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Press release: Timekeeper in Residence

What does the museum timeline have to do with the novel Tristram Shandy? Why does Botox make time go faster? Is evolution really a march of progress? Why did the Ancients think the future is behind them? And why doesn’t the universe all tick to the same clock?

Timekeeper in Residence

These are just some of the questions to be explored in a new creative research project at The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology based at University College London. Supported with a new award from the Arts Humanities Research Council, artist-curator Cathy Haynes as Timekeeper in Residence will explore how time is mapped, measured, modeled and lived. Museums have traditionally used linear time concepts, such as chronological timelines, as a way of organizing their collections. This will be challenged in a series of public conversations between the Timekeeper as researcher and a variety of experts from astronomy to psychology, evolutionary genetics, theology, art history and philosophy.

Each conversation focuses on objects that give different experiences of time, from an ancient shadow clock in the Petrie’s collection to Facebook’s timeline format to a newspaper horoscope, encouraging debate on how competing time concepts can be used in museum presentation to present different philosophies, beliefs, realities and ideas. This in turn will challenge the way museums display their collections and offer new paths to explore.

The Museum's curator, Prof. Stephen Quirke, explains that, "with his 'Sequence Dates' for prehistoric objects, and with his meticulous typologies of whole ranges of artefacts, Petrie was applying, even creating, frames of time still dominant today. He delivered a useful, strong order for archaeology, but one that entrenches assumptions about evolution, progress, and the decline of one ancient world in the face of another. Through this new project, the Petrie Museum is reworking that legacy in ways that respond to the present and future challenges we all face."

The public discussions will take place this Spring in the Museum. Speakers include philosopher and author of Driving with Plato Robert Rowland Smith, public astronomer Marek Kukula from the Royal Observatory Greenwich, and evolutionary geneticist Professor Mark Thomas. The project will continue with creative workshops led by the Timekeeper offering museum visitors the chance to create better representations of how we live and understand time through mapping and modelling. The research project will culminate in an exhibition offering new approaches to thinking about time, informing how museums might help forge alternative models that improve the tools we have to navigate our collective future. This will also feed into a research paper for wider dissemination.

The Petrie’s Museum manager Tonya Nelson says, “The Petrie is privileged to have this opportunity to literally reinvent time and play around with ideas of how we traditionally present objects in museums with this chance of a more innovative and creative Timekeeper residency.” Artist-curator Cathy Haynes says, “What museums tell us about our past shapes our ideas about what is possible for us in the future. The Petrie Museum has an exciting vision of how it might contribute to our collective understanding of time. I’m thrilled to be its Timekeeper in residence, leading this creative research project involving as many perspectives as possible to explore better models to understand the past and navigate the future.” (www.cathyhaynes.org)

What does the museum timeline have to do with the novel Tristram Shandy? Why does Botox make time go faster? Is evolution really a march of progress? Why did the Ancients think the future is behind them? And why doesn’t the universe all tick to the same clock?

These are just some of the questions to be explored in a new creative research project at The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology based at University College London. Supported with a new award from the Arts Humanities Research Council, artist-curator Cathy Haynes as Timekeeper in Residence will explore how time is mapped, measured, modeled and lived. Museums have traditionally used linear time concepts, such as chronological timelines, as a way of organizing their collections. This will be challenged in a series of public conversations between the Timekeeper as researcher and a variety of experts from astronomy to psychology, evolutionary genetics, theology, art history and philosophy.

Each conversation focuses on objects that give different experiences of time, from an ancient shadow clock in the Petrie’s collection to Facebook’s timeline format to a newspaper horoscope, encouraging debate on how competing time concepts can be used in museum presentation to present different philosophies, beliefs, realities and ideas. This in turn will challenge the way museums display their collections and offer new paths to explore.

The Museum's curator, Prof. Stephen Quirke, explains that, "with his 'Sequence Dates' for prehistoric objects, and with his meticulous typologies of whole ranges of artefacts, Petrie was applying, even creating, frames of time still dominant today. He delivered a useful, strong order for archaeology, but one that entrenches assumptions about evolution, progress, and the decline of one ancient world in the face of another. Through this new project, the Petrie Museum is reworking that legacy in ways that respond to the present and future challenges we all face."

The public discussions will take place this Spring in the Museum. Speakers include philosopher and author of Driving with Plato Robert Rowland Smith, public astronomer Marek Kukula from the Royal Observatory Greenwich, and evolutionary geneticist Professor Mark Thomas. The project will continue with creative workshops led by the Timekeeper offering museum visitors the chance to create better representations of how we live and understand time through mapping and modelling. The research project will culminate in an exhibition offering new approaches to thinking about time, informing how museums might help forge alternative models that improve the tools we have to navigate our collective future. This will also feed into a research paper for wider dissemination.

The Petrie’s Museum manager Tonya Nelson says, “The Petrie is privileged to have this opportunity to literally reinvent time and play around with ideas of how we traditionally present objects in museums with this chance of a more innovative and creative Timekeeper residency.”

Artist-curator Cathy Haynes says, “What museums tell us about our past shapes our ideas about what is possible for us in the future.

The Petrie Museum has an exciting vision of how it might contribute to our collective understanding of time. I’m thrilled to be its Timekeeper in residence, leading this creative research project involving as many perspectives as possible to explore better models to understand the past and navigate the future.” (Go to Cathy Haynes website : www.cathyhaynes.org)

Page last modified on 06 mar 13 15:08