Signs & Wonders

Katie Etheridge, Simon Persighetti & Phil Smith

Signs & Wonders originally took place between 16 – 19 August 2012 in a series of public walks, visitations and live expositions in Lancaster and Newchurch-in-Pendle. Using the notion of the pedlar as a carrier of multiple viewpoints, Katie Etheridge, Simon Persighetti & Phil Smith peddled ideas through trade, exchange and conversations. Along city streets, in the marketplace and down country tracks they distributed specially commissioned strange tokens and wondrous pamphlets: Future Archaeology by Helen HockinPortable Museums by Ian Reveley, and Discoverie Pamphlet designed by Tony Weaver.

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How do we invest belief and meaning in the objects and signs we make, use and come across in our daily lives?

In August 2012, a Signs & Wonders stall appeared in Lancaster Charter Market, displaying 400 artworks designed and made by Helen Hockin. The clay and wax artefacts contained plant materials gathered from a significant location near Newchurch-in-Pendle.

These objects generated many conversations with members of the public who pledged to hide or display them as a way to consider a sign or image as something that accrues multiple meanings and beliefs. At the stall people shared accounts of strange or intriguing objects that they had found hidden in their houses. It is hoped that some of the Signs & Wonders objects will be discovered in the future to generate new stories, meanings and perhaps ambiguities and misinterpretations.

Signs & Wonders was originally commissioned by Green Close with Live at LICA for the highly successful Lancashire Witches 400 programme – a series of diverse creative events and outcomes exploring the heritage of the Lancashire Witches, the 400th anniversary of their trial and execution, and the enduring issue of persecution today.