The Kiln, the Kiln, Oh the Kiln

Things have changed again. The kiln has been connected. But this does not mean that the works can be completed in time for a hypothetical final show.

All the interruptions, changes in direction, blockages of the past months have rendered it impossible to finish the work in time for July. Let me explain why. There are only four to five weeks left. The timetable I had originally set out was tight but it did allow for a certain amount of contingencies. However, it did not account for a lockdown lasting three months at least. Had everything gone to plan, the kiln would have been functioning by the beginning of March – we have been isolating since then.

The lockdown, decoupling of the final show from the assessment, and the online alternative, meant that I had to redirect my energies in other directions. These have taken precious weeks which cannot be recovered within an end of June, beginning of July deadline. As it is, I have had time to rethink and become more reflective than I would have otherwise been in the adrenalin rush of the preparation for the show.

Right now, I would have to first learn to programme the controller and carry out two test firings as indicated by the user manual would take up several days, and that is just the start. I would need to make at least twenty firings: two firings per load, one low and the other high, in between inspecting, repairing and altering if necessary the pieces. If each one takes three to four days, that is sixty to eighty in total, two months minimum. Add another twenty days for finishing, mounting and fitting the audio equipment, a total of one hundred days. This was possible after the low residency – Now, impossible. I might get to finish some pieces but as for assembling and installing them, that is out of the question if I am to do anything for the online. So, I shall have to be content with showing on the blog the planning for the show as though it were taking place. Here is a list of what I need to set out in the plan.

  • packing
  • logistics
  • risk assessment
  • installation of works
  • ideal location and setting
  • modes of interaction
  • supporting material
  • deinstalling

This post is not so much an apology as a form of catharsis for the frustration I have had to endure for the lack of the physical show. A presence where the work would be seen by many and by those that are normally difficult to attract to shows such as agent, dealers, collectors and perhaps even galleries. This is such an important part of the final show. It is not just an examination event but a showcase in London which be difficult and expensive in any circumstance. What is more, my work very much relies on physical interaction with people. I imagine that people will visit the university site when it is up in the absence of the show. However, I think that my work does suffer a great deal by not being experienced in a real setting. After the online show is up, I may get the opportunity to set up some shots of the work in a suitable location for the showcase.

Whatever happens, I have a clear idea of how the works will be when finished and just as important, I now have many new ideas which arise from my original plans and from the new situation. For example, photograph the works or part of the works and develop images that form works in themselves – somewhat akin to my approach to the online show – using them as ‘subject matter’. Another example is installing the work at the abandoned church near the coast – a spectacular setting.