Rehearsing Memory, Belton 2015
Moving image installation, film installation, audio walk and printed piece, 2015
A project with artist Belen Cerezo, commissioned by Belton House for Trust New Art.
Commissioned for the centenary of the establishing of a machine gun training camp on Belton Park, Rehearsing Memory, Belton 2015 explores the different ways we commemorate the complex histories and stories of the Machine Gun Corps (MGC), here in the present. In contrast with traditional monumental commemorations, this project proposed that commemoration is an ongoing and active process and used a reflective, exploratory approach to address the context of the MGC and how it is remembered by Belton’s community. Rehearsing Memory, Belton 2015 is composed of four 'parts', including a film essay and an audio walk, that are presented in different spaces at Belton House, the parkland and beyond.
We worked with staff, volunteers and the public within the wide programme of events (archaeological digs, talks, exhibitions, archival research and re-enactments) that took place at Belton House during summer 2015. Each of the parts functions on its own as well as forming part of a whole, that encourages new reflections on the scale of the camp, the complexity of training for, and the role of memory in imagining the future and the part that Belton park plays in storing memories. We kept in mind Benjamin's critical discourse on the relationship between history, images and the practice of montage. For him, the past is something present and important for the future and artworks can provide glimpses of alternative futures by the juxtaposition of images/sounds from the past and present. Benjamin considers that history is not just knowledge, but also action and practice.
This was a collaborative proposal and project. Part 1 and part 4 were produced jointly, part 2 by Cerezo, part 3, by Lee.
Excerpt from part 3
The audio walk started in the marble hall and guides visitors to the (now empty) site of the Machine Gun Corps. Taking in viewpoints from members of the Belton community, historical materials and the actual experience of researching in the park, over 5 chapters, the walk is a reflection on remembering and place.