Initial forays into the archive in the Tennyson Research Centre, Lincoln, have generated a series of new artworks by Bennett that explore both 'viewing' and 'access' in the context of the archive's systems and processes, as well as revealing the lives of Alfred Lord Tennyson's various relatives.
The wider project - Bummock, which focuses on the unseen or lesser known parts of five archives as catalysts for the creation of new artworks - is the context for Bound in which an excess of 'snake weights' (lead filled cotton cords used in archives to gently hold precious books open) have been arranged on a book of Tennyson's 'The Princess' (1847) to reveal significant lines of poetry.
The poem was written following a conversation with Emily Sellwood, his future wife, regarding the Victorian debates about women's lack of access to higher education, with the expectation being marriage and motherhood. The background fabric is a reproduction of a scrap of Tennyson's grandmother's wedding dress, the rest of which was apparently cut up and used to decorate the walls of the Tennyson family home at Somersby.
The three year artistic research project Bummock will culminate in a major exhibition with Andrew Bracey and Danica Maier at The Collection, Lincoln in 2021.
N.B. The 'Bummock' is the large part of an iceberg hidden beneath the surface of the sea.