Assessing Nuances and Focus


I have finished another component of Enshrinement, one of the main works for the final show. there is still so much to do. There is not only the modelling and finishing but firing, setting and mounting, audio and its embedding, testing, packing, photography and so on. As I work on the pieces, ideas come to me and it is hard to stay on the path. I bear in mind what Jonathan says in his Unit 1 Assessment:

As you continue to experiment, adding sound and possibly interaction from the audience, remain flexible, adaptable and willing to discard elements if they don’t absolutely meet your exacting standards or the purpose you need them to fulfil. Obviously, there will continue to be surprising and exciting discoveries that may suggest other paths to explore, choose wisely which to follow. Not everything needs to be resolved in the timespan of the masters, many ideas and concepts will need to continue way beyond the next 8 months.

What I get from this is that I can simplify, clarify, focus my intentions on a single moment and radiate other ideas across many other moments. To realise that the final show is only one moment of many and not try to bring all notions to bear on one single point. So many ideas have come to me over the past months that I have to remind myself of this. I feel the freedom to not complicate matters is a luxury but it is, in fact, a necessity. Fortunately, the core idea is flexible enough to allow me to nuance the work in different ways. The common thread that has led me here is strong enough to withstand such turns of perspective. Above all, I must not confuse things by overcomplicating them.

Jonathan also mentioned that,

… building on a granular approach to time-based media could be a way for you to move forward with your sound work.

This statement underlines an aspect of the work which I have been thinking about. The granularity of the audio takes me back to Ed’s workshop last year. How linear things can be fragmented and reformed to create a different sense of the same content. This idea is consistent with much of what I have been thinking. Breaking the sound and reconstructing it either as a composition, stochastically or most probably a bit of both. This could be a way to introduce the sound element in Enshrinement. The intention would be to trickle notions into the inferences catalysed by the sculptural forms. This is a form of nuance and I feel the acoustic source material is important but less so in the context of the whole: it must serve its function. Is the approach I am taking led by process or content? I feel I am having to carefully pick my way between the two. Making those choices is a honing of two sides of a blade I constantly cut myself on: intended meaning and constructed inference. Central to all this, however, is making and experimenting.

The wrapping above was incidental rather than experimental. It was to keep the porcelain from drying out. But as Jonathan says, there will be ‘surprises and discoveries’ which need to be thought of carefully and used wisely. I do not have time to ramble as in the past fourteen months. It is not easy as I continually work with a paradox, that is, to clarify through ambiguity and ambiguity by definition can lead in many directions. Jonathan pointed this out by quoting me back:

Reality is smooth and simultaneous, granular and causal.

I had forgotten I said this and had to think hard what I meant. Things appear to be infinitely and infinitesimally connected however distant they might be. There is a sequentiality to events, yet things connected happen at the same time. Matter and time can be broken down into component parts, parts of a whole without disconnecting from it. Science tells us this, matter and time are continuous while things are broken into quanta and quarks, and those into strings and granular gravity. The world is split and whole, we experience reality yet we cannot know the true nature of things as we are locked in our way of perceiving. Light appears to behave as discrete particles and continuous smooth waves at one and the same time. Predictability is the illusion of massed random events and the moment at which an inevitable catastrophe on a large scale ensues cannot be pinpointed with any accuracy if at all.

Wrapping inflects the work in a powerful way, as a sacrifice, enigma, suffocation, preciousness; an ambiguity that raises questions and sets me to think deeply about what I am seeing. I also see that it might allow the sound element in the installation to breath; the sound’s granularity permeating the continuous material forms. The sound may or may not be sequential, intended towards a narrative that cannot sit still, being contingent, balanced on the knife’s edge of an imputed catastrophe. A catastrophe made by humans but in the making long before we were ever here: the laws of the universe are immutable.

NB Wrapping reminds me of visiting the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nice where there are a number of drawings and maquettes by Christo who worked with his wife Jeanne-Claude.