Preserving the NZ AIDS Memorial Quilt at Te Papa

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[00:00:00] This program is brought to you by pride in [00:00:07] We're coming up to a quarter panel which as we call the [00:00:13] quote, and so this is [00:00:17] the quote that was made to commemorate [00:00:21] commemorate a, [00:00:23] the quote we've got here at the moment is quite a good example of the types of in on the wider illustrate the types of problems that we're coming up against with these quotes and terms of the very much a product of the time in terms of materials that have been used in the techniques that have been employed. So for a lot of the quotes you'll come across, there might be quite conventional quotes in terms of you know, fabric paste together from the construction, and then embellished but surface touching, but equally there are [00:01:00] squeeze which have been put together using it haze of hot glue, sellotape pens, and staples, and also the materials years, you can see we've got a Barbie doll, and some troll dolls, and a lot of plastic, a lot of sequins, a lot of plastic components and farms, which are inherently unstable. And quite a challenge for us from conservation perspective, because there are limited treatment options. And once those secret ation reactions, they can actually be quite rapid. [00:01:38] So I guess every thing has a lifespan and might be doing a museum or trying to extend the life of the object. But of course, with a lot of these very contemporary items, plastics and phones, it's quite fixed. And we have very little treatment options available to us. So for some of these quality hit with high quality discussion about what we should do and how we should approach it. So I guess the K as really the photo documentation, because for some components, they will Greek degrade to a state that they will you know, they're going to just be a hot [00:02:20] the farming space at the scholars may also can proceed to problems to the to the quantum terms of Best of release volatiles, and might leads to key researchers and staining so. [00:02:36] So you can say that, I think what's happening here, the objects consumes here, look at the troll dolls. But it looks like maybe some of the pesticides are starting to Leach from the plastic. And so they've become a little bit sticky. And so they might start to really become a bit of a magnet for sorting and dust. [00:02:55] And Barbie is her plastic, some very brush over discolored. [00:03:04] Yeah, so as quite typical of some of the problems that we have to deal with. And also, I mean, I as I said before, they are a product of the time, where you've got a square over there, which has a lot of sort of has been embellished well structured, a lot of the quotes, squares feature, textile paint. And then also because I can remember, you know, the ICF and those favorite paints, but was closer paint and the three dimensional puffer paint were really popular. And so they feature quite a lot in terms of the tributes and inscriptions that people have made. So at the time, rather than embroidering people used those textile paints, and also just felt pain and borrow. And some of the pins and some of the things that have been used for the inscriptions have been very lightly inserted. So they've actually fighter to the extent that as you can't he make countless tributes anymore. [00:04:04] So I guess the key for us is to have a really good to document both photographs. And we like him and I will do I have like a base condition report and record the current condition that there and the nice. [00:04:22] Let's go to me that we have a next to live and I can consult with other conservators, I will I need to I'll be able to consult with the paintings conservators about the the paints that have been used and also some of the, you know the problems that we are presenting with the plastics and firearms. But for some of it will just be a case of, you know, documenting. And we think we might, at the stage, what we are really destroying as I'm documenting the condition. And just and focusing on the storage. And so what we're doing for the Andrew and I are supers cleaning, front and back of the quote, similar us as just low powered vacuum suction, and let's just remove lyst, particulate soiling plus of extreme outside and directly on the ground. So we're just doing that. And then Emily himself volunteer as making the Calico carpet, so kind of constrained by space and resources. And thinking about how the quotes are going to be yours. So I guess you could look at a quote, piece like this and think, well, the ideal storage space will be to have it completely flat and not folders. But in terms of handling and providing access. And with you know, we have to make a compromise and we, you know, has to be able to focus on the shelving units. So we are going to fold them and we will pare down some of the elements. But some of these elements like the troll dolls, because the pesticides are starting too late, we have to kind of provide a barrier between the fabric and the troll doll. And we also might investigate using some charcoal cloth as well, this just might help sort of absorbing some of the volatile emotions that they release. So hopefully, we can just be about trying to slow down those degradation reactions and just proceed preventing any damage to the quote that these positions but there might come a time. And it's really hard to put a time frame on it where we are faced with it, the session where we have to actually remove a component from the club, which will be very heartfelt and a really difficult thing to do. [00:06:46] But we've we have discussed discuss it before they were accepted onto the collection. And that's a problem that, you know, with contemporary collector and across the collections, not just with these quotes, but with continue sculpture and contemporary art and an attic. So collections as well, yeah. [00:07:06] How long does it take you to surface clean? [00:07:10] Well, so I can show you what we've got that we use as that for a lot of the students claiming that we do we use adapter to the internet inspirations. And you can imagine that, for a culture of the size will take a really long time. So we've actually had to be quite realistic about what we can do. We've got a museum fair, which has got a burger here, it's got a variable section, and it will take us [00:07:36] maybe a couple of hours per quote, The squad's kind of tight longer, because we have to spend a little bit of time [00:07:46] documenting some of the degradation reactions that are starting to occur. And also that we need to kind of work out just to go through each square, I mean, we need to think about incorporating something with a charcoal cloth and hit to us like some of these areas with some mylar retire vape distribute direct contact between the troll and the support at song but at the stage we're not doing in a major intervene to remedial conservation as just really about stabilizing it for storage. And then if it was to go for some of these costs, if I were [00:08:26] to be I guess I've got to be viewed as they were intended to be, which I think now we're just laid out flesh on the ground, that'll be fine. But if someone says, Well, actually, we want to put them on the wall, then as a conservative will have to come along and reassess that because they you know, they has to be structurally intact and stable enough to support the wage of the quote, and then all he would have to consider all these here, you know, you see, you see, to see some areas where there's some failed stretching and areas where there might be some stitched support where Coursera Romania, conservation might be required. But that would be dependent on I guess what the requirements are, but at this stage, it's more about we've just want to [00:09:13] surface cleaner to promote a loose particulate warning document the condition that they're banned and the materials at the middle. So that just will be it'll be a really long term problem. So you might have and have them stored in a way that you know, it's not gonna cause damage. And they'll be you know, they can actually when I bring them out on the last Calico cables are actually quite easy to handle. And, yeah, [00:09:42] I mean, usually what the quotes we roll [00:09:46] because we don't like folding things as we don't like crisis, because, you know, it's the idea that spirit will fracture along the falls line, but we can't not face because they can't know [00:10:00] the quotes of they've got these three dimensional [00:10:04] elements don't don't want to all i mean with me might snap Barbie. [00:10:11] We just folding up, you know, along the joins. So we're trying to avoid any power lines, cross the panels. And, so that you'll see that our storage cover actually conforms to the size of one of these ninos. [00:10:30] Fold. We originally love being folded [00:10:33] here, do you [00:10:34] have some sort of process that you allow that to ease out? [00:10:39] Well, sometimes the ball is out, just settling flat, and sometimes Vito, [00:10:47] we can kind of relax the crisis, and we were sort of a little bit of [00:10:55] low controls, as I most of us know, was Jim White's, you know, you do need to be careful of the I bleed and all that sort of thing as well. So we're not going to do that at this stage. And because you know that each section has been made by different people, there are a lot of different tensions happening within the quote. So a lot of these crisis and things can't be completely as you sometimes have to accept this Howard as, and that's how it wants to be. And of course, they might be areas where will fracture at some point, but [00:11:35] you know, these things, you know, everything has a lot of us extend their life, I guess, [00:11:44] when you were saying about writing degradation reports on various parts of the quilt, what kind of things are you looking for? [00:11:52] I guess we will, I guess this is a good example here is that you can kind of you can say that the struggle with the plastic that I think what's happening is that the pesticides as leaching from the plastic, and so it becomes a little bit sticky. And you can see how it just sort of all the Dustin's talking products, I don't, we'll have to we might have another look at their because it might not actually just be selling products and might actually be [00:12:24] part of a degradation reaction that's happened that's just come out this morning. So we haven't had a really good luck. But also Barbie, I mean, you know, that Barbies can, [00:12:34] the type of plastics at them they're made from and having been quite a fan of Barbie growing up, [00:12:43] you can say that the who, you can just say that there's been some color change, and the plastic of her arms are getting a little bit cloudy and washing areas. And, you know, I will give it a little pause and and we'll have quite a brush feel I suspect about that. And so we just need to move our way through each section of the court and just sort of identify these problems as far. But we also look at things like, you know, what the tributes and the descriptions have been made off. [00:13:18] I mean, he is, and this is quite typical explain, is quite a bit of glow. [00:13:26] with Joe, because that's what they've chosen to apply their styles. And here we are, here it does this. [00:13:36] Height. And you can say that for some of us Central Time for some of the three dimensional path paint his thing, [00:13:48] quite a color change his faded and cracks and flakes as well. And [00:13:59] transfer, take a special technique just to conserve them or [00:14:06] no, I think that we're not going to [00:14:10] do anything in particular. But also, I guess [00:14:15] the other important factors that a lot of the dyes and accents that the Philippine tributes are very, very sensitive to fighting, so that for some panels, it's just a tribute. So completely head fighter 16 he can't he might come out. So will be important for us to monitor the any color change and fading. And we will will from now though is I don't know what the illumination history of was for the subject. Now that is in the museum, I do he record a light level to me he keep a record of the light exposure that are here all at the museum as was the cut when artists come on because you don't know. [00:15:03] You know how much light exposure that they have head. But we do know that when they to kind of be aware of about some of the inks and paints. And I guess that the transfers that have been used, because I will be prior to some fighting [00:15:20] can vary quite a lot. It's quite interesting, really. [00:15:26] You know, you don't always know what people have used and what it's been applied to. [00:15:34] I guess over period of time, you can say that united Hayes's and discovers [00:15:42] this isn't so bad. [00:15:45] So your condition reports are they quite extensive? I'm just thinking like with this one, here, we've got all these little stars do you have to note, you know, how the stars are, when they first come into the museum? [00:15:56] Well, what we will tie because there's that you know, they're all about artworks is probably they're not going to record every single loss that occurs on here. But I will say that there are some losses and because it's been photographed, it will be clear. And the photos that he provides a photo documentation of actually as the sexual part of the Russian report, because I think I also find it if you rush a lot, which will be easy to deal with, it doesn't mean that people necessarily read it and saw you. [00:16:35] And I guess how the consumers on the horrible Raiders and will have seen this type of damage and this type of condition. So when you sort of mentioned it, everyone's kind of on the same plane and knows what you talking about. And the language that you use, you don't have to fortunately mention every single star but if it was going out online, will be photographed again. And [00:17:01] but I'd probably just take it, you know, we'll just take a photograph of us and if there's areas that have consumed able to like a mile an overlay and just sort of George on and highlight that. But there's a critical bypassed [00:17:16] sort of monitoring the ongoing condition of these items, as the documentation says what we have, well, while we have records on our database, and all the images are on there as well, in conservation, we also have hard copy files as well so [00:17:35] so when it when it comes out, it'll be a cease again, state by Sir Paul spice. [00:17:45] You know that those initial photographs that What? [00:17:52] What's it like working on something like this? [00:17:55] I found that place of bad [00:17:59] period emotional, and it's, I don't think there's any, you know, even though we see work on amazing things, and I just, you know, I'm just so lucky that with these places, I don't think that nothing has had that effect, as a victim a police name, in such a way as these calls. I think the first few times I had them out, I just couldn't stop crying. And that's ambition now. But sometimes I've know how you have to distance yourself and step away from it a little bit. But they will also come across something that will just kind of connect with you. And it just starts you off again. So [00:18:39] yeah. And so they and they are these a couple of quotes that really get me going [00:18:44] there. I just just have to accept this. [00:18:46] What's kind of hit them and I'm working with them as a skeptic, my tissues painting and every everyone's really supportive and understands, because everyone has a similar response to them. I think so you can't divorce yourself from Yeah, there's just a lot of love and heartache. Can [00:19:03] you really feel it. [00:19:05] And I think that the panels that have really spoken to me I love being you know, the mothers have done thanks. And as a mom to a lesser one I've seen you see the purchase of little boys and you think oh my gosh, starts you off. There's just so much love on each panel [00:19:22] that you just really feel that [00:19:25] make it stop [00:19:29] taking my breath away, you know, having read so much about the panels, but to see them in the flesh and real is breathtaking. A group of us [00:19:40] to all come to sleep. [00:19:43] The quote, some are interchangeable and not hit the side. But the end of the day. And I knew was going to be a week. So I took all my boxes of tissues, but I went through them because we're in a church hall and have really horrible toilet paper on the bathrooms. And so my nose was the end of the day was I hate the bank, the reed nose and poached egg. That was just terrible. But [00:20:06] at the end of that they went a little bit of time in the cathedral. And I was just a really nice to kind of spend that time together in the cathedral and just kind of take a moment because the whole deal. [00:20:20] You know, I found out [00:20:23] was real three [00:20:23] really, really tough fiction. [00:20:28] Have you had any surprising discoveries? [00:20:34] I discovered I am a panel that was my as a tribute to someone that I know not particularly well. [00:20:43] But I will [00:20:44] say actually was really nice to see this panel. And I don't know how well but he was my aunt's he'd resigned he'd been really good to me when I was young at a family we don't would hit a lot of fun. And there's some great fighters a bathroom all together. And he was Yes, it was actually really was nice to say Arthur's panel and of course has was the most challenging panel from conservation perspective. And I thought it would be just, it's just typical [00:21:21] for our artists panel to feature up a crazy history Smythe out of college degrading, fine, huge. So it was right, [00:21:31] thanks. [00:21:38] So how does that work? When you maybe have a panel on a block of eight that is degrading more than the others? How do you protect the other ones? [00:21:47] Well, I think what we're going to do with the troll dolls as we are kind of trying more chance of cooperation, a barrier between the troll dolls and the ground paper that the wrong. And we will also think that we might try and do something well, some activated charcoal cough [00:22:11] on that panel, so we need to just sort of spend a little bit time thinking about how we're going to actually do that. And I'll probably work and what the objects consumed her because she's sort of comes across this sort of problem unquote, regular basis. And so we'll just have to kind of have a thing can work something out. So while this morning, I thought I will be able to save this kindness and a couple of hours that this particular panels kind of take a little bit more time, it's probably going to take the rest of the day to really to work out to see this kind of documentary and to work out what we should do with those plastic towels. I think that we might actually claim them. And so that everything's always photographs before joining and after treatment. And so, you know, we'll be able to sort of monitor [00:23:07] the take rotation reactions, I guess, but but I am away that for some things that can be really, really rapid. [00:23:12] So how do you photograph something so large, [00:23:16] but out we do have a type of photography departments, and they have been able to [00:23:25] take photographs. And to you might like to talk to them about I think they've got a system whereby they can actually have it down flat and the studio and then they can go up onto the towards the ceiling. And overall, or they might have done smaller sections and the Indus kind of pasted together afterwards. So I'm not sure how they've actually done at this time. But for me, since those overall photos have been done, I will just probably just do some detail images of the areas that are of interest and concern to us. [00:24:00] It's so large, how do you get to the center to [00:24:04] start we have to do is because I really want to sit in the front in the back. So I've got it on a large table and they'll be two of us is that we just have to [00:24:16] you know, we just kind of have to pay out a fold and just folded over and into that section and then fixed section by section. So sometimes with things that you can flat enlarge that you want to [00:24:30] surface clan, you can roll them onto a roll and where Casey go and then all the button into that section. So it's business of adapt fit, process really, but we can get around my size of the table and you can just fire us around constraints really. [00:24:51] What about something like with Barbies leaks kind of sticking up to you actually storage to put your legs down and you move your feet [00:24:58] I said we will just have a look at Barbie and see how she's feeling how she wants to be. So if it makes sense for us to put her legs down to the out resting place, we will do that. But efforts proved to be this because the plastics, pesticides, this latest that's become pressured and stuff, I'm not going to move obviously eggs and I will just I'll just pick around here, so that she's kind of supported. [00:25:28] And we're just just have to accommodate her as she has. So there are some elements here that we just have to kind of cover and pick out if we get the the article which is quite flat and has been pasted in a quite conventional manner such as such embellishment, we can, we've just kept enslaving with topic and the interest folding them and the guy in the Calico covers [00:25:57] with decided on the Calico, the HTC Hi, rather than not the topic because actually I think it's going to stand up beta you know the topics very slippery and difficult to handle with the size of them. And [00:26:13] if the taken on to the Mirage, the you know, the covers at all kind of goes together in a package. So if someone's not familiar with the handling requirements and the tight tie, there are a couple of uses locks and tidy [00:26:31] aside those Calico covers with their ties, there's no ties to get lost everything's all together as quite straightforward in terms of that you just assignment envelope that you unfold. And then you can say I think they'll appear to be quite a useful thing in terms of storage and hidden two pennies to be transported within the museum. If I were to go to another institution that would do something a bit different, but if I needed to be moved within the museum for people to look at the you know, I think that should be [00:27:07] should work well. And the size fits between doors and you know, site all those handling requirements you need to think about and if they get a bit grumpy they can go in the washing machine. [00:27:19] So that's [00:27:20] that's good. But it's important for me that they [00:27:25] that they look [00:27:27] that they're important in cyclists for lots of us you know we often shine love for plans with when we do biking for people and for I think for sometimes for conservators and volunteers here working with the textiles or or format for me the way of showing love for something is to have that looking stored. [00:27:50] Yeah, [00:27:51] I think you know I it's important for me that they care good storage solution ended up looks good looks at people are caring for [00:28:04] see the love that's continued on, but it's not treated. It's an object. It's more [00:28:08] than this. [00:28:10] And this [00:28:14] is so important. [00:28:16] I [00:28:17] think that's the nature of the objects is dangerous. Not really. [00:28:27] Listen, Sam and Williams who was one of their great treasures here at to papa has worked as a volunteer it takes a conservation for 33 years. And we are just so fortunate lucky to have in and and spend helping me with the the AIDS co project by making all the covers the Calico covers for the storage of the quote, saying Do you want to just talk a little bit about what we've been doing with the with a quote, couple [00:28:55] years when we looked at the quotes, we realize that our the design had to be something that could be worked by anyone that wanted to look at them. And so rather than make a bag, which was difficult to put the quotes and because they are quite large and heavy, we decided to make a sheet of it, folding the sides in in the unfolding the other two sides and so that the corners were all protected and covered and then tied with tied so tie so that they would hold together. Anybody that looks at them can put them back the same way as they found them. And they are protected because we have left the topic underneath to protect them as well. [00:29:41] So it's been quite a job with heads may service of Calico that's needed to be washed and arms. And it's actually quite a demanding job making these [00:29:51] covers the quote themselves in the folded state have been measured. So that the covers themselves that each particular one we have ensured that they need to be done so that I think it helps when people handle and look at these things that they will take particular care. They are not exactly fragile. But as mishandled, we're not going to have them for very long. [00:30:28] So why for us, it was a little bit out of our way of showing up for this takes us out that come on to the collection as you always have been looking all your storage boxes and supports and [00:30:40] really beautifully read about [00:30:44] these ones, these quotes in particular, are special because the memory quotes and they married memory quotes for a very special reason. And we can be thankful now that live for people who are suffering in this particular way is much easier. And the prognosis is much better than it was in these early days when there was much sadness [00:31:13] and and discrimination. [00:31:17] Had you come across the group before? [00:31:20] No, I had I had I had known these quotes existed, but I hadn't seen any of them at all. I knew that they have been done with people who are not necessary needle workers or even stitches or sowers, but they're quite extraordinary. [00:31:40] What was your reaction when you first saw them? [00:31:43] This is the only one that I've seen opened. And my reaction is that for something that's so sad, they are extremely colorful, and and very pleasant to look at. [00:31:56] So do you don't have much of the stories behind the pencils Do you due to researchers, but [00:32:04] at this time, I'm not I just don't have the time to do that. But our curatorial team will probably do more of that. You know, sometimes for a treatment you donated, if you're going to [00:32:21] remedial treatment run and to be into of treatment, it's often at that point that you need to do a lot of more more sort of in depth research on your objects. But at this stage, it's really about just [00:32:34] we're just focusing on helping them recover storage requirements. And that and the advice condition, really. [00:32:44] And when you say remedial treatment, what does that involve? [00:32:47] If you wanted to enter vein, but the objects and forms effort needed to have such support, so they needed to if there was some most elements and I needed to say cure them certainly was some there was some beating or a trolls I was about to fall off on me he had to stitch it back on or there's some pounds touching or supports got a tear in for it to be despite that needs to be stabilized. In its what I consider today. And until the end of treatment, [00:33:22] if we have to [00:33:25] end even if we have to remove some unsightly staining of soiling [00:33:34] to him in a thing like the AIDS court and profits collections in terms of what was the fall [00:33:46] off the top of my head, I can't think of anything that's I think the [00:33:51] you know, the culture is actually quite unique. And it really is a product of its time and [00:33:58] but when we do lots of things in the collection there to present [00:34:04] tombs are a chapter conservation challenge in terms of the materials that they're using. So the problems that were [00:34:14] that these quotes of illustrators not unique to the quotes, that's, you know, across the collections, really, I think the history collection just acquired some Barbie dolls. So [00:34:27] it's [00:34:30] it's kind of a very real concern to the wider UTM community as well. My name is actually [00:34:40] you know, this conservation conferences dedicated to the subject of modern materials and what we're going to do with these degrading files and plastics. And it's actually quite interesting about with the conservation community, there's not always an agreement about what the best approaches today. And that's actually really interesting. I was at one conference where all those fabulous designer chairs from the 50s, 60s and 70s with the molded fireman's and plastics they're presenting quite a problem and a lot of lot of museums and there are groups of people that say you know there's no one solution will they will let's just remove the foam and replace it with a more stable archival phone but since you don't have done there is not the [00:35:29] chair that it was [00:35:31] in so some people actually believe will actually someone and the museum community will fetch here Houston labor so we have even as the farm degrades and it goes a little bit like hokey pokey sometimes and so it will swell and then all your seams in your upholstery split so that it becomes quite distorted does becomes a lot like sometimes like the Hokey Pokey when you lay down the kitchen beach sticky nosing and [00:36:01] so you know what, you know what, what should you do or the one thought is that you're moving forward especially important for us to have a record of the object as well as with no intervention such [00:36:15] as we can look at these things we can talk about environment to kind of slow down those sound to professional reaction so [00:36:23] if I can retro slight exposure and keep our temperature quite low and avoid extreme fluctuations and [00:36:32] relative humidity and temperature we might be able to slow them down. But I think that they don't get to a point where if I'm not all those things that the reactions you know that reactions very rapid so we have had things on the collection we had a couple of years ago I hit that was made out of plastic bags, and I came on and what can I hear [00:36:57] let's go ahead really started to [00:37:00] cry it sort of looks like a head danger out and now it's probably just a part of [00:37:06] my place to flex it wasn't accepted into the collection but it was really interesting to kind of watch that and say what happened [00:37:15] it was really rapid [00:37:18] so give them the best care in the world. How long do you think these will survive? [00:37:23] I think it's really difficult to put a time frame on because you know [00:37:28] but I guess it'll be it'll be interesting to say but I just want my toe [00:37:36] like to say really but the other thing is that with a lot of [00:37:43] materials now people are concerned about land phones so you know assets that are using [00:37:50] found objects or plastic bottles and plastic bags, you know, it's they often have additives added to them to the scientific accelerate that to protection reaction [00:38:01] because people [00:38:02] are concerned about me and phone. So I know that they've been putting things like starch additives into some of the plastics just to kind of because I know that sounds like it would be a good idea but if you're an artist and you choose to use those materials, [00:38:18] I will have [00:38:20] Spain

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