Richardson, Craig (2015) Monuments to the period we live in. In: HYBRID PRACTICES in the arts, sciences, & technology from the 1960s to today, 10-13th March 2015, University of Kansas. (Unpublished)

John Latham’s (1921- 2006) ‘monuments to the period we live in’, two partially preserved groups of oil shale bings which were initially the voluminous waste by-product of early energy production industries in Scotland, were conceived within a synthesis of methods originally developed by the Artist Placement Group (APG) 1965 – 89 and the proclivities of this controversial artist. This article builds on Richardson (2012) and links with curatorial research (Hudek, Ravens Row, 2012), (Walker, 1976, 1994) and onsite environmental research (Harvie, 2005), to contextualise various items within the Artist Placement Group Archive at Tate Britain’s Hyman Keitman Research Centre. Richardson explains why Latham’s reimagination of these sites as ‘monumental process sculptures’ one of which he renamed Niddrie Woman (1976), have such resonance. He considers their methodological context and their future conservation as sculptural monuments, and how their continued recognition in the artworld is increasingly dependent on their assessment as ‘hotspots’ of biodiversity.

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