Author Archives: bekkyrandall

Rotating barrels by Louis Nixon and David Sandbach.

An installation at Crossings, the 10th Biennial of Visual Arts Serbia in 2002. Rotating barrels is a kinetic sculpture consisting of 4 large barrels rotating across a room using a hidden mechanism, with importance placed on the fact that you can’t tell what is in the barrels, or how they are moving.

Item type: Artefact/Device, but with keyword: “installation”.

Sadly I have been unable to find a photograph of the piece but there is more about the work here.

Hat tip: This piece was pointed out to me as an example defiant object by Susan Miles, E-Services Analyst at Kingston during IRMW12 at Senate House.

Creative resource: sustainable materials archive and library by Jakki Dehn.

This is a library of material samples and case studies that were collected by Jakki Dehn during her research looking at sustainable materials for the construction industry.

It is certainly a research output, though this is the first time we have come across a whole library recorded as a singe item in a repository!

Here is a link to the online resource

Item type: Other.

Bridging the gap (Ha-Ha!) Thanksgiving banquet by Julienne Dolphin-Wilding and Linda Lee.

This was a site-specific public sculpture project at Blickling Hall, Norfolk.

The wooden table / bridge crosses the boundary between Imperial land and common land, and the cakes on the table are made from compressed hardwood dust.

Item type: Artefact/Device

Bridging the gap (Ha-Ha!) Thanksgiving banquet.
Clicking the image will take you through to the artist’s website.

The item records for these three items rely quite heavily on the ‘additional information’ field to give repository users an idea of what these works/outputs actually are. Luckily there is quite a lot of information given, but this does rely on the person depositing the item (not necessarily the creator of the work) to make sure that this field gets filled in with enough detail.

Item page with the additional information field highlighted.
Click the image to go to the item record in Kingston’s repository.

We were invited to introduce the Defiant Objects project to other institutional repository folks at IRMW12, hosted by ULCC at Senate House on 15th June 2012.  This event covered all sorts of things related to institutional repositories including embedding repositories; open access, the problems of setting up e-theses at SOAS; research data curation, digital preservation; to special collections repositories and using Pinterest to showcase new items in an NHS repository. Nerves struck as I started speaking – as you can see from the picture below, it’s quite an intimidating space! But hopefully it was coherent enough, and several people approached me afterwards showing an interest in the project and it’s outcomes, offering to tell us about ‘defiant objects’ in their repositories.

Presenting in the imposing Senate Room at Senate House

The flickr gallery from the event is here.

The twitter hashtag is #IRMW12 if you are interested in what was being tweeted throughout the day.

The problem of how to describe works that have multiple creators or authors is an issue that has been identified several times during our research. The Kultur metadata report of March 2009 talks about how collective and collaborative works can become problematic when you need to assign an individual creator to a record in an institutional repository, particularly with regard to REF. Jon Ippolito, in his essay ‘Death by Wall Label’ in 2008, also identifies the problem of ‘variable authorship’ – where collectives might be anonymous and the group name can “…mask the relationship and interaction of the group participants…” or membership of a group changes over time. He also identified the issue of collectives becoming strongly identified with one member:

I have seen, in the worst cases, the instigator of supposedly “egoless” productions getting all the credit for the work of his nameless collaborators.

There is also the weighting of ‘impact’ of collaborative works to consider when deciding what to deposit in a repository, for example in the context of REF, a solo exhibition might be weighted more heavily than a group show.

Beacon by Jon Thomson & Alison Craighead

Beacon is a continuous relay of live web searches as they are being made around the world that has been running since 2005. There are several different versions of this work: a gallery version, using data projections, a ‘railway flap’ installation shown in various locations (which adds the distinctive flapping sound of the sign to the piece) and an online version.  Showing is a screenshot from the online version that I captured a while back.  There are images and video of the various installations on their website:

Beacon online version screen grab

This work is interesting from a D. O. perspective because of the multiple versions, locations and formats. Which is the best one to archive in a repository? Should all iterations of it be listed in the repository record, or is it simply enough to acknowledge that the piece has happened multiple times in multiple locations and just choose to document one version more fully?

Currently on UCL Discovery with just title, author, date and item type ‘Other’.

Anything that is difficult to classify or categorize could be described as a defiant object, a simple photograph might be defiant depending on the context.  We are collecting some examples of artworks, compositions, research outputs etc. that we consider to be defiant, and as part of this project we will be creating a typology of objects or research outputs to aid repository managers and those depositing research into institutional repositories.

This example was sent to me from the University of the West of England repository.  The item type  is ‘Show/Exhibition.’

idonthaveyourmarbles by J. Dean and K.Klega

Here is the abstract from the UWE repository:

“An international ongoing collaborative project operating within a pre-existing economic framework (ebay), in which artefacts are exhibited alongside their virtual counterparts.”

Screenshot of the ebay part of the work showing the items listed on 29th March 2012.

These items are really for sale and the project blog states that it will continue at least until 100 items are sold.

Although the Variable Media Network is more concerned with capturing characteristics of artworks and the contextual information necessary to preserve them in the long-term; a lot of this work could be useful to bear in mind when describing works for an institutional repository that deals with complex or defiant objects as research outputs.

On page 46 of their publication Permanence Through Change: The Variable Media Approach is this nice diagram showing information gathered from their Variable Media Questionnaire. Information which is desirable when trying to preserve an artwork in its ‘ideal state’.

The full publication is available here: