@ Mayonez on Friday

 

invite 1.jpg

I don’t know if the water knows how it will make its way to the sea.

I don’t know if the road knows that I run over it.

I don’t know if the trees know that I breathe their breath.

 

I invite you, for a moment, to imagine yourself positioned outside of anthropocentric humanism. Consider the possibility that thought, while currently the primary mode through which humans access our surroundings, is not innately the highest or most valid access mode in existence. We ourselves have many other access modes, such as imagining, dreaming, tasting, and feeling though we habitually consider these less valid. Similarly, nonhuman entities have access modes that may be inaccessible and foreign-seeming to us, and consequently we overlook them or deem them invalid.

The advent of the geological era of the Anthropocene, with its grudging acknowledgement that human activity has been the driver of this geological epoch change, leads humans into an imaginative crisis of world. It is the end of the Human World; the world effect within which we have been living for the past 10,000 years, in which humans are separate from, and autonomously act upon, the Natural world. The Anthropocene empties out this singular world affect. Now everyone has a world, water, running down the gutter or into my bath has a world. Rocks have a world, a world in which timescales are vastly larger than our own, so huge that we have perceived them as static. The Anthropocene makes us realise that when we look at a rock we are a human looking at rock; the shape of us in there in out looking.

Interestingly we are comfortable to scientifically imagine rocks as moving as liquid over a vast time scale, however we are less comfortable to philosophically imagine a rock as acting within its own world and world time. We accept scientifically that we are, or tellingly, our bodies are made up of an array of received and inherited DNA, that bacteria living in our gut are essential to our ongoing life, yet we feel uncomfortable to think ‘I am a heaving pile of entities cohabiting’. To acknowledge that not only do I have a micro biome, but that I am a biome.

 

immersive video installation that utilises the eye of the camera to capture moments of entities interacting with their world, flowing, fluttering, moving through or being moved over. It invites your human knowing, eye, mind and body, to reflect on other ways of being and knowing.

… if you knew me

Photos from …. if you knew me, curated by me at DEMO 25 October 2018

My thanks to Denise Batchelor, Mark Harvey and Gitanjali Bhatt for contributing their work for this exhibtion

breathe and milk
left; Denise Bachelor, Just Breathe. right; Jill Sorensen Milk Bottle. wall; Gitanjali Bhatt, The Hunt

 

milk and wrestle
left; Mark Harvey Weed Wrestle. far left; Gitanjali Bhatt, The Hunt. front; Jill Sorensen Milk Bottle, wall;

 

Screen Shot 2018-10-30 at 7.21.32 PM

 

 

 

 

 

….if you knew me.

I have curated an exhibtion at DEMO, Auckland NZ

invite A4 final

In 21st-century suddenly everyone cares about climate and how it might or might not be changing, the atmosphere is filled not just with CO2, but with information and misinformation, blame, denial and handwringing. Beneath this cloud of discord, hype and anxiety we collectively and individually face a bewildering array of options and responsibilities.

The artists in If You Knew Me variously observe, reflect upon and engage with the increasingly familiar moments of awkwardness and uncertainty that now populate daily life. Small but uncomfortable choices and decisions that prickle us as we struggle to negotiate how we should now live as human-people in the epoch variously named the Anthropocene, the Capitalocene or the less pronounceable Chthulucence[1] proposed by Donna Haraway. Uncomfortable with the ‘Anthropos’ of Anthropocene, Haraway suggests that the current moment is not so much an era in itself but an interlude between the benevolent Holocene and a yet to be definitively named future epoch, a hiatus she terms “The Great Dithering… a time of ineffective and widespread anxiety about environmental destruction”[2]. A stuttering pause in which we know something must be done but are not sure how to do it, who should do it or what should be done. An extended moment of bewilderment as we see the reliable face of Nature, backdrop and resource of our human drama, dissolve into a disinterested biosphere, a cyclic network of entities and agencies in which we are one of many presences. In this version of ‘world’ there is no ‘infinite earthly resource’ and no ‘away’ between which to cradle the machine of human progress. With no valid prop for human exceptionalism other than self-interest and habit we are left to navigate an abrupt transition from a Nature we once stepped-upon, to a teeming biosphere within which we must negotiate a human niche.

The four artists in If You Knew Me engage with digital video, using the medium to acutely observe moments in which we dither in the face of mundane activities once considered inconsequential,  now appear suddenly suspect or even duplicitous.

 

 

 

[1] Donna Jeanne Haraway, Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene, Experimental Futures Technological Lives, Scientific Arts, Anthropological Voices (Durham London: Duke University Press, 2016).

In the term Chthulucence Haraway invokes the Chthonic ones, the ancient, ancestral powers of the earth, who cannot be contained or ignored.

[2] Haraway.

Golden American Saddlebred

DSC_0069

I got this horse in a mixed set of plastic animals at a $2 shop. He stands 14cm high and is slightly unbalenced, requiring a firm bend to his rear legs to get him to balence. He has become something of a muse for me, summing up the blend of fantasy, romance, deceit,  history and genetic manipulation that forms the basis of our relationship with the natural world.

The latest incarnation of my muse, curently in process, is to be a lifesized version sewed from tulle. To understand my horse more fully, and to find out what size to make him, I decided to seek out his bloodline. after extensive research i have concluded that he is a Golden American Saddlebred. Standing upright he would be 16 hands (1602mm). rearing up he is 3m in height, a 21:1 scale from my model.


The Oklahoma State University Breeds of Livestock, Department of Animal Science, describes the Golden American Saddlebred thus:

What does one look for in a Golden American Saddlebred? First and foremost, is conformation. A beautifully shaped, well-proportioned head is a must. The ears are small, alert, and placed at the top of the head. The neck is long, and well-arched, with a smooth clean throatlatch. The eye is bold, bright, and intelligent. Well-sloped shoulders and sharp withers well above the height of the hips is characteristic. The croup is long and level with the tail coming out high, and the hind quarters are well muscled to the hocks. The back is short and strong. The long legs are straight with long sloping pasterns that are so necessary for an easy, well cushioned ride. The shallow, full-sprung rib cage make the barrel of the Saddlebred more rounded than in other breeds. Height is generally from 15 to 17 hands and weight from 1000 to 1200 pounds.

The complete picture of Golden Saddlebred should be one of refinement, smoothness and strength. Coloring can vary from cream to copper and all shades in between. However, the ideal color is that of the untarnished gold coin. Eyes must be brown or dark. White markings on the face and legs are allowyyed, but no spots. Mane and tail should be white and purity is desirable.

http://www.ansi.okstate.edu/breeds/horses/goldenamericansaddlebred

Avoiding Mastery: the paintings

Avoiding Mastery: Whitespace Contemporary Art 2014 

Mastery, according to the Webster dictionary is knowledge and skill that allows you to do, use, or understand something very well and a state of having attained complete control of something.

My conundrum as an artist is that, whilst ‘understanding something very well’ might seem an appealing and mature virtue, its close association with having ‘complete control of something’ raises a warning flag that the cul de sac of orthodoxy lies in wait.

In art, to understand something so well as to control it runs the risk of remaking and refining something that you already know, and that your audience also knows and recognises; a closed circuit of mastery and applause. Less prone to success, but arguably more interesting is the strategy of avoiding the possibility of control, deliberately pursuing unknowing, cultivating areas of non-skill and embracing unpopular and little understood vernaculars as a vehicle for art making.

To put it more simply, maybe I think of art as a half wild pony, rather than the dressage mount. Which is not to say that there is anything wrong with dressage; I just prefer a little more excitement.

 

Dreaming of Iccarus, 2013 900 x1500mm acrylic on board
Dreaming of Iccarus, 2013
900 x1500mm
acrylic on board

True Romance 900 x 900mm acrylic and laser transfer on board
True Romance
900 x 900mm
acrylic and laser transfer on board

The Watcher II 900 x 900mm acrylic on board
The Watcher II
900 x 900mm
acrylic on board

Pink Pop Remix 900 x1500mm acrylic and laser transfer on board
Pink Pop Remix
900 x1500mm
acrylic and laser transfer on board

L.O.V.E. 2013 900 x 900mm acrylic on board
L.O.V.E. 2013
900 x 900mm
acrylic on board