Ghost Station at Bletchley Park (6th October 30th September)


Alan’s Rainbow. Angelo Cerantola 2012:


"My portrait of Alan Turing is based on one of his classic photographic portraits, re-visited and given a personal contemporary interpretation. I've used an ASCII-style graphic make-over both as a reference as well as tribute to his pioneering work in the fields of mathematics and cryptography... letters and numbers that can be read, in a playful and "retro" fashion, almost as secret codes waiting to be deciphered. The rainbow trail hints at his contribution to a peaceful outcome of the WW2 conflict as well as more intimate aspects of his personal life marred by a tragic epilogue.”

Adrian Lee: 'Polari' - Adrian Lee:
Polari is a secret language used in Britain by marginalised groups, whose origins can be traced back to at least the 19th century. It is a mixture of London slang, Italian, backslang, rhyming slang, sailor slang, and thieves’ can’t. Codes, secret languages; who needs them and why? Who are the good guys and who are the bad guys and which side are you on?
Enamel sign on steel

Untitled,  Lloyd Hughes: Untitled (Acrylic Print) from the series 9x9 Arrangement(s)


Lloyd Hughes


That my work is a celebration of automated information, finding a unique beauty within numbered information, the endeavor - I would say that has been helped by my understanding of what happened at institutions like Bletchley. Learning about the endeavors of people like Alan Turing and co were and in some ways remain an inspiration (others being mainly Benoit Mandlebrot).  


I feel that what happened there helped motivate so many aspects of post war technology and our understanding of the possibilities that they eventually filtered through the main stream and that of sub pop art movements like Op Art in the sixties which requires patience and a basic level of understanding of pattern.  


Maybe Bletchley’s legacy, artists that know of, and have drawn on their persistence and have been compelled to make artworks the way we do. The processes share common frustrations, the constant re-examination of finished works to iron out any imperfections which really re-iterates the notions of 'human error'.  


I’m not any sort of maths wiz or an expert on Bletchley, but like many people I'm aware of its role and feel what happened there swung the course of WW2 in our favour and therefore, in my opinion, owe it the luxuries we enjoy today. In my current practice I aim to celebrate patterns and puzzles via my viberate paintings and installations, people engage in numerous ways, with admiration as the time consuming nature of them is evident and sometimes even negatively as they try to negotiate the coloured patterns, some find them difficult to look at as a result.

Bradley Hayman creates abstract paintings that contain hidden messages. With his work at Bletchley Park visitors will be able to become code breakers themselves, using their smartphone, reflecting on the artist’s past site-specific installations. Hayman’s work combines traditional painting media with contemporary digital media in the form of QR or Quick Response Codes. By introducing colour into these abstract patterns, Hayman creates a new visual language. What would otherwise be indecipherable can be interpreted by combining the new technology with the virtually obsolete technology of a pair of red and blue stereoscopic 3D glasses.


Bradley Hayman graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London with a BA in Fine Art (Studio Practice and Contemporary Critical Studies) in 2008 and has exhibited at The Sassoon Gallery, Peckham, London (2009), with Q-Art London at the University of the Arts, London and APT Gallery, Deptford, London (2009), and with Angry Candy at Corsica Studios, London (2006).

Automatic Writing - Hannah Elizabeth Allan:


March 28 2012 | The Archive of Miss Alder: 


” These items originate from the archive of the Spiritualist medium Miss Mary Alder, who worked prolifically between 1899 – 1902 before suddenly withdrawing from the church and public view. Miss Alder chose not to participate in the theatrical séance performances of the time (despite great demand), instead she worked very specifically – contacting the spirits using the technique of automatic writing on the reverse of photographic prints of the deceased. Miss Alder’s decision to retire so abruptly was considered both out of character and surprising by her many followers.
Miss Alder died as Mrs Mary Sutton in 1941 aged 57. The small archive of writings, images and correspondence was faithfully kept by her niece, Annette Alder, and has recently been rediscovered with the assistance of her descendants.
Artefacts displayed with the kind permission of the Alder – Sutton family.”
Read and respond.
The manner of production and representation removing the objects from contemporary experience into the realm of the other, of the archive, collection, curiosity. The scrawl of a shaking hand, a wry smile to the fraudster, one step removed. The naive viewer’s faith in the intangible ether replaced with positivist certainty in the material evidence.
The faith of the museum.
The work encounters a new set of belief in the institution. The curator/medium: a faceless voice guiding you through the work, a panel to your left explains everything. A trust in the authenticity and given narrative of the museum. Indisputable evidence displayed by the custodians. The truth that exists through objects concrete and unchanging, of the rational realm, even if irrationally created. A nod to the superstitions of past generations, respectfully described – a different time, displaced faith.
Narrative finds its proof within the archive. Objects manipulated and connections implied, framed with a false authority.
The tone of explanation eases into a context, an infallible archival display. A creeping unease where the institution is found lacking, that the keepers have been rewriting. The contents must be of value, of genuine origin.
If the context is an authentic one, does the provenance of the materials matter? We view a copy with a devalued gaze only once the origin is discovered. Every exhibit, every object a set of signs and signifier, whose value lies in where they point to. Remnants seep through representing a sort-of-truth. A liminal space between document and fiction. At the perimeter of authenticity, the uncertainty of the archive.
This alternative archive of acknowledged stand-ins will be one that points to the overlooked, outside of the official narrative, the individual, deeper and more complex than that of the folk regime with its aesthetic objects of the everyday. Defined by signs, by pointers, the production and origin of materials is unimportant – marking a place is key, the event of noting. A trace within the skewed museum acknowledged by the faceless curator, given authenticity. 
Station X
Station X offers a multi-sensory insight into the disused buildings of Bletchley Park, in particular to that of Blocks C and D, which are awaiting renovation. This exhibition documents the visual and aural histories imbued in the very fabric of the buildings, before they are lost when the renovation takes place. 
Four artists were granted special access to document these highly atmospheric buildings, which are usually inaccessible to the public owing to their dangerous state of repair. Over the period of a year, the artists endured extremely harsh conditions whilst working in rooms that have been unventilated and only occupied by rats and pigeons for decades. 
The exhibition is the result of a unique collaboration between sound artist Caroline Devine, photographer Rachael Marshall, fine artist Maya Ramsay and filmmaker Luke Williams. Together they provide a contemporary interpretation of Station X; this includes work made from surfaces lifted from the walls of the buildings, recordings of sounds produced by and within the decaying buildings and photographic and filmed documentation of the buildings.
In some of the buildings it appears as if the workers have just downed tools and left; a rusty coat hanger swings on a hook with a name scrawled on it and diagrams lie in a file covered in mould. Others provide fascinating insights into what happens when nature is left to its own devices in a building for two and a half decades. 
The Station X exhibition was first shown in May 2012 at MK Gallery Project Space, where it was the subject of three BBC interviews, including a prime time feature on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
‘Austere Drawings Number 1’ (Graphite on lining paper 2012) Julia Colquitt Roach
Women of Bletchley - Austere Drawings focusses upon the roles of women at Bletchley Park during the Second World War; from the cleaner and the cook to the very skilled university graduates
About - Ghost Station at Bletchley Park (6th October 30th September)

Curated by Beverley Bennett / Dennis Da Silva, Ghost Station was an exhibition from ArtHertz staged at Bletchley Park - the home of code breaking during World War II and the birthplace of modern technology. The month long event was part of the Milton Keynes Heritage Open Days - Summer of Culture 2012 and explored themes of codes, code-breaking and messages, Alan Turing, the role of pigeons and women in World War II. The exhibition also explored the ongoing ArtHertz agenda of the analogue / digital distinction. Ghost Station also included the critically acclaimed collaborative piece, Station X (featured on BBC Radio 4) - an installation that documents the Bletchley buildings with sound, film, photography and surfaces