Rod Dickinson with the 3D truncheon. Courtesy of Matt Austin.

Exeter museum artwork monitors controversial UK legislation

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A new installation at Exeter’s Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery (RAMM) by artist Rod Dickson combines live data from with a Victorian police truncheon from RAMM’s collection.

Outlier Detection monitors and measures the frequency with which UK legislation is made on an hour-by-hour basis, in real time. This data animates a digital 3D image of the truncheon causing it to break up and finally disintegrate.

It particularly looks for the publication of one controversial type of bill: Statutory Instruments. Despite lacking the same kind of parliamentary scrutiny as primary legislation, Statutory Instruments are becoming increasingly common and now form the bulk of all legislation in the country.

The art work constantly seeks moments where the frequency of the bills is accelerated; when new laws are being passed at increasing rate. If detected, the 3D model of the highly decorative hand-painted truncheon starts to crack and break apart. If it detects that the rate of legislation is continuing to escalate, it finally loses all coherence before completely disintegrating.

Outlier Detection contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0. It will be on display in RAMM’s Making History gallery throughout 2016.

Rod Dickinson is a visual artist and Programme leader for BA (Hons) Creative Media Design, at the University of West England in Bristol. His performative and media based artworks explore the way in which our behaviour interacts with media feedback systems and social contexts.

Rod has created installations and live events independently and as part of a team, for a variety of organisations including the Hayward Gallery, the Institute of Contemporary Arts, Longside and the Victoria & Albert Museum. Rod’s work is held in public collections including the Arts Council Collection at Southbank Centre. He has exhibited widely, including Frankfurt, Ljubljana, Vancouver and Washington DC.

During 2014 and 2015 RAMM invited four artists to each create a response to the four museum collection areas of antiquities, art, natural history and world cultures.

The list of artists was drawn up by RAMM’s Contemporary Arts Panel in consultation with Arts Council England and the Arts Council Collection at Southbank Centre. Artist Reflections is funded by Arts Council England’s Major Partner Museum programme.

Sonia Boyce and Serena Korda created a sculptural installation with the George V tiger display in the Case Histories gallery.

Mark Anstee created RAMMYRIORAMA, a poster painting which is a reflection on RAMM’s ethnography collections.

Polly Morgan created You Are Here as a reflection on RAMM’s natural history collections. Polly generously donated the artwork to RAMM’s permanent collection.


(image: Rod Dickinson with the 3D truncheon. Courtesy of Matt Austin.)

(from a press release)



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