After testing, gathering and creating a body of work I decided to take a number of the objects down to the photography studio to play with composition and ultimately develop some form of language between the forms I have manufactured. with the idea of memory very much at mind, what narrative where these objects beginning to speak? and by pairing them in compositions how did they bounce off and work with each other?
I like the idea of looking upon these series of objects as an alphabet, a physical, sensorial language that challenges semiotical ways of viewing sculpture.
Although I really enjoy the images that I have taken of the objects I have made so far I am unsure at this point in time that the actual objects themselves are representational of the concepts that I hold to my project ( that of personal memory and ideas surrounding sentimentality and nostalgia). Although These objects are highly subjective to my own personal experiences and are thus abstracted as a representation of myself, to some degree I want the experience of my objects to be understood by a collective, to be interpreted in a certain way or to make people feel a certain ‘vibe’ you could say.
I am at a turning point. Where I have created a series of objects in response to my intuition and intuitively/contemporarily glazed. Ideas of nostalgia and ‘the child at play’ dominate my theoretical standpoint and to some extent, I do believe my objects represent that, although I do believe these objects are also disjointed.
Personally, these objects subjectively are based on early childhood memories – where as a child because both of my parents were busy working I was usually dumped on a construction site with my dad. In that moment I was incredibly bored, twiddling my thumbs and finding ways to play and keep myself busy. Not until looking back now as an adult do I firstly see how easy things were back then and now really reside and reminisce over the events that took place, where the world of working and childhood play intermingled. It is interesting now from really studying these events do I realize how relevant it is within my studio practice.
The key insight of the geography of the senses is that the senses mediate the apprehension of space and in so doing contribute to our sense of place. Yi-Fu Tuan (1972)
Intersensoriality in relation to the site of memory and sensuous geography gives reference to the idea of how multiple modes of sensory interconnections highlight the relations among the senses, above and beyond their informational content, essentially shaping the affective relation of people to their habitat. “What begins as undifferentiated space becomes place as we get to know it better [through our senses] and endow it with value”
“Each sense contributes [in its own way] to people’s orientation in space; to their awareness of spatial relationships; to the appreciation of the qualities of particular micro- and macro-spatial environments”
something I had previously overlooked when developing my ideas surrounding memory, nostalgia, and sentimentality were the ‘sites’ in which these memories occurred.How these places ultimately trigger various sensory and memory interconnections as I reproduce them in the present through my sculptural compositions, concentrating on individual objects rather than geographically sample sectioning areas of composition and perhaps viewing these sculptural compositions as landscapes.
You could say that the term atmosphere foregrounds the multisensory character and experience of lived space while downplaying the more formal aspects of environments, human spatial orientation.
Above pictured is a scene taken from steven Spielberg’s 1977 film ‘Strange encounters of the third kind’ in which Richard Dreyfuss aka Roy after having interaction with aliens becomes euphoric, at rock bottom after losing his family yet almost filled with a child-like wonder. Spielberg takes us back and forth between the global and the personal, with Lacombe and his assistant Laughlin (Bob Balaban) going all over the world gathering evidence, and Roy’s own journey as he tries to make sense of an image of a large mountain in his head, which turns out to be Devils Tower in Wyoming.
For myself, I feel like Roy a lot of the time trying to make sense of the material sensibilities that allude my memories and mind, perhaps not as frantically but just as euphoric with childlike wonder. The part of the film I am particularly interested in with regards to Roy and his relationship with devils tower is the scene in which everything seems to come together and click; after Roy has built his home tower and sees the mountain on the television. In this moment memory and reality seem to collide, sensibilities cross and a mixture of confusion, euphoria and eureka moment happen which leads Roy on a quest to Wyoming of sorts.
Similarly yet perhaps maybe alien unrelated Roys experience of devils tower is similar to mine and my material/memory understanding.The key insight I guess you could take from Roys encounter or of his geography of the senses is that the senses mediate the apprehension of space and in so doing contribute to his sense of place.
What this moment in strange encounters is good at showing us is the spatiality of the senses and their role in shaping the affective relation of people to their habitat. “What begins as undifferentiated space becomes place as we get to know it better [through our senses] and endow it with value”
Continuing with my glaze experimentation I began the ongoing tradition of submerging extruder parts in various glazes to see how the various chemicals react with one another, more so experimenting with volcanic sand in various glazes and porcelains to test and push its reactive qualities after a friend showed me various effects of the volcanic sand on a variety of ceramic bodies.
With memory, nostalgia, and sentimentality very much at the forefront of my contemporary ideas I began to try and see how glaze can be incorporated further as an approach for these sculptures; thinking back to how the dry vitreous slip resembled that of the cracked earth on the farm in the summer I began reminiscing, expressing and attempting to demonstrate material interests that have alluded me my whole life, even if at this current moment in time I am completely unsure why.
Volcanos, rocks and magma patterns have always interested me and are something that creeps its way into many of my sketchbook ideas, prints, and sculptural works. Until recently, with a greater understanding of ceramic alchemy have I been able to visually demonstrate this. Weirdly, it is not natural volcanos that seem to allude my memories, more so cartoon, digitized and comical portrayals of lava – immaterial representations of natural phenomena. Colours like orange, red, black and white ooze their way from my past into my more recent memories from watching television programs such as cartoon network, nickelodeon and the bright red RAW advertisement of WWF. You could say this is a harmless subliminal messaging of sorts, unintentional but purely situational. By placing the nickelodeon or cartoon network logo in the corner of the screen it’s a sort of branding rather than insidious brain washing tool, none the less has an effect of sorts.
much like memory, I want my sculptures to represent the ‘mish-mash’ of things. Memory for myself is just one giant cluster of ideas and experiences formed by the brain from the past and present all jumbled and reassembled in reality.
Total recall – the ability to remember with clarity every detail of the events of one’s life or of a particular event, object, or experience.
Developing on from my research, I have been interested in the perplexing and conflicting ideas surrounding ‘total recall’ the idea of being able to find complete clarity within a memory. Within the film of the same title a man named Douglas quade decides to visit ‘rekall’ a company that provides memory implants of vacations, Quaid opts for a memory trip to Mars as a Secret Agent fantasy. However, during the procedure, before the memory is implanted, something goes wrong, and Quaid starts revealing previously suppressed memories of actually being a Secret Agent. The company sedates him, wipes his memory of the visit, and the film then continues with Douglas Quaid following a secret agent mission upon mars. Although scientific fantasy, the contemporary ideas surrounding total recall are incredibly interesting, and the movie is a fascinating contemporary model to question true memory, past experiences, and total recall. Because as a viewer, how do we know that ‘Douglas Quaid’ ever left the rekall centre, if it is indeed a secret agent fantasy he is undergoing ?
fundamentally, I find the ideas surrounding total recall perplexing due to the fact as individuals I believe we cannot find total clarity within a memory, we fill in the gaps, therefore we cannot be certain that any memory we have is necessarily true, thus within the film why we are left guessing what is real and what is fake. Our memories tend to be a mishmash of things, memory is formless matter, things that we tend to perceive as sentimental or nostalgic, as children it could be something we picked up or learnt, through our sensibilities or simply because we enjoyed or detested that moment. The older we are the more memories we gather, the more things that become sentimental to us and so the more gaps we have to fill etc. our memories are so expansive and even a moment that may have occurred yesterday could be very different from the actual sequences that happened.
After coming across Carwyn Evans installation down in the foyer space at CSAD and attending his in conversation I was fascinated by his ideas surrounding his personal memories of farm life and welsh identity. As an artist similarly interested in personal memory, identity and how these ideas are reappropriated into physical tactile form, it was fascinating listening to an artist with a similar background to myself. Coming from a rural village in the middle of Gloucestershire, working on a farm within the local area I could connect and understand ‘PADER’ on a subjective level and analyse the ‘details’ of the sculptural composition. It is funny that these objects have been reappropriated in such a manner as for myself there is a running joke amongst the farming communities that farmers hoard ‘anything and everything’ as everything even junk has some form of use at some point in the future, perhaps it seems even for contemporary art/sculpture.
when up close and personal with the composition you begin to dissect the objects from one another, we begin to unassemble the reappropriated. For example, the way the wood is joint together or the folded trefoil sheet that is laid underneath. When up close and personal even the most minimal of details such as the wax on the sheet echo an ulterior autobiographical message – that of the artist himself, his identity and his farming background.We as the viewer begin to try and build a picture of the artist, who is he? what is he trying to say? – The site of memory seems to be incredibly important to the artist.
when approaching the light at the back, kneeling down and taking a closer look I noticed mud splashes on the right-hand side. This could have easily been removed, yet it is interesting how the artist decided to leave these marks; not lazily but purposely left I believe. the mud splashes appear to have been splashed there by a tractor or quad bike wheel that could have been struggling in the mud. The artist re-appropriates personal memory from objects he connects with from day to day, tackling memory as formless matter in which he denotes meaning to material and further form.
Takuro Kuwatas work is rooted in Japanese technique and history, One of which is the traditional technique of ishi-haze or stone explosion, in which stones are allowed to overheat in the kiln to the point where they rupture and distort. Conventionally, this technique is used in the making of traditional Japanese tea ceramics; however, Kuwata uses his oversized rocks to distort, melt or explode within the firing process. Kuwata also employs kairagi, another famous Japanese technique in which is used to create imperfections within the glaze, as a result the glaze shrinks and cracks. Kuwata is unconventionally drawn to the imperfections that are produced from these processes and implements them to their extreme.
The uncertainty of the method allows Kuwata to stand back and let the firing and material processes take control over the resulting form, enhancing the organic nature and dysfunctionality of his objects.It is the oozing glaze and tactile nature of Kuwata’s work and his material understanding in relation to his sense of identity and heritage that originally drew me in.
Kuwata’s practice is firmly rooted in Japanese history and aesthetics. The characteristics of the Japanese philosophy wabi-sabi, which focuses on imperfect and incomplete beauty, including asymmetry and asperity, are all evident in Kuwata’s work.
Born in Hiroshima, but removed from the aftermath of World War II, Kuwata is offering a contemporary view of postwar Japanese anxiety as well as demonstrating a correlation between Japan’s recent natural and social disasters.
As a result of the artist’s history and past, The natural world plays an active role in Kuwata’s practice, with bursting stones and broken glazes acting as metaphors for erupting volcanoes and earthquakes, and even potentially the Hiroshima disaster that eludes his heritage, engendering beauty through destruction.