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In-heritage research group project with Pollocks Toy Museum and Shop which was all going to plan until the Museum suddenly closed in 2022 giving the work unexpected new meaning

Talking Toys
I am fascinated by toys and models. As a kid I won a national competition for model-making. I was in a model making club and specialised in making and painting dioramas - scale representations of a fragment of a world, showing an event, object, people and/or places in context.

In my early research career I built models for Virtual Reality worlds. In 2004 as part of RIBA Architecture Week I used my research into the Model Village to deliver guided tours of Beckonscot Model Village.

These interests and experiences are interlinked in my current exploration of Worldbuilding as design - a process of prototyping design ideas by understanding design proposals as interconncted and reciprocal in the shaping of worlds.

Dialogic Models
Marrika Trotter in a talk for the recent 'Model Behaviours' exhibition discusses the 'Federated Model' a set of complex models which are inter or co-related or reciprocal models which are part of a larger model or world. For me that is what toys are - a series of models or fragments which form part of a larger world existing in a range of forms and contexts across time and space. They are imaginary and real, personal and shared, they exist in the past present and future.

The placing of toys into a museum creates a new framing and arrangement of multiple worlds into a new world. Collisions and connections of memories, cultures, rituals, material representations of paracosms, fragments, memories.

We may think of such toys and models as a way of performing and testing possible worlds. We can also think of models as records or comemorations of events, places or things.

Persistent Models
With new technology our corelation with models exists in the present and our engagement with them is constant. As Wendy Hui Kyong Chun has revealed " we are now the rats in the maze' we are in the model. where the model is digital and constructed of data. The data is fluid, it is collected and fed back to us - a feedback loop of likes and preferences shaping and reshaping, rehearsing and performing the world as a model.

In order for Artificial Intelligences to create new worlds, they require datasets or 'models' on which to base their speculations. These worlds can also be considered federated made of complex collected data from existing worlds reinterpreted to generate new worlds previously impossible.

The Museum as Artefact Project
The second In-Heritage group project responds to Pollocks Toy Museum, based in central London at No.1 Scala Street, the museum existed for 70 years. It was home to an extensive collection of puppets, optical toys, teddy bears, tin toys, dolls and dolls’ houses, games, folk and traditional toys from around the world.

Point Cloud
On my first visit I conducted some rapid point cloud scans of rooms to record the atmosphere of the space. They are imperfect and quite low resolution with missing areas and gaps. On the day of our second visit in 2022 we were told the Museum was due to close.

Museum as Artefact
I didnt conduct further scans and the building is now empty of objects and the museum shut. The scans now represent a model of the Museum as it was, with the point cloud films now turning the museum into an artefact. The scans are of indeterminate scale and the way the textures are mapped onto the incomplete scans gives them the appearance of a tin toy from the collection.

Capturing and Revealing
The films are a record of my hand movements as I scanned the space. Our view moves like a brush over a wall seeking to cover all surfaces, not like an eye or camera seeking to view specific objects or aspects of the rooms. The replaying of these films is a revealing or revisiting of this act.

Augmented Models
Viewing the pointcloud scans of the museum as an 'augmented reality offers opportunities to inhabit the model at a range of scales and to create new dialogues with the actual space and position of the viewer.

The exhibition of work by the In-Heritage Group took place in Benjamin Pollock's Toyshop
from 14-26th September 2023.

Benjamin Pollock's Toyshop

Pollock's Toy Museum

Anycorp model discussion


Toy Museum 'Rocking Horse' [Double-click the image for full screen]
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Toy Museum 'Simon' [Double-click the image for full screen]
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Toy Museum 'Dolls' [Double-click the image for full screen]
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