The ‘Blood-Machines’ – A series of sculptures exploring the re-animation of ‘dead’ computers by the installation of a working cardiovascular system
At the end of last year I was interested in creating a series of ‘Blood machines’ inspired by a quote in Cormack Mccarthy’s novel ‘Blood meridian’, in which he remarks on the seemingly evil emotionlessness of machines, and how technology has allowed humanity to evolve at an exponential rate. I created these machines as a means of furthering my understanding of how cardiovascular systems worked, as well as how computers work and what they consist of (through their ‘anatomy’). I attempted to instill a form of ‘life’ within the cold, dead husks of the machine; by imbuing it with a synthetic imitation of a biological phenomena, as a means of creating objects that could hold my influence, and continue on after I have died. A sort of ‘surrogate’ for my mortality.
-exposure piece; ‘Cradle’
The work that I crafted for the ‘-exposure’ residency and exhibition focused on notions of entropy, as well as the harnessinng of latent energy held within ‘dead materials’ such as feathers, wool, and cadavers as a means of transmuting the energy into the sculpture (hopefully imbuing it with a sort of spirit inherited from the now dead beings that made up the work). There is also the corpse of a bird held within the tangled form upon the chair, and the piece ‘cradles’ it’s delicate form’ within it’s embrace. Due to the imminent closure of the Abacus, I wanted to create a ‘shrine’ towards the abacus, utilising dead and energy laden materials to celebrate this aspect; although the materials are ‘dead’, their energy and influence still lives on, passing into the viewers own soul. I want to harness this ‘energy’ in some way; the energy that passes out of all dying objects into the wider universe will never die, and death is just the gate to the next incarnation of the energy from that particular being.
Bio-mineralisation and the manifestation of the intangible force of entropy, through the catalyst of crystallisation
To better understand the concept of ‘fragility’ within life, I have begun to explore the phenomena of Bio-mineralization. A process utilised throughout nature by shelled animals; in which they materialise their own protective layers and housings, in order to protect themselves from outside forces. To achieve this, I have been synthesising crystals on flexible and malleable forms, in order to harden and preserve their shape; as well as ‘seal’ them within their crystalline mass. The crystals are utilised as a medium of harnessing the energy that passes out of the object; taking on a slight tinge of the colour of the object’s surface, and trapping the slowly dispersing energy in it’s form. The crystals also highlight this phenomena of entropy, showcasing the energy radiating out of the form by the crystal’s outward growth.
The Branch; a bound form, encased, and ethereal – floating within a ‘frame’
Taking inspiration from the ‘sublime miracle’ that Dr. Frankenstein sees within the novel, in which a tree is struck by a lightning bolt and is obliterated; I have begun to explore the symbolism of the dead tree branches as a potential surrogate for the ‘dead materials’ I have been using up until this point. This has inspired me to make a series of crystallised branches, mimicking the twisted and torn limbs of a dead animal. As a means of promoting a better growth of crystals on the surface of these objects, I have been wrapping them in a thin white wool; as it allows the crystal solution to soak into, and travel up, the wool, therefore better surrounding the form with the crystals. The bound form relates back to the idea of the ‘mortal coil’ ; that is, the act of being trapped within the cycle of life, death, and eventual rebirth into another form, that I have explored throughout my work for the past two years. Here, I have tried something different; an experiment with empty space and the singular object. Drawing inspiration from the vitrines of Joseph Beuys and Damien Hirst, I have explored the way that a vitrine ‘objectifies’ an organism or subject, and it becomes a ‘symbol’ of a metaphysical or ethereal concept.
The Branch & The Lightning Bolt – The Re-animation of a dead being
a new way of ‘binding’ and ‘crystallising’ the branches to better suit the newer concept of the ‘lightning bolt’ as a symbol of transcendence and re-animation within the context of ‘Frankenstein’. Within the text, Frankenstein realises the true ferocity of nature, as well as it’s sheer power by witnessing a tree get destroyed by a lightning bolt. through this, he also learns the way to create ‘life’; relating to ideas about galvanism and electro-stimulation of the muscles. Electricity is often utlised to restart hearts, as well as provide a ‘boost’ to both man and machines, in the sense of an engine requiring a jump start to get going at times. This is interesting, as it relates once more to the machines that i was so interested in at the beginning of this year, and how they are ‘beings’, but they rely on electricity instead of blood to move. The binding process is somewhat ritualistic, and relates back to the notion of care and delicacy within the work; I want to protect these branches, nurture them, and provide them with new purpose; much like a God would with it’s lost flock.
The Frame; A method of control, and of enclosure
The frame started to come into formation around this time, inspired by the vitrines of Anselm Kiefer, and the psychological frames of Francis Bacon’s paintings; I wanted to create a symbol of control that seeked to emulate the harnessing of the phenomena of re-animation, crystallisation and the ‘miracle’ of the lightning bolt within itself. The vessel, a form of ‘ark’, protects the miracle within. The sombre colour of the metal, as well as it’s dirty and dusty exterior is really interesting to me. It’s a beautiful colour, despite being covered in grime. I guess this is related to the fact that the processes I have been looking at (decomposition and mold) are often regarded as ‘lowly’, and I have begun to appreciate this aesthetic.
The final design for ‘Synthesis’ – Natural light, and a longer trinity of branches
I have tried out a new form of branches, incorporating one of the branches from my previous ‘trinity’, and the two other much longer and more twisted branches that I have been crystallising in order to view a new perspective on the work. It resembles a series of electrical strikes, and has an interesting ‘story’ within the work; as one, they are combined, and then they split before coming together again. Much like the cycles of life, death and rebirth; and eventual transcendence, each branch has come apart and is now their own entity, before coming back again. Together, and then separate; it reflects the idea that molecules and atoms from a living being are together at one point, before separating and spreading their influence out into the wider universe.