Recreating history is what multimedia artist Susan MacWilliam does best. Originally from Belfast, MacWilliam is visiting Winnipeg as an artist-in-residence to research and recreate one of the photos from the T.G. (Thomas Glendenning) Hamilton exhibit. She is currently an artist-in-residence with Winnipeg’s Aceartinc.
The T.G. Hamilton photograph collection, located in Archives and Special Collections on the University of Manitoba’s Fort Garry campus, details Dr. T.G. and Lillian Hamilton's investigations of psychic phenomena in their Winnipeg home between 1918 and 1945.
The entirety of the collection has been digitized with the exception of duplicate photographs of the same image. It includes digital reproductions of photographs, stereo photographs, slides, as well as some accompanying textual records. MacWilliam hopes to recreate one of the photos from the Hamilton exhibit for the Venice Biennale.
The Venice Biennale is a major contemporary art exhibition that takes place once every two years in Venice, Italy. In 2007, over 300,000 visitors walked through the event.
“Working in Winnipeg with this archive is really quite phenomenal to me,” said MacWilliam. “There will be an artwork created within the next few months from Hamilton as part of the Venice Biennale, likely in the form of a video. I want to recreate what I’ve researched – that’s my goal.”
For over ten years, MacWilliam has been developing work that delves into the paranormal, the supernatural and perceptual phenomena. Incorporating research into parapsychology, psychology, physiology, photography and optical viewing devices, she explores ideas about the visible and the invisible; about vision, perception, reality through the investigation of individual case histories and myths.
Her videos and photographs have been reviewed extensively in such journals as Art Monthly, CIRCA, Source, New York Arts Magazine, The Guardian, The Irish Times and Contemporary Visual Arts.
MacWilliam still lives in Belfast and is a lecturer in the Fine Art Department of the National College of Art and Design. She is member of the Board of Directors of Visual Artists Ireland and Source Photographic Magazine.
Click here to visit MacWilliam’s homepage.