TMP How Things Work front cover COVER small

What were we going to do with a collection of decommissioned research microscopes? Two scanning electron microscopes, one almost completely disassembled, fluorescence microscopes, once state-of-the-art, that generated the images underpinning the international recognition of a generation of neuroscientists at Flinders University, a whole room of ancillary preparatory equipment and spare parts?

… and then there was all their supporting documentation: schematic diagrams and plans, manuals, advertising brochures, catalogues, certifications of performance, packing lists.

Some of the texts were so powerful, they needed only to be sampled and edited according to a pre-determined rule. Others formed the core of a new piece of writing. And in cases where we lacked any clear documentation, new texts were invented, imagining, re-imagining how things might have been, who might have been involved, how things might look, how things work…

Over more than 12 months, Ian Gibbins, Catherine Truman, Deb Jones, Angela Valamanesh and Nicholas Folland collaborated with these elements in the unique shared environment of The Distillery to create The Microscope Project, exhibited at the Flinders University Art Museum & City Gallery, 26th July – 21st September, 2014, and curated by Fiona Salmon and Madeline Reece.

How Things Work, features poems, fictions and text sampled from the microscope manuals, schematic diagrams and advertising brochures by Ian. The texts are complemented by full colour images by Catherine Truman, Deb Jones and Ian.

Here are some sample pages:

getting started web
thesaurus book 3.3
Box 11 web1


How Things Work is accompanied by a CD Microscope Music featuring several of the texts set to music generated from parts of the microscopes, their images, or even the texts themselves. Listen to Microscope Music here.

You can buy How Things Work and Microscope Music via PayPal at the Shop.