Exhibit Home

Mary Butts and Douglas Goldring taking a drink on the continent, 1920s

Welcome to the performance - an exhibit under construction

This digital exhibit explores British modernist author Mary Butts's letters to friend and fellow writer Douglas Goldring (Fresh from the archive! University of Victoria Special Collections)

or it will explore this. . .

and it already kind of does . . .

even as you read this small piece of an exhibit still under construction. (You can see a photo of Butts and Goldring, to the left of this text, sharing a drink on the continent in the 1920s - and posing for the camera.)

Butts's various works exude a sense of performance, often infused with the rhythms of ritual, dance, and jazz (See her modernist masterpiece, Armed with Madness [1928]), while the gossip that captures Butts in 1920s France suggests something of a performer in a writer out on the town in the cafes and clubs of Paris and French Riviera, with the likes of Jean Cocteau, Alec Waugh, Christopher Wood, Isadora Duncan, and Nina Hamnett.

Our exhibit, then, not only explores Butts's letters through the lens of performance, our construction of the site is a performance itself - an enlivening of the digital spaces in front of you.

You can watch these spaces move, configured and reconfigured over the coming weeks (There maybe some bad moves; we hope they'll be some good ones). It's a bit experimental.

Slowly, you too will be able to move through the exhibit spaces - though as they develop, they may move on you.

Gaze at each exhibit "display case," conscious of your own movement through the exhibit, and perhaps discover something unexpected, leaping out at you from a hidden corner.

Our exhibit will explore Butts's letters to Goldring and track "lines of flight" out from these, towards other works, places, authors, theories. We will consider how letters and the archive itself might be read as performance.

The performance begins today, Thursday 20 October 2022 at 2pm, and will end at 5pm Christmas Eve.

We will be tracking, pondering, and recording the construction of the exhibit on twitter as well - another line of flight in this performance. Follow us @UvicButts