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  • Writer's pictureSophie

Week 8 update

blog post 19/11/17

Some necessary discoveries through the first 8 weeks of final year.

I want to update my blog with where I am at with my work. My Practice in Context (dissertation) has massively affected my practice recently, namely with my interest in incorporating a narrative into my work. This turning point came with my visit to Venice in October. Seeing Damien Hirst’s exhibition and many of the works in the Biennale (Greek, Finnish, other pavilions) made me realise that the kind of work I am interested in now is work that revolves around something made up. I think this stems from an interest in science fiction and fantasy and in story-telling (definitely progressed by listened to podcasts (The Moth mainly) and reading Brave New World and Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy). I don’t think until this point I had quite respected this theme as something that could make for interesting art, I was definitely stuck in composition rather than meaning. Visiting Venice made me realise how great this style of work could be, and how varied it could be; before this I can only think of Rachel Maclean’s work in British Art Show 8 as being heavily linked to a story and still being fully ‘contemporary’ and interesting art to me.

Next, researching this further for my PiC in relation mainly to Hirst’s show, lead me to question what I was making, especially in relation to my sculpture. I was stuck in this position of wanting to make work that was fun and not too serious but at the same time feeling that I wanted this neat, monochrome, organic style that I find aesthetically pleasing (and that I’m used to: see homepage). A big turning point came when I tried to let this go and do what I thought was intriguing me in the work I was seeing: write a story.

Exhibit A:

Rocks 1-6

DISCOVERED in the Aegean period, the ponte occulte océanique éponges survived the Bronze Age to be discovered by the Aztec peoples in 200 BC.

SCIENTISTS believe that these magnificent specimens were an important part of the food chain of the Pachycephalosaurus dinosaurs in les temps anciens. Ingested exclusively in the third week of life, the ponte occulte océanique éponges remained in the pyloric canal of the secondary stomach for 33½ months before being excreted through the belly button.

DISPOSITED in the earth’s crust, the ponte occulte océanique éponges imbedded in the tectonic plates where it remained for millennia transforming forms and transferring energies.

EXHIBITED for 3000 years in the International Museum of Earthly Matter in Lanzarote, they suspiciously vanished without trace in what is considered the greatest storm ever, The Great Storm of 1987. The ponte occulte océanique éponges were redeposited to an unknown location, thought to be lost forever.

ONLY recently scientists and researchers and exobiologists have discovered the mystery and mystique behind these majestic treasures. Extra-terrestrial secretion accumulated in the microscopic cracks of the ponte occulte océanique éponges proves, beyond doubt, that the ponte occulte océanique éponges travelled through space and time on the exhaust pipe of the Soyuz rocket, remained suspended on the washing line of the International Space Station making the death defying voyage back to earth in the brains of the first alien life to enter the Earth’s atmosphere; The Middleton Family in 2001.

IT is believed that this lead to the development of what we now call today the Internet.

Materials: silicon, plaster, resin, silver, rock, wax

I liked the idea of mixing the seriousness of the museum (with all its protocols and patterns) with the messiness and absurdity of a fantasy children’s television serious. Think My Parents are Aliens/British Transport Museum. Therefore, I tried to write as if what I was saying was fact whilst including nonsensical information. I don’t think I fully achieving what I was going for with this, I think it feels a bit self-conscious and slightly forced, but I’m happy with the idea and wanted to further this.

One of the best pieces I made during the first 4 weeks of term was a model of a rock found in Hyde Park, Leeds replicated in grey silicon. This made for a relatively believable looking piece of stone that had an unexpected weight and even more unexpected squishiness and bounciness. However, did still hurt when I threw it at peoples’ heads. I liked with this piece the mixing of the theatrical to the museological. There’s a very playful element to something that could be considered very boring. I chose the rock as my model for this deliberately because of it is something that is free, accessible and common. This description could be seen as just like a museum and often not at all like art. I like the mixing of all these ideas. Other than this piece, I was enjoying experimenting with materials and what different materials suggest but probably the best thing to come from my rock copies are the readings of the objects that can be brought about by the other information given. I’m interested in how the conventions of a museum or a theatre could change the understanding of these rocks. How the putting of them into a group and therefore them being a collection of the same thing can alter their reality. And lastly, how telling a story can give them a new reality.

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