The Retroscope is installed, for the first time, in the Maison du Patrimoine at Tusson,
Charente, as part of an
exhibition entitled ‘Traditions Futuristes’. It is a collaboration between myself
and Lois Walpole. The objective of the exhibition is, essentially, to get the
public to look at the building and the museum in a new way. What is the
Retroscope? Quite simply, it is a machine that enables us to see into the past.
It consists of two cones constructed from willow and lime mounted on a tripod.
Whereas Copernicus and his mates would have looked through the smaller end
hoping to find something of the future, the simple innovation of the Retroscope
is that you look into the bigger opening, with its sun-like rays to see
something of the past. It’s been immediately successful, because we have discovered
the sun glasses and mobile phone that belonged to Marguerite D’Angouleme (aka Marguerite
De Navarre). She left them behind when she stayed in the convent that was here in
Tusson in 1547, following the death of her brother King Francois 1. Both of the
items found were made in the 16th Century, the sunglasses are French
and the mobile either Japanese or Swedish.
The Retroscope came about as a result of being asked to provide a piece for the exhibition at the last moment. We envisaged it to be installed in the main courtyard (in order to use some of the windows) and, luckily, no one else had claimed that spot.
The exhibition is open to the public until the 15th December 9-18h Tuesday to Friday and 14-18h at the weekend.