Frustrating the Linear was a week exhibition staged at Hallam Post Office Gallery between 1st -24th November 2018. The exhibition attempted to visualise the impact which 3D scanning and printing has on the museum archive and to prompt further examination of it.
The work was positioned as a performance piece with images, datasets and objects visualised together to reveal often hidden relationships between frequently related data. The work was installed, taken down and then reinstalled a number of times in front of different audiences, in an attempt to remake the museum archive and to understand how 3D scanning and printing data could be positioned within it.
The process helped to reveal the multiple ways in which the archive can be structured. It showed how frustrating the linear nature of the archive could be and how changing the values in which the archive was structured did not necessarily mean that it become devoid of meaning. Instead, new object relationships became evident. Data that was considered as separate, because it related to different time periods, objects or different experiments, could come together to form new ideas, not only about the objects in question but also about the archive as well.
Such a notion has the potential to move our understanding of the museum archive away from systems of ordering and object/data taxonomies to a more fluid method of object categorisation, where the polysemy of objecthood can be explored. ‘Frustrating the Linear’ sought to give space to 3D scanning and printing data and position it alongside historical, geographic, scientific and environmental data relating to the same museum object, providing new opportunities for connections and object understanding to emerge.