Who’s Who: Lindsay Polly Crisp

Who are you and what do you do at the OU? What modules are you involved in/have been involved in?

I’m Lindsay,  a Staff Tutor and Lecturer in art history, which means that alongside my own research and other academic work I help to design and support tuition and assessment, often by working directly with tutors and students. I also worked for about 15 years as a tutor specialising in teaching beginning-level modules in the Arts and Humanities, including AA100: The arts past and present, and A105: Voices, texts and material culture. I have been a module team member of AA100, A105, and A111: Discovering the arts and humanities, and am excited to be contributing to A236, a new Level 2 module in art history.

What are your main research areas?

I’m interested in materiality and mediality in contemporary art – that is, how the materiality of objects enable them to tell a story or to be ‘read’ like a text, and relatedly, how thinking about the material form of various kinds of written texts helps us to reach new understandings of how they work, or what they do in the world.

What Open Arts Objects films have you done? Are they related to your research or a module?

I only recently joined the Art History Department so haven’t yet made an Open Arts Objects film, but if I did, I might focus on fragmentation. Acts or processes of breaking objects – including art objects – have been important in different ways at different moments, and can help us to reflect upon how we usually expect works of art to be treated.

What did you love most about doing an Open Arts Objects film?

Since I haven’t made one, this question gives me an opportunity to praise my colleagues! So what I love most about watching Open Arts Objects films is seeing these objects or ideas brought to life through their eyes, and vicariously benefiting from their expertise.

What is your most significant publication or latest publication?

I am currently editing my first book, which is about the artwork Break Down (2001) in which Michael Landy oversaw the dismantling and granulation of everything he owned in an abandoned department store at 499 Oxford Street, London. Described by the artist as ‘the ultimate consumer choice,’ the work can also be seen as a kind of portrait – a rather unsparing public dissection of Landy’s life as revealed by his stuff, as a son, an artist, and a shopper.  When Landy dismantles his stuff he makes visible the processes by which they were produced, which relates to ideas about globalisation. Modern labour relations, manufacture and supply chains mean that the most familiar and ‘ordinary’ consumer objects – my toaster, hair-dryer and certainly my mobile phone – could easily have been made in another continent. Could this knowledge change the way that we engage with our own stuff?

Fun fact?

I once went to interview Michael Landy at his studio, and in the course of our conversation his dog completely and systematically destroyed her ball! I like to think she was trying to make some kind of point.

For more information about my publications and research interests, please see my OU people profile.


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