02 & 03 June 2023
Out of Place Artefacts, was a duo exhibition by Ben Hartley & Buoys Buoys Buoys. Lo! Artefacts from a lost history and a speculative future; relics and sigils; they take you now on an otherworldly journey into a space where time is in flux. Explore how the past becomes shrouded in mystery, where legends and stories form.
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Throughout the exhibition, the artists ask the question, how do everyday objects become vessels for myths and legends?
OOPARTs is an abbreviation for ‘out of place of artefacts’, objects of historical,
archaeological or cultural importance found in a location that challenges the established
historical timeline. OOPARTs are usually found to be hoaxes created by people with an
agenda, such as creationists or those in search of fame who fabricated a story to fit a
The exhibition opens with a quote from Ursula K. Le Guin’s essay “The Carrier Bag Theory
of Fiction” painted onto the wall using mud from the River Avon and pink dye made from red
cabbage. In the essay, she states that many thinkers feel that the earliest cultural invention
was a container to hold gathered things, during the time that humans were hunter gatherers.
Le Guin redefines storytelling as a cultural technology, as carrier bags for culture. The artists
are influenced by Le Guin’s ideas, and interested in the way that stories act as vessels, or
seeds, for cultural and folk beliefs.
The artists’ work for the exhibition has involved creating vessels and other artefacts from a
fictionalised past and a speculative distant future. Buoys Buoys Buoys’ works reimagines
prominent Welsh artefacts. Such as the Nanteos cup, a wooden mazer bowl that is said to
have been made from the cross on which Jesus was crucified. It is attributed with
supernatural healing powers, despite no record existing before the 19th century.
Ben Hartley is a Bristol based artist primarily working in sculpture and installation.
Harnessing their perpetual state of eco-anxiety and preoccupation with material waste, for the last four years Ben’s practice has been centred around experimenting with low-impact, non-extractive and ecologically sustainable approaches to art-making with a focus on sculptural practice. Informed by the self-initiated method of working the Circular Practice, research, mapping, visual histories and speculative fiction, Ben is interested in telling stories through objects and materials.
@ben_hart9 | www.benhartley.art
Johnny Jones, also known as Buoys Buoys Buoys is a Swansea born bard working in live performance, sculpture, and interactive installation.