A Treasure Hunt for Long-lost Childhood Memories
Based on the historical facts about the Royal College of Art Steven’s Building, this project tells a fictional story took place in the budding during the late Victorian era through fragmented childhood memories. Visitors would use both their visual and haptic perceptions to discover the narrative that is scattered around the building. The project transforms the space into an improvised domestic playground that engages the visitor through playful and hands-on activities.
The RCA Stevens Building was restored in 1992, a conversion from three Victorian houses, No.198, No.199 and No.200 Queens Gate. A 1:40 scale section model of the building is placed in the exhibition space for the visitors to locate where the story takes place before starting their journey of exploring the story. The locations were highlighted by the materiality on site.
The handling object the visitors would take with them from the exhibition space right next to the architectural model is an envelope which features a map, a storybook and a pencil. The visitor would use the enclosed map to locate sites in the building where the story happened.
There is only the beginning and ending of the story in the story book while the content is the reward for the visitors to find out throughout the journey. The visitors would find a metal plaque at each site which corresponds to an image in the story book. Opposite to each image is a blank page where they can make rubbings of the corresponding plaques to reveal fragments of the story. For example, if they find the letter press machine in the building based on the clues from the map and image on the story book, they would find a metal plaque on the machine to make a rubbing and reveal one fragment of the story which happen around the letter press machine.
Solo project. Photo by Xinglin Sun.