The British Museum: Living and Dying, Room 24

Room 24 is dedicated to showing how different cultures cope with life and death.

The displays showcase materials from various parts of the world including Ghana, New Zealand, The North American Arctic, The Solomon Islands and South America. The objects show how each culture deal with illnesses, surviving certain situations and living aside other people and animals.

The physical layout is simple, with most artefacts being placed in glassed showcases and others on a podium or hung from the wall. The showcases are large and have many materials inside. There seem to be a large quantity of objects to view, making it slightly overwhelming to take in. The themes do help to narrow down the idea of ‘living and dying’ but there does seem to be too much in one showcase.

The gallery room has some strengths and weaknesses. The strengths are the lighting and spacing. The lighting is comfortable to view the work and compliments the colour of the room. The gallery has enough space for all the materials to be seen, as well as walking space for the public. However, the room acts as a hallways due to there being more than one door to enter and exit. This allows the flow of visitors to move quickly and to not notice what is there. There are areas, with artefacts, that do not have visitors walk down because of the large showcases and the fact the room is used more as a place to get to another. Therefore, visitors automatically walk through the centre.

An installation is placed in the ‘pathway’ of the room. Cradle to Grave Pharmacopoeia is a major commissioned art installation that focus on a man and woman’s story told through the medication they have taken through their lives. Most of the visitors were interested in this because it can bee looked at whilst they are walking through the room.


The Wellcome Trust Gallery. (n.d). Living and Dying (Room 24). Available: Last accessed 26th Jan 2016.



Art Museums and the Ritual of Citizenships – Carol Duncan

IMG_9363.JPG‘Museums do not simply resemble temples architecturally; they work like temples, shrines and other such monuments.’ (Duncan 1994, p281)

In this article, Carol Duncan treats museums similarly to a holy place with rituals that visitors abide by. She begins with saying that the French Revolution is the start of political themes in museums and created the first modern art museum. The Western part of the world in a major influence to the rest of the world, as they have known that public art museums a important. Therefore, other countries designed museums with a Western-style to show modernity.

The architecture of museums date from the era in which Greek and Roman architectural forms were used for civic and secular buildings. Agreeing with Duncan, museums are a place of secular knowledge due to their reputation to preserve the heritage of its location. That is why there is a ‘religious’ institution. Before arrival, visitors are aware that the museum is special and requires activity that is almost the same as a temple. The space is designed to allow the audience follow a programmed narrative. This is helped also by the objects on display and the programming. The organization of objects is very important to communicate the message the museum wants the audience to learn.

For example, in Room 24 of The British Museum, Living and Dying gallery room is not designed in a particular order. The objects are placed in separate showcases under different themes and cultures, based on the idea of living and dying. Although the gallery has a special commissioned art installation, it is hard to pay all your attention on the object due to the design of the room.

The materials we see and do not see reflects the community’s identity. Most of the visitors probably do not question the order and displaying of the objects. Duncan argues that there is a purpose in the way a curator organises a museum and perhaps we should all pay more attention to the display that is based on a concept of a political theme.

Bill Hilier and Kali Tzorti take on a different approach. They base the organisation of materials on the spacial layout. The human activity within the room, such as moving and interacting with others in the space has a natural geometry. Duncan does not agree with this, as she argues that the objects create a narrative that the audience follow.

The space is analysed by observation. When seen from different points, the spacial layout is different. Unlike Duncan, Hilier and Tzorti give visuals to evident their concept. It is quite an intriguing concept to keep in mind as well as the narrative. The space should compliment what is on display. This is why I felt that some of the artefacts in the Living and Dying room were not appreciated to its fullest.



Duncan, Carol.  (1994).  Art Museums and the Ritual of Citizenships, in Susan Pearce (ed) Interpreting Objects and Collections. London/New York: Routledge. p279-286.

Hilier, B & Tzortzi, K. (2008). Space Syntax: The Language of Museum Space. In: Macdonald, S Companion to Museum Studies. Chichester : Wiley. p287-301.

The Wellcome Trust Gallery. (n.d). Living and Dying (Room 24). Available: Last accessed 26th Jan 2016.

Duoghnkeh, H. (2016). Living and Dying Room Image. 

Iwona Blazwick – Temple/ White Cube/ Laboratory


Should all intuitions continue to keep a logic of its location, history and audience? Yes. Especially with a history like the one at The Whitechapel Art Gallery. It is relevant to remember or perhaps learn who established it and how this gallery proceeded in changing social barriers.

Established in London’s East End in 1901, a priest wanted great art to be seen to by everyone, even the poorest of people. Blazwick defines the opening as a ‘critical tool’ in settling down the the conflict between classes. Escapism is a theme that is important in this event, as it a form that the audience from the East London would undertake. From looking at scenes that are perfect yet unrealistic to their lives, it distracts their reality of life.

‘The outside world must not come in’. Defined by Brian O’Doherty about the modernism that has developed gallery spaces in to a ‘white cube’. As you may have noticed, many galleries do not have windows. Artworks and the walls become an aesthetic and an everlasting entity. Blazwick argues that the principles for gallery displays can not be natural nor neutral. It is based on the creativeness on the subject and its owner to tell a story to its visitors. This would be challenge for the twenty first century curator.

Based on a visit to The Whitechapel Gallery, I would say that I am not a fan of plan white walls, especially in such an open space. Although the room is not empty and full of work, the white walls creates an illusion to make the room seem bigger and emptier. Not to say I am a fan of full spaces, but one that is completely opposite has an unwelcoming feeling.


Blazwick, I. (2006). Temple/ White Cube/ Laboratory. In: Marincola, P What Makes a Great Exhibition? . US: Philadelphia, PA : Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative, Philadelphia Center for Arts and Heritage . p118-183.

Photo (n.d) The Whitechapel Gallery. Available: Last accessed 19th Jan 2016

The 3D Type Book


img_9253Typography has been a strong interest of mine, not just digitally but also handmade. Digital type is great and has developed massively due to the development of technology. However, I believe that is limitation that is smaller compared to creating typography in a physical approach. This book displays a range of designers that have made typography in a 3D form for projects. When I am designing, I prefer to have variety of options and materials to make something.  Similar to lettering, I like to experiment with different mediums that a computer would not allow me to access. There is a unique aspect to hand crafting and even in the future, making handmade letters will allow designs to stand out against computerized typography.

The only digital use in this book, is the documentation the type. Some projects are displayed as an installation for the public to see. In the future, I would like to do an installation similar to these designers. Using public spaces is a great way for everyone to see art work, as it is different from being in a gallery and those who are not planning to visit one are able to see it, depending on the location of course.


Grayson Perry Lecture Response

In the 21st century, everyone can be interested and enjoy art, no matter what your background or social class is. Agreeing with Perry, there is still an insecurity about walking around an arty gallery or museum. Art has been something for those of a high class and has only recently become accessible for most people. There is a certain feeling of intimidation because of the people that are there and the thought of wondering why they appear the like what is on display. But what is art and who defines it as art, good or bad?

Popularity is definitely an element that defines art to be good, similar to a fashion trend. As well as this, quality also defines what is art and Perry describes to the two to have a ‘sort of tension’.  There cannot be both in one art work.

Who is it, that tells us what good art is? Those who are within the art community allow the audience to know what is good and bad. Although art is becoming accessible for all societies, the wealthy class in the art society seem to have more of a say. They are able to buy artworks and have the connections. However, art to one person may not be art to another. It depends all on the individual.

Maybe there are aspects of art that really suggest that there is some social, moral society value to developing people’s aesthetic sensibility, the recognition of the beauty,”

Sometimes when an artwork or artist become popular, I tend to lose interest unless I am really obsessed with the subject. I feel any person, whether a designer, artist, illustrator etc  going mainstream can be risky. The media tends to change a lot you see and they start to change their style to be more mainstream. Rather than continuing with the style they are best at, they begin to alter in to what the public wants. By know means is this a complete con. As a designer, you need to listen to what the client and public likes. But vernacular artist should challenge the aesthetics of mainstream.



Montefinise, A. (2012). The Art of Defining Art. Available: Last accessed 12th January 2016.

Perry, G. (2013). The Reith Lectures, Democracy Has Bad Taste. Available: Last accessed 12th January 2016.