What would a museum object say if it could tell you about the journeys it had made and the worlds it encountered before arriving at the museum?
“I, too, am a survivor.
My eroded coat dappled with lichen and stars.
My spirited tail has long
In I, too, am a survivor, T.S. Eliot Prize-winning poet Sarah Howe will bring new life to a group of Chinese ceramics at the World Cultures gallery in Liverpool’s World Museum with exclusive poetry she has written through the eyes of the objects, and a stunning immersive experience will complement the works.
A 2,000 year-old earthenware horse will speak of its’ snapped off, spirited tail and a pair of incense burners in the form of guardian lions will speak of their view from the mantelpiece in imagined narratives of their life and journey before arriving at the museum. It will be the first time the poems are revealed to the public and visitors will be totally immersed in the accompanying audio-visual effe
I, too, am a survivor is the debut in a series of interventions at the World Cultures gallery in Liverpool’s World Museum. It began as a collaboration between the museum and the ERC-funded TIDE project, then at the University of Liverpool. It will open to visitors as soon as museums and galleries are allowed to reopen.
Visitors will walk into a 12-sided room where they will be fully immersed in atmospheric project
Sarah’s poems reflect her own experiences as a Hong Kong-born British citizen and her migration to the UK, a country with historic and colonial ties to China and Hong Kong.
She wrote the series of poems while 2018 Writer in Residence at the TIDE project, University of Liverpool, a project (now based at the University of Oxford) that explores issues of travel and identity in early modern England and today. She won the 2015 T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry for her first book, Loop of Jade (Chatto & Windus, 2015).
This is the first in a series of interventions or ‘provocations’ at the World Cultures gallery in World Museum, which seek to use theatrical or imaginati
The seven objects accompanied by an exclusive Sarah Howe poem and featured in the immersive experience are:
- 2,000 year-old earthenware model of a horse, modelled on the ‘heavenly horses’ of the central Asian steppes
- Pair of white porcelain incense burners in the form of Chinese guardian lions
- Porcelain ‘Kraak’ dish, imported by the Dutch from South China into Europe
- A porcelain cup made in South China in the 16th century, adapted on its arrival to Europe
- Porcelain tea caddy from the 18th century, a time when tea consumption rose dramatically
- 800 year-old stoneware dish covered in sea-green celadon glaze, made for export to the Middle East
The World Cultures gallery at World Museum explores the exchange of ideas and objects between Europe and the many cultures represented in the displays.
The museum is now in conversation with visitors, communities and creative practitioners to develop new forms of interpretation for these collections as it seeks to reframe its display of over 1,600 objects from Africa, The Americas, Asia and Oceania in the World Cultures gallery and Weston Discovery Centre through its #WMWhereNext series of surprising and dynamic interventions.
The museum has worked with a group of inspiring and creative people from outside the world of museums, who provoke change and interrogate collections including researchers on the TIDE project and TIDE visiting poet Sarah Howe; comedian, Daliso Chaponda and filmmakers Belle Vue Productions. Learn more about #WMWhereNext here.
Contributors to I, too, am a survivor include Sarah Howe and the TIDE project, Adlib, Urban Projections for the motion graphics, Meaningful Magic ( Storyboard Consultant) and Liverpool John Moores University as advisors in the workshop and prototype stages.