13th September to 17th September. 11am-7pm, Torre Abbey.

Profusion: The Story in the Object

In a new artwork commissioned by the International Agatha Christie Festival 2017, The Story in the Object invites visitors to share their treasures in an evolving Cabinet of Curiosities

Throughout the week-long International Agatha Christie Festival 2017 taking place in Torquay's 14th Century Torre Abbey, Encounters will present a new work, The Story of the Object inspired by the autobiography Come Tell Me how you Live by Agatha Christie. Most associated with crime writing and Torbay where she spent much of her life, this autobiography shares her reflections on the people, places, and treasured finds she came across during the time she worked alongside her archaeologist husband in Syria and Iran in the 1930’s.

The autobiography’s searching and expansive title question is a stepping off point for this new work that asks the question again Come Tell Me How You Live in 2017 through an exploration of our relationship to the objects and things we buy, keep or treasure. It will explore how the personal stories behind our relationship to objects reveal how we live now, what we care about and what we want to treasure for the future? 

The Story of an Object is an interactive artwork, a  playful cabinet of curiosities co-created with local residents and visitors that will fill up throughout the festival as people bring treasures from Torbay and beyond to add to an evolving collection. It will link objects from around the world with those gathered in contemporary Torquay in a democratic, playful way.

Objects gathered will be accompanied by stories from their owners, creating a personal reflection on life in Torquay today and beyond. and the sometimes extraordinary stories they tell of our lives. The interactive exhibition  will bring a playful but reflective eye on our very human trait of attaching meaning to objects, how this affects the world around us, and how the story behind the object can invest it with intangibly strong values.

During the five days of the festival, Encounters invites you to join them, with or without an object, to meet others, share and listen to stories, and contribute to this evolving cabinet of curiosities from our age of profusion.

The Story of an Object at the Agatha Christie Festival is part of the pioneering Heritage Futures Research Programme. Artist Shelley Castle (Encounters) and sociologist Jennie Morgan (Research Fellow at the Department of Sociology University of York) are collaborating under the Profusion strand within this programme. They are addressing the challenge presented by the abundance of material and digital ‘stuff’ in our world investigating how we decide what to keep in the face of mass production and consumption and what is selected for long-term keeping and why. What are the complex yet often unacknowledged motivations, emotions, and judgements that shape what makes it into the future?