Additional and alongside her independent practice Danica Maier often works within collaborative frameworks in which she is interested in the balance between giving equivalent priority to both the personal and shared interests. Bummock: New Artistic Responses to Unseen Parts of Archives (since 2015, with Andrew Bracey, University of Lincoln) is among her dialogical collaborative projects in which she pursues her individual practice research. Like the bummock—the largest part of the iceberg hidden under water—archives traditionally contain far more than is accessed. This project seeks to investigate, research and use unseen parts of archives as catalysts for artistic research. The project is examining issues around how artists approach the access to archives differently to standard practice. Using artistic research methods, the “controlled rummage” has been developed by Maier and Bracey to enable access to the “unknown, unknown” within archives and collection—material inaccessible to usual methods.
Through artists’ residencies (involving Maier, Bracey and different invited artists for each archive) within varying archives Bummock will investigate items and documents not regularly brought up for research and public exposure. The aim of the project is to create artistic responses in unexpected ways, to generate new readings, knowledge and artworks. To gain exposure for unseen and/or unvalued parts of archives. How much of stored items and documents are collected but remain unseen or uncatalogued? It is often only the important elements of archives for researchers. To develop new ways researchers access archives, the project seeks to explore and establish new or alternative methods of access to archives and collections. The project will conclude with “flipping the Bummock” allowing these hidden aspects to become a visible “tip” (of the iceberg).
The larger Bummock project is set up to allow individual artist research and exploration to occur. Within Bummock: The Lace Archive (Nottingham, 2017–19)—with Maier, Bracey and invited artist Lucy Renton—Maier’s research developed a series of artistic responses to historical lace “drafts”—schematic diagrams of machine-made lace—which focus on the drawn lines found within the diagrams. Through redrawing, she examined the method of creating the lace through the imperfections in the drawn line, providing new readings of these historical diagrams. Most recently, within Bummock: Tennyson Research Centre (2017–22)‚—with Maier, Bracey and invited artist Sarah Bennett—her independent research focuses on the archive collection of Lord Alfred Tennyson’s great niece Fryn Tennyson Jesse. Maier’s research here highlights histories and narratives that cross between biography and autobiography; exploring Jesse’s legacy and past while intermingled within crossovers with her own family narratives. Through various and specific mediums—biographies, memories, and narratives were examined through iterative processes.