Old Salt, 2021

Old Salt (20 May-23 August 2021 at The Collection, Lincoln) features a new 16-channel immersive soundscape and display of objects and text-based artwork. Co-commissioned by The Collection and Mansions of the Future, the research-led project has been inspired by the my site visits to Lincoln, during which time I have been researching Lincolnshire’s unique geography and landscape with archaeologist Tom Lane, meeting local people and exploring the Museum’s rich archives.

Central to the project’s inception was the my introduction to a collection of briquetage (the ceramic equipment used in saltmaking) some of which was excavated as part of The Fenland Project (1982- 95) which is held within the Museum’s collection. The coarse ceramic material was used in the Prehistoric and Roman periods to make and support evaporation vessels for extracting salt from seawater along the Lincolnshire coast. I have been inspired by the labour, trade routes and communities these objects represent as well as our individual relationship to salt as an everyday and often overlooked mineral, which can be found in our body, on our plate and in the sea.

Interested in our lived experience and personal relationships to salt, the soundscape will develop through conversations with Tom Lane and participants who joined the project following an open invitation to volunteers working across Lincolnshire County Council’s Heritage Service volunteer community and with Mansions of the Future.

Guided by my own interest in saltmaking I will present a text-based artwork further inspired by my research. Designed to replicate the dimensions of the 1215 Magna Carta the work has been produced as a limited edition of four, corresponding to the number of surviving copies of this historic document, one of which can be seen at Lincoln Castle. The printed artwork will be accessioned into the Museum’s collection alongside a salt crystal retrieved in 2009 during my swim in the dead sea which is also on display as part of the presentation of Old Salt.

With special thanks to Tom Lane, volunteers Fiona Gillespie, Olivia Hennessy, Ann Stafford, Jo Tolley, Kay Veitch and Cherry Wright, The Collection’s Senior Collections Development Officer Dawn Heywood as well as Tommie Introna (Black Shuck Cooperative), Bradley Oliver-Lovell and David McSherry for assistance on the audio work, graphic designer Charlie Newhouse, Clare Cumberlidge, and staff at The Collection and Mansions of the Future.

Old Salt will run at The Collection 20 May - 23 August 2021 (Thursday – Monday, 10-4pm. Closed on Tuesday and Wednesdays)