Third Day of WITD

How do we weigh on a species level? Individual and group dynamics are so different, but are we sustainable as a group? Are we descending into an existential struggle or heading towards a progressive future in the light of catastrophe? What part does each one of us as individuals play in the context of the whole and what is the nature of the role of collective consciousness in contemporary times of stress? These are questions that come into play as I bring this work together.

On the third day, I developed the composition further, trying not to repeat patterns but maintain a rhythm that might give the impression of repetition… a little like nature. I think I had ruminated over the concept long enough for it to come without hesitation.

The one challenge I have is handling and mounting it on the porcelain stand I have for it. this may prove tricky but I think I know how I can manage it. I cannot lay the work in progress on its side, so I need to raise it off the turntable in order to be able to work on the underneath.

I am finding myself spending around three to four hours a day on it after having attended to all other matters to do with preparing the show, documenting and other things. This means I should have it roughed out by the end of next week, Friday. Then begins the long process of finishing.

Second Day and New Ideas – WITD

Today I worked on three things, the online virtual space, a written piece for a show and the second day of the second phase for What is the Difference? (WITD). Although the three tasks are not directly related, they nourish one another if nothing else, by virtue of their contrast. Contrast can be a great stimulus for seeing things afresh.

As I was packing away the sculpture, wrapping, cleaning, rustling and wiping, Janet noticed that these noises sound very deliberate. They are rhythmical and I explained that I always go through this ‘ritual’ at the end of a working session. I am thinking that it might make a soundtrack for a video. The sound as background would have dissonance. This composed discordance might prove to be consonant with what I had written about earlier, that the process becomes the ritual and the final work is a reification of the ideas behind it and the process that brought it into being.

This soundtrack accompanying the sculpture might appear out of context. But I think that bringing together the domains of idea and process will foster a synthesis from which something interesting might emerge from each encounter with a recipient. A physical show is a good way of observing and discussing responses, particularly in the context of the work itself. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of an online show. But what the online lacks in efficacy it makes up in reach and efficiency.

Second Phase of Third Work – WITD

Today I started roughing out the forms for this work. The bodies are hollow as I cut out holes in the egg-shaped armature. This is the difficult and exciting stage of the work when the composition is worked out and the character of the work is established.

I thought about how the work would go before starting and tried planning. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that I had thought about it long enough it was something that could not be planned. It is something that develops in the doing. After all, it is not as though I have not worked on this idea before.

This is the first work of its kind I make on this scale. I was daunted before starting but have found it relatively easy as I have gone along. It requires concentration because it is all about translating the feeling and sense of the work into composition through action.

Something that comes to mind is that the title evokes another work in which human bodies form the mass or even a combination of the animal and human. That might be a bit trite but it might also be striking. This kind of thinking can only be resolved in the doing and finishing of a work. Whatever the case might be, I can only make one work of this kind for the show. To think of something else risks not completing (at least in the unfired form) anything at all.

Building the ‘Egg’ Framework for ‘What’s the Difference?’


This is the completed frame for What’s the Difference? It is intended to support the modelled forms and will disappear beneath the work itself. Its egg shape seems apt for the beginning of the work: the beginning of life and the imperative of reproduction and development from simplicity towards complexity. Like the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 that is affecting society so profoundly at the moment, the drive against entropy propels all life through time, is made possible by the mechanisms of survival and reproduction.

I have made a short gif animation of the stages of the frame’s construction. But it is so blindingly annoying, that I have hidden it on its own page which can be viewed here.

As I go to the page where the GIF resides, I find its relentless animation, repeating its limited repertoire, gives me a strong sense of being driven by a powerful vital force condemning it to a most awful perpetuity. It is somewhat unsettling.