Project Proposal

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Version 5


To merge creation myths and evolutionary ideas in layered narratives inflected with a sense of the sacred, exploring the tension between the ancestral animal self and the Anthropocene human self, arising out of their separation and indissoluble connection.


Making narratives concrete in porcelain, text and sound.

Researching and developing ways of encoding and embedding the narratives into a resolved body of work

Exploring a variety of digital and non-digital strategies to create different modes of engagement

Explore the role of sound in altering a still sculpture’s passivity vis a vis the recipient.

Create an installation that experiments with curatorial ideas and fosters a diversity of interpretations through layered meanings.


Contemporary and Modern

Artists – dealing with the deep past, using a variety of modalities with atavistic perspectives, particularly sound, sculpture, virtual reality and words, including Marguerite Hameau, Mohshin Allayaii, Mimmo Paladino. and Andrew Lord.

Poetry – Ted Hughes and Rebecca Elson – cosmological and existential

Sound – Wolfgang Gil creating invisible forms in which geometry is delineated with sound.

Science Fiction – Philip K. Dick – political, social and philosophical explorations in monopolistic societies; Walter M. Miller Jr. – A Canticle for Liebowitz – the cyclical nature of history and religion vs secularism. Ursula Le Guin – The Left Hand of Darkness – gender in another world.

Studio – shared with Janet Waring Rago in continual conversation and reciprocal interrogation; a chapel in rural Lincolnshire removed from the artificiality of the city amidst a man-made countryside – a paradox reflected in my work which questions the place and effect of humans with respect to Nature of which we are part.

Coronavirus – a newly contingent context emphasising the theme of separation or isolation both physical and spiritual


Evolutionary theories – Dawkins, Gould, Darwin, Pinker, E. O. Wilson and others.

Evolutionary Space – A term coined in the Research Statement which describes art practice as a complex boundless system continually adapting to an ever-changing ecosystem in contact with other ecosystems.

Rasa – the Indian aesthetic system of emotions or feelings that cannot be described; somewhat similar to qualia but more complex.

Process Philosophy – everything is continually changing as a cornerstone of reality linking with the contentious but poetic notion of panpsychism.

John DeweyArt in Experience. Art and its meaning, contextually residing in how it is perceived and experienced rather than in the artwork itself.

Martin HeideggerThe Origin of the Work of Art – the relationship between artist, artwork and the world.

Thing Theory – on human-object interactions.

Alfred Gell – the anthropology of the art object as active agent in social interaction by means of a social contract in which it is treated as though it were living – the living presence response.

Kraft von Maltzhan – “Nature as Landscape”, a brief history of knowledge and our changing relationship with nature.

Roberto Mangabeira – human agency and the dynamics between the individual, state and nature.

Gareth Jones The Object of Sculpture, traces the history of the reciprocal relationship between sound, music, sculpture, and architecture.

Wolfgang Gil sonic plasticity. Using sound and its physical geometry in space

On Art – Richard L. Anderson ‘culturally significant meaning skillfully encoded in an affecting sensual medium

Symbiosis – Lyn Margulis, The Symbiotic Planet. We are all composite creatures sharing the same body.


Magic and myth – Graves, The White Goddess; Fraser, The Golden Bough, Lucretius, De Rerum Natura; Aristotle, Plato and pre-Socratics, etc.

Religious and sacred iconography – from around the world and different periods: anthropological and archaeological.

Natural History and Art – Ernst Haeckel, Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka,

Biology – Life processes and structure; connectedness and evolution; traversal and sentience.

Florence – formative period of ten years immersed in the Classical, Humanist, Renaissance, and Romantic culture, engendering a strong sense of the materiality of art both in making, content and experience.

Linnean Society – source of natural historical narratives in the oldest extant natural history society in the world.

Creation Texts – primarily The Bible, Hesiod’s Cosmogony, and Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (or, more completely, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life )


Separation – of the human self from the animal self and nature. Influential texts: Martin Buber, Robert Graves, Richard Dawkins, Kraft von Maltzhan, Lewis-Hamilton, etc.

Metamorphosis – Continuity of substance in a world of constantly changing and cyclical form.

Language – as a vehicle for miscommunication.

Struggle – Life, contingency and inevitability.

The Anthropocene Whatever did the Gardener do to Eden?


In order to make concrete abstract notions of connectedness with the deep past and the animal self, I use words, spoken and inscribed, together with sound, in installations centred around porcelain sculptures. Using these means, I explore the individual in relation to others, the sacred and the animal self. By exploiting the tensions between different modalities and their juxtapositions, I explore how a still sculpture’s passivity in relation to the recipient can be shifted towards a greater agency in affecting the latter’s response when confronting it.

My research is theoretically underpinned by evolutionary biology and aesthetic anthropology, particularly Alfred Gell’s idea of the living presence response. Inspiration is taken from archaeology, the classics and science fiction as well as the poetry of Ted Hughes, the Bible, Hesiod’s Cosmogony and Darwins On the Origin of the Species. I draw from these influences to create narratives that blur the boundaries between creation myths.

I document the process photographically and with video to form a parallel series of works that inform but do not explicate, as do poetic prose written in musings from time to time. The works form a space in which layered and intersecting meanings, catalysing and unfolding a multitude of inferences which fit in different contexts as do the modular components of the body of work.

Notwithstanding its critical framework, my practice is primarily experimental, emerging out of the doing of it; rational planning and reflection are integrated into the poetic responses of making in a holistic process. Each piece informs the next in an evolutionary lineage that can be counted in generations. The sensuousness of working with porcelain heightens my sense of touch and the difficulty of working with it imposes constraints and limitations that challenge and deepen my thinking.

Research Areas

  • techniques and methods
    • modelling
    • carving
    • digital
    • voice
    • video
    • text
    • projection (shadows)
    • drawing
    • virtual reality
  • evolutionary theory
  • philosophy and history of science
  • world creation myths
  • poetry
  • historical and contemporary art practices
  • archaeology and anthropology
  • object-subject relationships

Research Methods

  • practice-based
    • materials led
    • ideas led
  • text-based
  • conversational with peers, staff and audience
  • collaborative
  • analysis and on and in-research reflection
  • reflective and critical writing


  • ceramics
  • photography
  • sound
  • drawing
  • virtual reality
  • video


  • blog journal
  • video
  • photographic
  • virtual reality


An installation with the followings:

  • multimedia installation
  • ceramic sculptures
  • responsive sound element
  • text
  • contextualising handling pieces
  • verbal narratives
  • image/animation printed and or on-screen


October 2018 – January 2019

Period of orientation

  • identify and develop the area of study and work
  • inititial Project Proposal
  • exploratory drawings and maquettes
  • develop critical and reflective writing in blog journal
  • build on video editing and digital sound software
  • explore theoretical, contextual and poetry texts
  • experiment, research, develop, filter and select

January – April 2019

Continue with the above:

  • filter ideas, theory and techniques
  • start developing an artist statement in the context of the proposal for the eventual final show
  • build on Low Residency experience.

May – September

consolidate previous work

  • test first prototypes
  • develop work further
  • research digital sound techniques for real-time interactions
  • Research Statement
  • develop Project Proposal
  • curate work for Unit 1 Assessment.

October – November

Complete Unit 1

  • shape ideas for the final show
  • crystallise conceptual framework and methodology


start Unit 2 – A period of intense developing and making in the context of previous research and experimentation to deliver project proposal. Throughout this period work on text and drawings for sound narratives.


  • finish first sculptures and start other works
  • plan engineering of displays
  • work on the digital side and consolidate on Blender learning
  • narratives ongoing
  • experiment with sound

January 2020

  • continue with suspended and vertical sculptures
  • begin free-standing silent work.
  • narratives ongoing
  • experiment with sound
  • fire pieces
  • start fabricating


  • continue work as above
  • Low Residency period
  • start curatorial content
  • troubleshoot digital elements at residency

Workplan changes due to coronavirus


  • start to complete works, fabrication, and curatorial elements
  • record narratives
  • prepare sounds and digital equipment and code


  • complete work and curatorial elements
  • plan logistics


By end of May all work should be completed and show planning well underway, also procure materials for packing and transport of work

June – July

Pack work and prepare for final show, review project proposal and prepare for unit 2 assessment. Delivery of work, installation, final show and de-install. 


Principle Texts

Anderson, R.L. (1990) Calliope’s Sisters: A comparative study of philosophies of art. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, p.238.

Arber, A. (1950) The natural philosophy of plant form. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Arber, A. (1954) The mind and the eye: A study of the biologist’s standpoint. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Arber, A. (1957) The manifold and the one. (1957) London: John Murray.

Bayles, D. Orlando, T. (2002). Art and fear: Observations on the perils (and rewards) of artmaking. UK: Image Continuum Press. Pravas Jivan Chaudhury, P. J. (1965). The theory of rasa. The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism Vol. 24, No. 1, Supplement to the Oriental Issue: The Aesthetic Attitude in Indian Aesthetics: Pravas Jivan Chaudhury (Autumn, 1965), pp. 145-149. Published by: Wiley on behalf of The American Society for Aesthetics DOI: 10.2307/428204

Esslin, M. (1961) The theatre of the absurd. 3rd edn. London: Penguin Books.

McCormack, J. (2012). Creative ecosystems: Computers and creativity. Eds. McCormack, J. d’Inverno, M. Springer: Heidelberg. DOI 10.1007/978-3-642-31727-9_2 [accessed: 19 August 2019].

Boden, M. A. (2010). Creativity and art: Three roads to surprise. London: Oxford University Press.

Coen, E. (2012) Cells to civilizations: The principles of change that shape life. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press

Dawkins, R. (1976). The selfish gene. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Dawkins, R. (1996). Climbing mount improbable. New York: Norton

Dennett, Daniel C. (1995). Darwin’s dangerous idea: Evolution and the meanings of life. Penguin Books, London.

Dennett, D. C. (1995) Darwin’s dangerous idea: Evolution and the meanings of life. London: Penguin.

Dewey, J. (1934) Art and experience. London: George Allen and Unwin.

Esslin, M. (1961) The theatre of the absurd. 3rd edn. London: Penguin Books.

Fry, H. (2018). Hello world. [s.l.]: Doubleday.

Genesis 1-4, Holy Bible: King James Version.

Gil, W. (2018) Sonic plasticity, an introduction. [Online] Medium. Available at: [Accessed 13 August 2018].

Gould, S. J. (1991) Wonderful life: The burgess shale and the nature of history. London: Penguin Books.

Graves, R. (1961) The white goddess: A historical grammar of poetic myth. London: Faber and Faber.

Griffin, J. (2011). First published in Art Review, Issue 47, JanFeb 2011

Heidegger, M. (2006). The origin of the work of art. Translated by Roger Berkowitz and Philippe Nonet. Draft, December 2006. PN revised. PDF downloaded from ger

Herodotus (1890) The history of herodotus volume 1. Translated by G. C. Macaulay. London:

Macmillan & Co, [Online] Gutenberg Project. Updated 2013. Available at: [Accessed 14 Sep. 2018]

Hughes, T. (1998) Lupercal. London: Faber and Faber.

Hughes, T. (2001) Crow: From the life and songs of the crow. London: Faber and Faber.

Jones, G. (2007) ‘The object of sculpture’ in Hulks, D. Wood, J. Potts, A. (eds) Modern sculpture reader. 1st edn. Leeds: Henry Moore Institute, pp.426-436.

Lewis-Hamilton, D. (2002) The mind in the cave. London: Thames and Hudson.

Margullis, L. (1998) The symbiotic planet: A new look at evolution. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.

O’Connor, D. (2010) ‘The horror of creation: Ted Hughes’ re-writing of Genesis in Crow’, Peer English, Issue 5. pp 47-58. Available at: (Accessed: 16 November 2018).

Ovid (n.a.) Metamorphose. Trans. Kline, A. S. available at

Rescher, N. (1996 ) Process Metaphysics: An Introduction to Process Philosophy, SUNY Press. p. 60., (2016) Roberto Mangabeira Unger. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 14 Sep. 2018].

Smith, K. A. (1992) Structure of the visual book: Book 95. Fairport: The Sigma Foundation.

Tucker, W. (1977) The language of sculpture. London: Thames and Hudson.

van Eck, C. (2010). Living statues: Alfred Gell’s “Art and Agency”, living presence response and the sublime. Journal of the association of art historians. Vol. 33, No. 4, pp. 642-659. Available at:
Agency_Living_Presence_Response_and_the_Sublime?email_work_card=title (Accessed: 18 November 2019).

Von Maltzahn, K. E. (1994) Nature as landscape: Dwelling and understanding. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.

Wengrow, D. (2014). The origins of monsters: Image and cognition in the first age of mechanical reproduction. Princeton University Press, Princeton & Oxford

Other Key Texts: To Be Referenced

  • Purusha Sukta – Shatapatha Brahmana
  • Upanishads
  • Pre-Socratics
  • Aristotle – Poetics, Physics
  • Plato
  • Virgil
  • Lucretius
  • Herodotus
  • Milton – Paradise Lost
  • Berkley
  • Darwin – The Origin of the Species
  • Frazer – The Golden Bough
  • Freud – Totem and Taboo
  • Aquinas
  • Da Vinci – Note Books
  • Spinoza
  • Mircea
  • Buber – I and Thou – Man and Man
  • Benjamin
  • Darwin
  • E.O. Wilson