The Museum would like to thank Linda Hubbard for giving us this interview about her Family Snaps project. Questions compiled by Sonia Boué.
I don’t like talking about my work.
I don’t think art should be explained
The joy is finding out things for yourself.
I have left out answers on some questions, I want to leave them open,
I don’t want to spoil it for others
1. You’ve created a whole narrative world in Family Snaps. What got you started on it?
1.A I was reading about storytelling and was just thinking as you do, this sentence was the trigger ‘There are only seven stories in fiction and that all others are based on them.’
2. Did you have the whole narrative planned or did that evolve as you worked on the pieces?
2.A Both, the idea, the suitcase, were clear in my head, plus the below statement, lots of thinking about building, contents, over long periods, and the contents then just evolve.
There is only ever one story to tell.
This is the story of the house and the people who live there.
Whether the house be a home, church or state.
Yours, Mine,Theirs. The plots are always
Winners and losers.
Loved and unloved. Have’s and have-nots.
The powerful the weak.
3. There’s also a playfulness with objects which I love – there are paintings of objects, objects, and the paintings are also presented as objects themselves (each one beautifully framed/wrapped and unwrapped).
This back and forth between objects and their representations fascinated me and is a subject in itself. Can you say some more about this process?
3. A I don’t want to answer this, don’t want to spoil it for others.
4. You’ve created an intriguing and unsettling series with Family Snaps. I like the way you’ve built it and created links between sections. Each object could stand alone, and the sections can be read separately or joined together. I spent a lot of time going back and forth trying to work it out. My first attraction to the piece was based purely on the objects and the way they’re laid out. I loved it as a visual piece. Are you happy for Family Snaps to be viewed as a collection of objects or is it important to you that the viewer digs deep?
Also your project is pretty dark but it is also humorous. How would you sum up the general Intention behind this work, and do you think objects are helpful in mediating difficult subjects?
4.A What you see is who you are!
Family Snaps is ‘White Propaganda’ its purpose, persuasion, that attempts to
Influence the emotions, attitude, opinions and actions for the good of humanity.
I’m free, privileged, educated, I have a voice and able to speak up loud and clear with impunity. I have things I want to say and believe need saying, and I should say.
Hopefully the narrative is clear, powerful enough, has the smell of truth
for people to see it as a piece of propaganda and that it agitates them enough to think!
It does not bother me if people want to see Family Snaps as a collection of objects.
Yes, I do think objects are helpful in mediating difficult subjects.
5. I’m probably drawn to the Family Snaps because it’s about patterns which can be read on many levels. You’re opening text suggests the patterns of human life are predictable and repeated – did this influence how you structured the project? I’m especially interested in the grid presentation on the website in relation to this.
5.A My first attempt at Family Snaps [some years ago] was much smaller, 9 works altogether.
I created a stop, motion, animation. The case opening, someone unwrapping the objects displaying the contents, shutting the lid. There was also background music. When I changed my website platform I could not carry the animation over from a technical perspective. The grid presentation is a choice from the constraints of website templates it’s like a film storyboard also I am very conscious that most websites are viewed on mobile devices. So when I was building the project, clarity, flow of the narrative was important being able to view it on a mobile device and has had an influence on structure and presentation.
6. The presentation also made me think of Christian Boltanski’s piece, Inventory of Objects Belonging to a Young Man of Oxford, which was also shown in grid form. It probably also came to mind because it’s a mysterious narrative told through objects photographed in a particular way which is immensely pleasing. What do you consider to be of influence to your work and can you trace those influences to Family Snaps?
6. A What influences me, everything and everybody. Big things, tiny things, people, who they are, how they have lived their lives, what they have contributed.
Who I am, what I see, my life experiences influences everything do.
7. Do you think of yourself as an object artist?
7.A Never really thought about it, suppose I am. The cause or message are everything in propaganda, I think objects can give clarity and I think it’s easier for some to people understand through objects. When I was at primary school if the teacher would ask what 2 + 2 is, I wouldn’t have a clue, but I would always understand and solve the maths if presented with bricks to solve the problem.
8. I love how you’ve wrapped and packed these paintings and objects – so visually pleasing and also suggestive of so many other layers to the narrative. What gave you the idea for this as a thematic device?
8.A Ritual, truth. Don’t want to say anymore, I like to keep it open not wanting to spoil it for others
9. Politics, war and religion obviously feature in this work. In the Keepsakes section reliquaries come to mind. Is this something you thought about?
9.A Yes that and other things.
10. Finally, how long did it take you to complete Family Snaps, and do you have plans to exhibit this work IRL?
10.A Difficult to say how long it took me as I have had two stabs at family snaps with gap of a few years. I decided last year after E U Referendum,Trump’s election to have another crack at Family Snaps, so have been working on it since then. It’s not actually finished, all my projects are open and I add to them, make changes, when the ideas flow. At some point I will probably film the process/experience of opening the suitcase, taking out the objects, presenting the images. There will be a sound track, Mantovani And His Orchestra – Charmaine here is the link
I have written to the Mantovani Estate to see if they will let me use it for free with acknowledgement.
I am hoping to exhibit Family Snaps next year. Presenting Family Snaps is difficult, ideally I would like an individual experience for everyone, opening the suitcase unwrapping the objects, experiencing the narrative, then packing everything back up for the next person, is not feasible to do that.
Presenting the film and displaying the contents will hopefully be as near as I can get to a personal experience.
Linda Hubbard – 2017