Homage to Mrs Rowlatt 

Lead artist/researchers: Clare Qualmann

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This performative testing of the hypothesis ‘There’s no such thing as black felt tips’ reflects on the role of teachers, education, memory and aesthetics.

Clare Qualmann explains: Mrs. Rowlatt was my science teacher in the first year at secondary school. Although I imagine that this experiment had a different intention and description from the way I have remembered, its visual beauty – the slow reveal of the constituent colours that together ‘pretend’ to be black – mean that it stuck with me.

Through the performance I will endevour to adhere to the scientific principles introduced by Mrs. Rowlatt, as I remember them. I will define the hypothesis (there’s no such thing as black felt tips), I will define the extent/limits of my test (a range of at least 20 different pens will be tested, from a range of brands), I will construct a fair test (my method for testing each pen will be the same).

This piece is intended as the first in a series ‘Everything I learned in science’. As the documentation of the idea originating conversation demonstrates. ‘Mrs. Rowlatt’ was for a while the only thing I could remember.Since then I have had a think, wracked my memory, and future works may include ‘Homage to Mr. Shaw, or Osmosis’ and ‘Homage to Mr. Taylor, or the peanut test’.






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