In the autumn of 2014, Benedict Phillips travelled between seven locations in the St Helens area, meeting local people to investigate and to discuss their family histories in relationship to World War One. Through this process, photographs, letters, and objects were uncovered. Benedict Phillips worked in collaboration with an archaeologist, a sound recordist, and computer programmer to develop an interactive artwork which gives access to unique and fragile World War One ephemera and memorabilia.
The project produced three outcomes: first, an interactive digital display cabinet of rare World War One documents and photographs; second, a website containing a touchscreen version of this interactive digital display cabinet; and third, a book “Here, Now and Looking Back; St Helens 1914 – 1918”.
“Here Now and Looking Back; St Helens 1914 – 1918” is a book which charts the artist’s journey travelling across the northern part of St Helens. The book contextualises the creative process. It includes an introduction by the artist and has extensive notes on the photographic record presented in the book. There is also an essay by archaeologist John Oxley, FSA, that examines some of these artefacts in relation to the idea of contemporary archaeology.
The book is concerned with the idea of photography as a transmitter of information and as a tool for communication across the ages. It examines this by showing us photographs of the places in which the research and where the exchange between the artist and the community took place.
It represents and explores the shift within photography from the position where the photograph was a rare artefact produced and reproduced through physical means to the position today where photography is ubiquitous and can be reproduced without limit through digital means.
The book tries to show us where we are now as we look back 100 years. The book will allow people in the future to understand more about who we are now as well as knowing more about the people from 1914-1918 who are represented in it.
Title: Here, now, and looking back: St Helens 1914-1918
Author: Benedict Phillips
Additional contributor: John Oxley
Design: GB Graphics
Publication date: May 2015
Published by: POpublishing
Edition size: 96 (not 100 as in the book, due to inability of Berforts to print 100 copies)
Format: Hardcover, Black Paper
Size: 25.2 x 19.2 cm
Number of pages: 112
Type of printing: Digital, colour
Number of images:
Price: £45 inc P&P