Hear Now and Looking Back

St Helens artwork

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, a wealth of photographs, letters and objects were uncovered. Benedict worked in collaboration with an archaeologist, a sound recordist, and computer programmer to develop an interactive artwork in the form of a display cabinet which gives access to these unique and fragile World War One ephemera and memorabilia. The project also produced a website containing a touchscreen version of the digital display cabinet and a book ‘Here, Now and Looking Back; St Helens 1914 – 1918’.

About the book

‘Here, Now and Looking Back; St Helens 1914 – 1918’ charts Benedict’s journey travelling across the northern part of St Helens and contextualises the creative process. It includes an introduction by the artist and has extensive notes on the photographic record presented in the book. 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 wherein 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.

Collaborators: John Oxley FSA, City of York Archaeologist; Glenn Boulter, sound artist , Artistic Director FON; Andrey Pissantchev, programer.

Thanks to: FACT Liverpool; Cath Shea; Owen Hutchings; Dominic Hopkinson

Links further information:



Exhibited/ displayed: Rainford Library, Billinge Library, Garswood Library, Haydock Library, Central Library, Eccleston Library, and Moss Bank Library


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