This exhibition was inspired by the observation that Bryn Mawr College's Special Collection is an enormous, yet incomplete resource - an excessive archive comprised of fragments. Focusing on themes of the body, text, and receptacle, this exhibition explores the valences of "excess” through a fragmentary lens in two temporalities – the ancient and the contemporary. Drawn from the Collection’s excessive inventory, the ancient objects in this exhibition come to us as fragments from the reaches and exchanges of the Mediterranean world. Acknowledging the lacunae in information, this exhibition seeks to reveal meaning extrapolated both from the objects themselves and their potential reconstructions. Similarly, in the contemporary context, we understand these objects, and their formal, ideological, and theoretical properties, through fragments of information.
Commissioned by the Graduate Group, the contemporary artistic response from Philadelphia-based multimedia artist Katie Hubbell, Nullification Notification, builds upon fragmentary knowledge, imagining the loss of information as potentials for new additions to an already excessive archive. Together, these ancient objects and the contemporary art installation confront the intellectual conundrum of having an excess of fragments.
Fragmentary Excess: Body, Text, Receptacle is installed at Bryn Mawr College in the Eva Jane Romain Coombe '52 Special Collections Suite Gallery, 2nd Floor, Canaday Library, Bryn Mawr College in conjunction with the 11th Biennial Graduate Group Symposium Nothing in Moderation: Ancient to Contemporary Perspectives on Excess. While the physical exhibition will only run from November 3 - December 22, 2017, the exhibition committee decided to create a digital exhibition as a way to expand beyond the case. This digital version of the exhibition includes an additional ancient object that was unable to be included physically, and an extended contemporary artistic response by Katie Hubbell. Similar, but not the same, this re-curation of the exhibition on a digital platform allows for greater access to these small objects and encourages further connections to be made.
In an additional effort to further democratize access to these ancient objects, Archaeology graduate students Matthew Jameson and Sarah Luckey agreed to lend their expertise in photogrammetry to create six three-dimensional models of objects in the physical exhibition. Replete with possibilities for both research and teaching, these 3D models allow for a level of intimacy with the ancient objects that is usually impossible.