only when incorporated with its environment, lending it a situational originality. It is also distinct from the traditional notion of aura. When the unique ontologies of projection mapping and the Cast Courts come together, the results promise to be inspiring.
My intention is to create a digital moving-image and project it onto the surface of the architectural cast. The process of execution would include in-depth research on the selected cast. In so doing, my practice will not only reinterpret the notion of reproduction but will also reinvigorate the contextual meaning of the cast by formulating it as an active environment rather than an object, through which the audience can navigate.
for more information about the Cast Courts, visit >> V&A Cast Couts site
Conceptual diagram for CASTING
system setup process
mapping the Trajan's Column.
INSTALLATION PROCESS at the CAST COURTS, GALLERY 46 A