Summative post

Statement

“Man is the most insane species. He worships an invisible God and destroys a visible Nature. Unaware that this Nature he’s destroying is this God he’s worshiping.” Hubert Reeves

“If all the insects were to disappear from the earth, within 50 years all life on earth would end. If all human beings disappeared from the earth, within 50 years all forms of life would flourish.” Jonas Salk

My work aims to challenge our relationship with nature, how we perceive, connect and interact within it. I wish to convey, through the use of ceramics, the delicate situation in which we find ourselves, incorporating notions such as balance, the irreplaceable and rebuilding. I am drawn to the fragile qualities of ceramics and have created a sculpture which explores the magical, yet at the same time aims to comment on the destructive nature of human error. In our constant quest for perfection and order, we attempt to straighten out the tumbling, spontaneous spirals of life, and losing as a result its very essence. We are not separate from nature, but a part of it, a big beautiful muddle of limbs, thunder and mud.

Context 1 – Manacorda, ‘Radical Nature’ 

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Context 2 – Jay Griffiths, ‘Wild’

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Documentation 1 – Tree faces

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Documentation 2 – fungi fingers

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Context 3 –Kate Macdowell

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Context 4 – Agetha Dyck, Bee collaboration

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Documentation 3 – Gap crit

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Documentation 4 – Making drawers 

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Documentation 5 – Bugs in drawers

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Context 5 – Ai Weiwei’s sunflower seeds

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Blue Rooms Exhibition

The blue rooms exhibition, which was held by a number of second years at the university was an interactive, imaginative and inspiring evening. The blue rooms, which consisted of a few decrepit, dingy rooms added a really weird, artsy vibe to the busy exhibition. Some of the work was displayed quite casually, and some very formally, all having a different effect on the audience. I particularly enjoyed the interactive pieces, as they reminded me of what I am planning for my own work. The work above contained a sign, which instructed people how to make their own work, whilst below, the work simply contained some packets of gum neatly tucked underneath, which we took as an invitation to try! As people interacted with the pieces, so new viewers were encouraged to participate and become involved. 

This has led to further considerations of my own work. I have decided I want no sign, directing people what to do. I am hoping that the magnifying glass will come into play and talk for itself, much as the gum did as discussed above. I am also hoping that if people encounter other people interacting with my piece, they will also be encouraged to do so, a bit like the dominos effect. Although this may only be achieved if  there is a constant stream of people. As I have previously mentioned, I am aware that people may well be reluctant to touch and interact with ceramics and will most likely avoid contact in the fear of  breaking it. But for me this is a part of the piece, the understanding of the delicacy and the balance intrinsically combined in this piece. If anything were to be broken, this would only display the aspect of human error and mistake that I am trying to illustrate. Maybe I should be the first one to damage a section, to show it is part of the whole experience! I’m not quite expecting the same destruction encouraged at Ai Weiwei’s Sunflower Seeds exhibition at the Tate Modern, where viewers were encouraged to trudge over his 100 million hand-painted porcelain seeds, but some interaction, would be great!

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Interactive Installation

Recently I visited this exhibition in Bristol, which felt spacey, new age and godly. The pieces were interactive and could sense when you approached, changing their lights, which revealed areas of UV drawings whilst emitting different sounds. This made the pieces feel alive, as if they had their own consciousness and were choosing how they reacted to the humans around them. The exhibition explored how we have fulfilled our ancient dreams and longings to be able to play God. We now have the power to create and manipulate life, altering it and bending it to our will. This raised questions and feelings of wariness and unease about the dangers of this enormous power. 

I felt like this work had connections with my own practice, interactive works that remind us that we are part of something much bigger than just our own selfish ambitions and desires to dominate and control the world around us. 


  
  

Interactive

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So I am sure that I definitely want my piece to be interactive. I feel that this decision will make it more dimensional and will as a result provide the audience with a deeper experience and a chance to have an influence on the artwork. I want the audience to feel a connection with nature through the piece, just as I have done in creating it. I also want the audience to understand that my ceramics are an imperfect replica of real nature and only a reflection of her beauty and importance. I’m hoping that this piece will re-invigorate people to want to be part of nature and maybe inspire them to view nature through new eyes. If the audience were to break anything, this would become part of the piece, it would display different states of life, how nothing will last forever and would serve to emphasise the fragility and the balance that is required in our delicate relationship with nature. It will also highlight human error and how we are imperfect but that is part of our make up and who we are. In fact it would probably be better if something were broken, as much as it pains me to say it! I do not think I want to obviously state that the piece is interactive, but hint at it in some manner, such as with the use of a magnifying glass. This may represent that you can open the drawers and have a closer inspection of the specimens inside.

Albany Pets Shop Exhibition 

 Today I visited the pop up exhibition at the closed down Albany Road Pet Shop. As I entered, the space was small and dingy, it was just as if all of the pet shop supplies had been removed and without any alterations, the exhibition just began. A lot of the work felt themed on the idea of this old decrepit pet shop and the humour and confusion of all this was drawn out in the fact that the space was an exhibit too. Working with this idea, the work was strewn around, hidden around corners and generally in keeping with the unkempt feel of the place. The exhibition felt bizarre, but also eerie (maybe because I was the only person there). I was particularly interested in this piece (above) as it looked as if it were a stock item left behind and discarded. Yet, it felt as if it belonged there and that time and nature had taken over. Excellent!

Suzanne Stumpf

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‘whale sounds’

Suzanne Stumpf’s work revolves around interactive ceramic sculpture.

“Since 2007, my work has included increasing numbers of multi-component and interactive sculptures that invite participation from the viewer. Most of these works have innumerable permutations for viewing. Perhaps also influenced from my background as a professional musician, these flexible sculptures allow for creating variations in the artwork such as might be experienced in the live performance of a musical composition from concert to concert.” Suzanne Stumpf

Her beautiful works are magnificent and soft and by inviting the audience to interact with them, they become playful, magical and dimensional. Playing with the idea of cermics as a fragile and sometimes precious material, viewers may feel that they are not allowed to touch and are conflicted by feelings of desire. By using ceramics, Stumpf is able to achieve the textured finish she wants, making her work tactile and enticing to hold.

I am very interested in these ideas, and how I might incorporate them into my own work, encourging a possibly reluctant viewer to touch and interact with my piece.

Ai Weiwei Sunflower Seeds

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Ai Weiwei’s sunflower seeds were displayed on the floors of the Tate to be trudged across and walked on by visitors to the exhibition. Each of the 100 million seeds was handcrafted out of porcelain clay and then painted. Viewers were encouraged to fully immerse themselves in the experience by stepping across the seeds and feeling the sense of destruction as they smashed. As each one was hand sculpted, this must have caused feelings of guilt but also given a sense of power, to viewers.

Ai Weiwei intended this work to explore what it means to be an individual in society, material desires and what these mean for society and the environment. Through making his work interactive, Ai Weiwei forces the viewer to contemplate these ideas.