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A Working Model

By  Jo Ray 2015
Whilst researching the design of early submarines during a residency in Barrow-in-Furness, I came across an article from Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia (1910) called ‘Toys Made of Eggshells’ which included instructions for a working model of a submarine. As part of my Phd research, as a means of speculating on the transmission of knowledge via the model, and the notion of ‘expertise’ I attempted on numerous occasions to follow the instructions. These are rather oblique, making reference to products of that time, now no longer available, and presume certain knowledge levels. I failed to make a working model of a submarine. Following this, an invitation was sent to ten people: ‘[...] attempt to make ‘A working model of a submarine’ following the original instructions [...] I’m inviting participation from a range of people [...] from whom I have tried to learn something.’ The resulting models and recordings of their accounts production constitute the final work, which represents an intersection of model-types and model-use; the model as an example to follow or imitate (the original Instructions, the participants and the new instructions the evolved through doing) the model as a system or procedure (the art work structure) the model as a small scale representation - the egg submarines. The video work documents their hand gestures as they describe to me their processes and how they solved the problems they met in making their model. The audio is removed, and the transcript may be used in future iterations. The video is shown alongside the model submarines and the original instructions.
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