Can I preserve a banana peel?
I’m trying to. It’s an experiment. The banana itself is not overly significant. For the purposes of the task it works well though. A banana is an everyday consumable object, the peal is the trace. I want to hang onto the trace and see if it is in my power to keep something that naturally decays and fades. I want to make note of the measures I have to go to to hang onto this thing that wants to age.
I have the question. And the answer will be a process.
It’s becoming a custom for my friends/tutors/studiomates to gift my desk with their peels. It’s nice, sort of like getting mail.
I’m so much better at writing, than I am at talking. Especially about my work. Give me a pen and we’ll have a wonderful conversation. Ask me to stand and explain my art to you and you’ll get a mumble and a red face. Something to work on.
Here’s some shots of how I work. That middle picture is cringey because my desk is a mess. I’m so obsessive about everything being in place. Every morning I like to go in and just arrange my collections. Those bags bellow aren’t even a piece, I just needed them to be together. Odd…
The glasses thing is still in progress but getting somewhere.
So yeah, there’s a Recorded Tutorial tomorrow and I’m currently trying to write a statement of my progress and intentions. Writing really helps untangle my thoughts. So far:
My work is very based around the notion of ‘obsessive sentimentality’. I enjoy taking discarded or no longer used objects and bringing them into focus, questioning why they’ve been kept and what they’re new purpose is. I find the idea of becoming attached to an object emotionally, so irational, it’s fascinating.
In previous works I have preserved used contact lenses, presented second hand dress-shirts and made multiples of a pair of binoculars from 1918. The preservation of memory and the assignation of nostalgic value to an ordinary object is a key focus. This semester I am stripping the idea back, exposing the raw process. ‘Can I preserve something that was never intended to remain intact?’
I am working with banana peels. I intend to conduct experiments to find out if/how I can keep a banana peel without it completely decaying. The question is simple, and the answer will be a process. I feel this project embodies the act of trying to hold onto something that naturally fades, like a memory, and the desperate attempts to keep a remnant.
Alongside this project, I am also doing the daily recordings of my personal basic functions; eating, sleeping, etc. This is to direct the preservation of information to data rather than objects. Recording the ordinary and mundane runnings of my life. For now this is very two-dimensional but I feel with progress it has the potential to develop into something with more form that could interact more with a viewer.
Currently I have a lot of loose objects and beginnings of concepts, I enjoy having a body of ideas to explore and a collection of artefacts surrounding me. I feel being tied to one method is stifling, yet my concepts are all somewhat connected.
I have made most progress with the piece I have been working on in the past two weeks, with the use of my old spectacles. Again it embodies this idea of irationally maintaining something that is now of no practical use to me.
And then I ran out of steam. The rest of the night will be finishing and polishing that. Then an early start for studio fun, a nervous tutorial and an overdue return to the recycling centre. Nacht.
New academic year, new white space. I spent a week last semester painting the walls and scrubbing the floor of 606, in preparation for the previous 4th years degree show, so it’s only fitting I should inherit the studio.
Here it is, my new canvas.
I’ve moved some stuff in now. The addition of some collected objects and a pot of coffee has it suddenly feeling more ‘Rachael’. Last week was a bit lacking in productivity on account of 21st birthday related excitement. It was a fantastic week otherwise though. And following that high I’m now ready to make a start with the semester.
I find it easier to think about my stuff when I isolate and arrange my objects into compositions. Things look better when they’re displayed more formally, objects begin to become artworks when they stop being used for their original purpose, so I spent today putting shelves up and playing.
This is what I do.
I’m not completely consumed by any one idea yet but I have that exciting feeling that I’m onto something.
Things I’m thinking about:
Empty jewellery boxes
Hyper recording of data
Make of that what you will. There’s a lot of little ideas floating around, I just need to grab and develop them.