The Thermodynamic Manifesto

The participant is a conservator with an interest in the conservation of contemporary art. She believes that conservation is not a static function, but a dynamic one. The laws of thermodynamics which state that energy is not lost, only redistributed, provide her with a metaphor for this more energetic, fluid and relational process.
She described her role as akin to walking alongside the object, joining it for a part of it’s journey. She described hearing the ‘voices’ of all the people who have ever been involved with the object and all the people who will be involved now and in the future which engenders a certain sense of responsibility and conscientiousness. Despite this, the workshop is a quiet space and the voices in a sense are audible only within that meditative space.

The art work was a group experience where small groups of participants held an object in darkness in a large room used to store art works not being displayed by museums. Scottish National Opera soprana Shuna Sendall sang the graveside song from Cymbeline. When she had finished the lights stayed out for a further 10 seconds and then were put back on signifying the end of the event.


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