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Tree on canvas, Kensington, London, Photo: AMH Nicholson 2020.

Park-ive does London

Exploring themes that connect to Park-ive :Volume One to the wider picture of  how archives are constructed and viewed. London is a melting pot of both traditional institutions and modern spaces that hold archives. Many museums, galleries, libraries as well as  the wider city its self hold great collections of historical information, physically, digitally and emotionally. 

Though this is only touching on these connections in a short period of time, this trip is a catalyst for further research, idea generation and exploration of the archive. 

Hyde Park, London, Photo: AMH Nicholson 2020

Amongst the trees exhibition

What an eye opener, this is how archiving the natural world could look like. Not rows of shelves underground or mountain of grey boxes but a creative adaptation of  the natural world, in this case focusing on trees. An exciting eclectic mix of video installation, painting, photography, sculpture and so much more. One of the take aways from this showcase was can we really illustrate the vastness and beauty of our natural world, can it really be preserved in folders or in moving image. 

Are we inept at truly capturing the natural world on our terms, on human terms?

 Photo: AMH Nicholson 2020 - 2-3, Eva Jospin, Foret Palantine 2019-20. 

 Photo: AMH Nicholson 2020 - 6-7 , Eija-Liisa Ahtilab. 1959, Hämeenlinna, FinlandHorizontal – Vaakasuora, 2011 

 Photo: AMH Nicholson 2020 - 4-5, Johanna CalleNispero (Árbol), 2016Typed text on vintage paper32.48h x 32.48w in82.50h x 82.50w cm

 Photo: AMH Nicholson 2020 - 8-10, Various artists Amongst the trees exhibition, Hayward gallery, 2020. 

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Radiotherapy mask, Science Museum, Photo : AMH Nicholson 2020.

Archives come in many forms, this example of a radiotherapy mask used fro throat cancer is no different. Making up part of a wider medical collection at the National Science Museum, London. Showcasing how somewhat normal physical artefacts do hold memory, store emotion and evoke responses when seen out of context. The importance made clear when seeing this particular object in this setting, illustrates the raw power of an archive.

https://learning.sciencemuseumgroup.org.uk/resources/radiotherapy-mask/  - 3D virtual resource working in conjunction with the physical piece displayed in the museum, this combination is a fantastic way of how the physical and digital archive can harmonise. 

Radiotherapy mask, Science Museum, Photo : AMH Nicholson 2020.


Selection of archives 1- 4, Science Museum, London. Photo : AMH  Nicholson 2020.

Model of the 1922 Shukhov radio tower, Science Museum, London. Photo : AMH  Nicholson 2020.

https://collection.sciencemuseumgroup.org.uk/objects/co8364087/model-of-the-1922-shukhov-radio-tower-architectural-model - Combined with the video of the making of the model seen in the museum produced in 2014. 

Visually representing the theme of communication and design is difficult, something that has been done well with the Shukhov radio tower. Design re-created with a scale model and original photographs is a creative way to archive such a unique piece of history, something that has existed but is brought back to life with excellent story telling. Park-ive can adapt its own archives to make sure their audiences can benefit from multichannel visual story telling, turning a 2-D mode into a 4-D experience with the help of moving image, digital and traditional methods of delivery.  

Model of the 1922 Shukhov radio tower, Science Museum, London. Photo : AMH Nicholson 2020.

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The Gordon museum of pathology, London Bridge, London.


The art of preservation and the science of  locking history in the moment is most effectively portrayed  at The Gordon museum of pathology, taken to another level of complexity, depth and vastness. Interestingly for me the criminology section held my fascination the most, a collection from history and for it, but created for justice. Clues held within those items unlocking dark secrets, the archive moves through simply being a piece of evidence for a crime but to a learning tool that benefits people long after the court case has finished. Perhaps more of a social viewpoint on a particular time or place told through the frame of a crime, another way in which archives are simply not just data tell of the inception of the moment. 

The Gordon museum of pathology, Criminology artefacts,  Sketches : AMH Nicholson, 2020.

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The Wellcome Collection, Euston Square, London.


Being human exhibition & Wellcome Collections

Banking on the future



The inclusion of various seed bank archives illustrates the importance of their worth. Along with the London freedom seed bank examples, seed specimens from the Svalbard global seed vault included and locally collected versions to emphasis the international effort to protect plant life. In particular the longevity of the food crop with the ever changing climates this stores or living archives are a vital life line. 

Seed speciemens 8, Photo : AMH Nicholson, 2020.

A touch of glass



Glass artist Johen Holz and Designers Kellenberger-White creating a title piece for the exhibition Being human that taps into the touch we leave that connects us to works long after we are gone. The use of the irregular glass to mimic a natural human like form, to the warm glow given from changing the gas used inside. showing off this subtle but impactful way to collaborate with simple design and craftsmanship. 

Being human glass sign 5-7, Photo : AMH Nicholson, 2020.

Collections of archives

Archive  artists & projects :




@alecio.untitled  @flos





Park-ive is striving to push how archives are seen, perception is half of the battle in bringing this art form to the foreground. The Wellcome Collection does this beautifully, from well labelled and designed library to displaying rare but odd items such as a guillotine. The mastery involved in choosing, how you light, the type of collections in which you show is three quarters of the fight to make sure everyone has the opportunity to have a viewpoint, express an opinion and learn. 

Archives various The Wellcome collection 1-4, Photo : AMH Nicholson, 2020.

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The photographers gallery, Oxford Circus,London.


A visual representation of space, defining it in a way that is devoid of the physical earth is something that has been looked at before within my own imaging processes. Within Park-ive initial thoughts of defining green spaces was and still is a question to be answered.

Anton Kusters, Blue skies project. Deutsche Borse foundation Photography Prize. Photo : AMH Nicholson, 2020.


An archive of the void left in history, also an interesting collection if each image was displayed on its own, does it have the same impact? Are the coordinates on each Polaroid enough of a reference and does the power lie in the archive as a whole only?

The Photographers gallery, exhibition guide, Photo : AMH Nicholson, 2020

The use of an instant chemical process of polaroid and the collection of images laid out connects to my thinking of defining something within the physical. A definitive summing up of a "thing" in this case something that is there no more represented but can be seen as filling that space in history.  

Anton Kusters, Blue skies project. Deutsche Borse foundation Photography Prize. Photo : AMH Nicholson, 2020.

left - Royal Geographical Society, Eric Newby exhibit.  Middle - Natural History Museum Foyer, Blue whale skeleton. Right - Tree wrapped around fence, Kensington, London. 

Photo : AMH Nicholson, 2020.

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What is PARK-IVE?

Where urban green spaces meet community through the practice of archiving. A public engagement project connecting people to their green local green havens. 
Park-Iv Volume one is a year long project engaging with communities, green spaces, parks, galleries and institutions in a effort to collect data and build relationships. Along the way I want to be creating content to test theories, ideas and practices to streamline what Park-ive can become  in Volume two.

Using Format