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Working with our collections: Hannah Rickards « The Polar Museum: news blog

The Polar Museum: news blog

Working with our collections: Hannah Rickards

On Spatial Configurations, 2014

The Scott Polar Research Institute includes a polar library, which includes the Shackleton Memorial Library, and has comprehensive holdings of scholarly books and journals on polar research, with exceptional archival collections from the exploration of the Antarctic and Arctic. Part of the Inspire Libraries scheme, anyone with an interest in the polar regions is most welcome to use the library for reference. This year we have been delighted to welcome Hannah Rickards, one of the artists in residence from the North West Cambridge Artist Programme who had been spending time in the library and archives.

On Spatial Configurations represents one of the outcomes of Hannah Rickards’ research at the Cambridge University’s Department of Earth Sciences during her 2013 residency and takes the form of a double-sided poster. It follows, and in part reflects, a screening of Michael Snow’s 1971 film, La Region Centrale exploring the relationship between geological time, landscape and the moving image.

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On Spatial Configurations, Hannah Rickards, 2014

During her residency, Hannah Rickards spent time researching in the libraries of both the Earth Sciences department and the Scott Polar Research Institute, and she became fascinated by the different scales and inscriptions of time she found in the images of geological strata and landscapes in Geological Journals in both libraries.

“I am interested in the notion of geological time and its duration in relation to recording media: to moving image, photography or sound and to the relationship between the still and the moving image. My interest is therefore in how the application of a geological temporality might affect a reading of landscape and space in relation to a sense of time, with the objects, landscapes, spaces and materials themselves being recordings of a process.”

Hannah Rickards work deals with perception and its description; with how one can translate an encounter – be that with a sound, an object, a space or an image. In particular, she has explored the relationship between atmospheric phenomena and experience of them (a sound heard accompanying the aurora borealis, a remembered image of a mirage, a thunderclap re-performed by a musical ensemble) in installation, video, text and sound works.


‘Unidentified landscape, bizarre iceberg’, watercolour. One of a collection of 81 watercolours and drawings by Sir John Ross, while on his second voyage in search of a North-West Passage, 1829-33.

Her previous exhibitions include Thunder, a performance part of the Contemporary Art Society Centenary Programme, Pier Arts Centre, Orkney 2010; Chasing Napoleon, Palais de Tokyo, Paris 2009-2010; No, there was no red. Max Mara Art Prize for Women, Whitechapel Gallery, London 2009 and The Quick and the Dead, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis 2009

Posters are available from The Polar Museum, The Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences and Kettle’s Yard.

Bridget Cusack
Museum Development Coordinator

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