Week 5 and everything is going well except my health is slowing me down. My teeth are a mess and it is really getting me down. Getting it sorted over the next month but it has dampened my enthusiasm.
We had an email from André saying he has booked the life room for us to work in on Wednesday afternoons so I took advantage of this to spread the CD’s over the floor like we had discussed in the crit last week. I took some silage wrap in with me and laid that down first, like an oil spill. I played with the placing and laid out the finished ball panels, then brought the bottle top tendrils in and hung them on an easel. I was thinking about the way that plastics break down and disperse into every aspect of our lives.
Vic and I had been talking about how fossil fuels were made. Fossil fuels were laid down in the Carboniferous period when there was nothing on the planet that could breakdown the lignin in trees, so they simply fell and other trees grew out of them and then they fell etc.etc.. This world was populated by giant insects because oxygen levels so were high they had to evolve that way to survive. But then around 299 million years ago there was fungus/bacteria that evolved that degraded lignin and so the laying down of fossil fuels ended as the lignin was now broken down.
Now we are discovering fungi that break down plastics and so the cycle continues. I liked the way the plastic silage wrap spread over the floor and gave the impression of oil and the idea of the bottle top tendrils rising out of the oil spill, with the CD flower/ball on top suggesting growth.
I was late in on Thursday. I don’t know where the time went. Faffing in my caravan and chatting to Jill. I bumped into Paskaline on the way in. She had been on the London trip the day before but had a cold and was feeling really rough. She showed me a photograph of a black sculpture which was figure shaped and looked like it was made from plastic, She thought I would like it which was nice and I did. We missed registration and André wasn’t happy. Meg is full on with the prep for her show at the bar. Rosie is working hard and Jo is starting a new painting. Paskaline has a large canvas on an easel and Cora is working on prints to make cut outs for her light installations. No Ellie who is also ill. No Inez or Faye or Daniel but Joe says Daniel might have work which is preventing him from coming in.
I start to make a triangular base for the ball out of tent poles and sew the ball together to fit on the wire frame.
We have a meeting about the exhibition and discuss more names and what connections we have within our practices. There is a bit of a three-way split. The front of the studio is dealing with Identity, then we have place, architecture, and domestic interiors and finally politics, environmental and satire. We discuss names and decide that we will compile all suggestions to vote on next week so we can decide and make the posters.
We are still chatting when Sean arrives for our tutorials.
I’m up first and I have done some prep and feel I explain myself better than I have done previously (I am learning!). Sean is helpful and positive, offering constructive ideas around presentation. We discuss how I can make the work more confrontational by obstructing the viewers movement around the space or forcing them to move in a certain way. He describes a work he had seen in London where the audience had to navigate a series of lockers which created narrow passageways leading to a video installation. He tells me how some of the students he was with were wary of what they would discover as they went through. Do I want to create a sense of foreboding? I have been trying to create work which is beautiful but does that really achieve what I want the work to achieve? I think I need to work on doing both. I don’t want to lose that beauty as I think it is important that we see the beauty around us and try and make what we can with the resources we have already so transforming our waste into something better is important but yes there is a sense of foreboding which I would like to portray. An unavoidable problem which cannot be ignored. That occupation of space, the confrontational, “LOOK AT ME!”. Sean also points me towards Artists Tom Freedman and Samara Scott both working with plastic. Everyone likes the bottle top tendrils, they are so tactile. I think I need to make more.
I have now got the CD’s on the frame and I’m not totally happy with it. I need to do more work on it. But what? Add decorative stitching to the seams? Fill the space on the top with something? I was going to put the motherboard cube on top creating a figure? Lots of decisions to be made and ideas to experiment with.
Megs work looks great in the bar. Turns out I have been here before which is quite surprising since I have very rarely spent any time in Cardiff. it is where the Celfies did the spoken word work for the clinical psychology conference. Meg has two pieces of work displayed. The door and window piece fits perfectly on a raised area with a books case and a large armchair, creating an inviting space. The second piece is the large degree show work and that is outside the back of the building. It flows down the wall and pools in the space. It is beautiful. The other work on display is attached to pallets, hence the name of the project “Pal let”. I recognise the work of the woman I spoke to at the masters show. Prints of the inside of her grandads draws, a representation of a life lived. There are paintings taken from the Simpsons Halloween episodes and some beautiful portraiture. I really want to stay and relax into the environment and get to know Meg better. Ellie and Rosie are meant to be coming along too. But I have had a hard time eating and I feel really old and tired. I drink my lemonade, say hi to Meg’s boyfriend and parents then slip away and drive home.
I will feel much better about everything once my teeth are fixed I’m sure. I feel better after having my daughter home for the weekend and then writing this. I am learning and I am getting to know people and Cardiff. There are health and safety issues I need to deal with. Everyone is concerened about my melting the CD’s in a safe environment and André expressed concerns about organic matter still attached to the silage wrap so I need to wash that. This reminds me of Short n Forward’s plaster casts of sheep footsteps which had to be treated to destroy any bacteria that might be lingering in the residual dirt. Do you think I’ll get away with putting the silage wrap in the washing machine??