Installation Ideas – Objects – School Desk

When I first thought about this idea, I had originally wanted to make a film installation.  I thought about trying to make a large scale Newton’s Cradle which people would be able to move themselves and be part of the work and the film of the plimsolls etc would be projected toward it. However, I soon realized this would be extremely difficult task to undertake on my own. I then decided that I would simply produce a film piece which could be projected onto a white wall.  This did not sit well with me, as I enjoy using objects as well as film.  I felt that the use of physical elements would present more of an opportunity to evoke involuntary autobiographical memory within the viewer.

I started to think about my old school days and remembered the old wooden school desks with the lift-up lids.  After considering this further I thought that I could use the lid as a screen to project the film onto.  If I could remember these old desks, I was fairly certain that this would probably be a shared experience/memory with others.

Fortunately, I managed to source a school desk locally from ebay and I was extremely pleased with it.  As with most old school desks, there was doodles and marks etched into the wood.  I did not want to remove this as I felt it added to the authenticity, history and originality of the piece.  Furthermore, I find it quite interesting why people feel the need to make their mark on objects.

School desk. Image available at:
School desk. Image available at:

Several months earlier, I had had a discussion with my tutor Edith Doove while undertaking my CURA301 project.  I was discussing scarification and Edith had mentioned a cathedral she had visited where tombs (from what I remember) had been etched into over the centuries with peoples names and dates (unfortunately I could not find an image to demonstrate this).  It would seem that mark making is humankind’s “defining language instinct” and a “fundamental human activity” (The Devon Guild of Craftsmen, 2013)  Perhaps we scribble as a child to work out the world around us – much like the early humans did while drawing their experiences on cave walls (Ibid). I also feel that to write one’s own name or mark (if too young or illiterate to write) could perhaps be a way of establishing your place within society or to reiterate a sense of recognition, belonging or self worth. I think these ideas work well as part of my project because I think that some children (or adults) can find it difficult to find their place within a peer group or society.  Adolescence can be a particularly confusing time in establishing who you really are as a person.


The Devon Guild of Craftsmen, (2013). [online] Available at: [Accessed 4 Jun. 2014].


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