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Martha McGuinn

MA work

Everything in Slices

What is the future of preservation? Throughout history, people have used silicon in some form to perpetuate ideas, information and knowledge through time. Some of the very first human relics are flint tools which have carried information about our ancestors through thousands of years. The base of modern computing is the silicon chip. Both of these have silicon as their base, and share more than that. 

Everything in Slices is a project that is investigating the similarities of these and many more examples of a particular type of preservation. As it becomes easier, cheaper and quicker to generate 3D digital models of objects, are we moving towards a time where preservation is no longer about keeping the object physically intact, but rather, about preserving what it means or what it stands for? Does this represent a more true, and historic type of preservation?

To investigate this, I have designed and made a machine that uses photogrammetry (the layering and stitching together of photographs) to generate 3D models of artefacts donated by museums. After the artefacts have been scanned, they are sent to the base of the machine where they are crushed. What is lost of the artefact if its image is stored digitally and its material is preserved in a compressed form? 

All of the objects to be scanned and crushed have been donated by UK museums. A film documenting the process of acquiring these objects will be shown alongside the machine. 


  • MA Degree


    School of Design


    MA Design Interactions, 2016

  • My work explores themes of memorial, preservation and heritage. I am currently looking at what preservation has been, is now and might be in the future, focusing on materials, methods and intentions. I am investigating the relationship between destruction and preservation. My work is related to, entangled and engaged with contemporary events. I work most frequently with film, text and physical structures. 
  • Degrees

  • BA History of Art, University of Manchester, 2009; Chippendale School of Furniture, East Lothian, 2010
  • Experience

  • London Design Festival, 2010 and 2011; Sebastian Bergne, 2011 - 2012; Jane Withers, 2012; Roy Middleton Interiors, 2012 - 2016
  • Exhibitions

  • Southbank Centre, 2016; Art Licks, 2015
  • Publications

  • Figurehead, KIOSK, 2012; ANTHOLOGY I, II, III, 2013 - 2015; CRAFTS Magaizine, 2012