Amy Houghton is a Professional artist based in the southwest region of the UK. Her work currently uses animation, video and porcelain to explore the hidden and revealed histories and stories related to old textiles and photographs placed in the context of our lives in the present.

Amy Houghton’s practice involves exploring how we use and read antique textiles and photographs as stimuli for nostalgic longing, as indicators of our authenticity and as a tool to search for origin and as a connection to reality. Her particular focus in this area has been in the reading of indexical evidence found in these objects or part objects that are removed from their context, i.e. absent from their owner and without the full knowledge of the objects’ experiences.

Houghton has been exploring the processes of forensic and playful discovery and creation of narratives from the reading of evidence of events and happenings evident in the impressions, use and age of objects gathered from second hand charity shops, junk shops, markets, eBay and archives. The specific types of antique objects that she chooses to use are textile objects (usually garments); and negatives or photographs whose images reference textiles and other crafts. She chooses these objects because of the indexicality of their image and/or wear and tear.

Houghton’s work involves pseudo forensic and archaeological processes to examine and reanimate, through stop frame and video animation, the textiles and photographs she has collected in an attempt to get them to unravel and reveal their stories and bring them to life. Through the process of forensically unpicking garments she has attempted to discover their construction and use. She uses reminiscence techniques and free associative writing from archive material to speculate about the absent owner and events the object has been through. She is interested in the concept of questioning the boundaries between reality and fiction in a narrative and finds it motivating to consider the ways in which a semi fictional narrative can be created from the reading of physical objects through processes of scientific analysis, educated speculation and subjective and collective memory.

Through digital video manipulation Houghton animates partial elements of photographs. Houghton desires access to the photo’s story and explores the seduction and impossibility of accessing the truth of the past through its attempted animation.

As well as trying to reanimate garments and photographs, another method of Houghton’s practice has been creating 3D stills of textile objects by transforming textiles into porcelain. Here she freezes a moment in the life of fabric whereas in her video animations of photographs she reanimates part of an image that has already been captured at a specific point in time. Both of these expressions show us a presence of absence. In this way her practice is concerned with the shifting of tense and time, from freezing, fossilizing and creating snapshots of moments by transforming textiles into porcelain, through to the animation of the fabric and needle within a photographic negative of a woman sewing.

Amy’s use of porcelain and video animation once-removes the audience from the objects and invites questioning about their meaning and the time in which they exist. The use of new media places the historic objects that she uses in her practice firmly within the present, and her porcelain works are a reminder of the fragility and impermanence of time, offering an opportunity to pause within the fast pace of contemporary culture.