Monthly Archives: December 2013

This post has been annoying me for weeks, sitting my drafts because I don’t know what to do with it so I may as well just get it out there.

Adaptation, translation, transmission, assemblage, replication, reenactment and contamination.

What artist wouldn’t want a factory of workers helping to create your work with only you being recognised as  the soul author of the work. My tutor made an interesting comparison with the connection this method has with that of the old renaissance artists having apprentices. The only problem I would say I have with that is the direction of knowledge, in that relationship it is passed down in a one way system, Eliasson needs a two way system, hes creating ideas (like most of us) and needs help from professionals to produce them, to see whats possible. When your working in the realm of contemporary art then its necessary to seek out help. In my practice I jump from material to material with no prior knowledge of how to use it. I need to learn and the best way to learn is from someone who knows how to use these materials. This is my basic opinion on his situation as an artist but there is obviously more at work. He’s obviously turned the production of art into a business and his studio looks less like a factory and more like an office/studio structure.

So really the best comparison I can make with Eliasson isn’t with the old ways with renaissance apprenticeship but rather a comparison with the film industry. A director can’t make a film on his own, he needs all the help he can get from the people with the right skills. However it then all comes down to credits, and I quite liked this quote from a frieze art talk which I’ve linked to at the bottom. It’s not particularly relevant but its interesting none the less

“There is certainly too many people credited within the credits and that just discredits the whole thing”

I’m not a flopper

Renzo Martens, Enjoy Poverty.

This post follows a previous one where I struggled with the idea of using certain locations as subject matter in my work.

As part of the seminars I had to interview a person pretending to be Renzo Martens. A fun exercise which lead me to some realizations. Firstly it isn’t possible to just explain away your work as just being art, its becoming more and more apparent that art has to be more conscious in what it does and you do have to explain your work in other contexts and fields such as sociology. Also who has the right to make work about certain subjects. I’ve been producing beds, model beds. These are only around 24cm at there longest edge, small objects but they do carry a lot of weight. They are replicas of beds used to torture prisoners in the era of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. I have been trying to combine them with another structure I found in Leith which I have been finding difficult to do. They are strong objects in there own right and I feel it degrades them to place them in this other structure especially after this task with Renzo Martens. Who has the right to use, not another countries, but another peoples history. I’ve been told of outrage in Ireland relating to a similar situation. the Art was made about a very personal history by an outsider, is it morally right to do this or is it not his place. In that particular case I was informed the show was indeed powerful and extremely impressive. I feel to work with this subject matter I can’t just throw these two places together without just cause, or at least more consideration. Perhaps next semester I will have a better understanding of where to take this project.

James and I had a little joke about this the other day. He says when he was in his undergrad they did a thing called ‘the sticky tape test’. Not sure if its a universal thing or not but its the only way to describe these photos.



suspension experiment


While I sit here typing this structure is being suspended in this position with thee tables in position and this could be a sleepless night. The tables are stacked to make sure that if it does fall (touch wood it doesn’t) it won’t fall very far. I felt more when I was there watching. This is both exciting and terrifying for me. I’ve started to gain an affinity for this object and although one of the points of this piece is the idea of ‘perpetual perishing’ every material thing has a life span and the idea of it slowly slipping into ruin, crumbling away is part of the work, its part of the idea. However after focusing so much on this piece leaves me with a strong attachment to the thing. Also I’ve gained a sense of achievement on being able to create something which before starting at ECA I wouldn’t have contemplated doing because of the level of difficulty involved so it would be a shame to lose that by finding a pile of rubble. So hears hoping it survives!!!

A new Maquette was the focus of this group crit. After my realization that it wasn’t quite working connecting these two structures I began to investigate the Leith structure differently. I have always done research into the history and made sculptures that reflect this research or a more personal experience with the buildings. This maquette wasn’t about that as much, its a physical dissection of the structural elements. This originally stemmed from the materialism article for a seminar a few weeks back. Damien Ortega’s Cosmic Thing, a vw beetle structurally taken apart  and suspended by wire in the pose of a technical exploded drawing. I wanted to experiment with not knowing a structure but instead play with what physically made it what it is. The space it has and the space it occupies. The levels stack themselves, they pile one on top of the other, Walls appear to have clipped together in huge concrete blocks.

This Maquette does not portray the exact exterior dimensions but rather an imagined realization of the vast inhabitable space on each level. Suspended on string these boundaries are movable. sliding apart like a childs toy to form different formations adding notions of playfulness.

This Maquette has lead me to my open studio idea. I have created a larger piece which is one level from the structure. Cast in concrete and suspended between the two walls in my studio. This is also a reflection of the ‘perpetual perishing’ that David Harvey talks about. The solid structure isn’t immune from decay, time deals with that. This is a frozen moment, a floating piece of concrete having it suspended creates a sense of tension, it can’t stay in this position forever it is in a form of ‘perpetual perishing’.

The Cantilever Principle

This image appeared on my facebook feed courtesy of  Lost Edinburghs facebook page.

Circa 1890 these three men demonstrate the cantilever principle using this human experiment. I am tempted to try this human experiment if  I can get volunteers. The other reason for posting this is in relation to what I am trying to do for open studios. I am trying to suspend a structure in my space, a rather heavy structure which is making things difficult. Its creating extra challenges, I do see this as a stepping stone piece which can lead to more elaborate works now I have some experience with the materials I will be looking to expand on this knowledge and be even more adventurous in my work and processes.