Sarah Campbell,

Curator, Central Saint Martins Museum & Study Collection

W. R. Lethaby. Marble Chimney Piece

The Central Saint Martins Museum & Study Collection has a wide range of art and design work telling the rich history of the college. It holds contemporary as well as historic items and is frequently used in teaching.

For Annihilation, Naomi Dines and John Wollaston have been looking at one of our oldest items, a Portolan Chart from the 1570s. The map is drawn on vellum, a material particularly reactive to changes in temperature and humidity, which can cause it to change its already undulating shape. To reduce the effect of this Naomi and John turned our store room into a photogrammetry studio, recording the physical object as well as the time and place depicted on the map. Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) was also carried out by Thomas Allison.

Viewing the map through then lenses of photogrammetry and RTI is particularly interesting in relation to how we use our collection. Object Based Learning is a focus of our teaching, where we encouragestudents to be hands- with artefacts and see how they can relate to their practice. Within this we always stress the importance of a student’s own interpretation and ideas about an object, and this technology adds another layer to our historical understanding and how it can be enlivened and made relevant to contemporary practice.

During Annihilation our Museum window will feature a display born out of a special Object Based Learning sessions run with Liz Wright’s Fine Art students. They were given a selection of tool-themed objects to describe to describe, make deductions from, and speculate about. This, along with RTI images of the objects will be on show, turning the objects into tools of the wider Annihilation project.