84 Eyes

I’ve written previously about sentimentality, and attaching affection and memory to a material object. This surrounds a lot of the work I’m doing this semester. Obsessive Sentimentality.

Let me tell you a story. I went to Paris in the Summer of 2010. I saw everything. I saw Matisse and Rothko, a perfect sunset on top of the Arc de Triomphe, quaint towns and monumental architecture. And when it came to throwing my monthly contact lenses away at the end of July, I just couldn’t.

Which is stupid. It is completely irrational behaviour to allow these pieces of plastic that have been sitting on my eyeballs for a month, to have some kind kind of lasting power. If I lost the knackered old lenses, would I lose the visions of what I’ve seen? No. But its somehow a comfort having them. There’s a feeling that memory just isn’t enough.

So sometimes I keep my lenses. Because I can’t not.

I’ve worn 84 pairs of contact lenses. I keep some and remember them all. And I allow them to represent everything I’ve ever seen. Am I crazy? Perhaps… Certainly an obsessive sentimentalist. But I could make some art of this.

 

Capsules 1, 2 & 3

So the studio module deadline has been met. I find myself a little bit lost and not knowing what to do with myself. The expansive module deadline is pending but we’re not allowed in the studio this week and I therefore seem to have achieved absolutely nothing today. Perhaps I’ll blog about what I have achieved this semester, to provoke a bit of self- motivation.

Some detail on Capsules One, Two and Three.

Capsule One was the last to be filled, and one of the most frustrating. When you can see the end so close, patience starts to wear thin.

The contents of Capsule One include a hanging envelope containing an old pair of  ‘Pince-nez’ spectacles, and on the right, eight envelopes each with a title but containing a blank page. This is meant to comment on the fading memory of events. We can remember an event happened, we know its title and perhaps its date, but in time the images and details of that occasion deteriorate.The content becomes unclear.

Capsule Two is my favourite and the one I had in my head from day one. It incorporates hanging baby teeth, shelves holding1940s pennies and shells washed up on the beach, still intact with both sides able to close. Creeped out yet? The teeth seem to have provoked some surprise.

I think this is a good example of the nature of assemblage. I’m not just ‘shoving things in boxes’. This is a process where composition must be considered as well as colour and placement of shape and form. Just like painting or photography, it is simply another medium to create an image and a reaction.

Capsule Three allowed me to continue the use of bones, as well as layered acetates, and typewriter text. Each box has a border of a page from ‘the Book of Knowledge’ in it. The boxes were originally motivated by the jumble of subject matter found in those old encyclopedias I acquitred back in Summer.

The small glass contains some preserved, pressed fuchsias. They are so fragile. Everytime I dropped one and tried to pick it up it would just tear in my hands. The old bones, small glass and dried fuchsias continue this representation of the fragility of memory.

As well as each having the border of encyclopedia pages, each is also uniform in the addition of a small light at the top of each capsule. This is to strengthen the concept of these being display cases, they are lit to present the objects more formally. I like the uniformity of the exterior of these boxes, and the consistencies throughout. They are tied together as a series, thus the random objects used have been associated together to create a new context. Hurrah.

 

The Push

Deadlines are approaching. Sometimes the panic becomes a background thing and all thats felt is a drive to finish. It’ll get done, because it has to. This past week I’ve probably done the work I’d normally do in 3 weeks. I’ve been up before 9 every morning and have been staying in uni til around 7. And it feels good. The capsules themselves took a while to make so its good to get onto more resolved work.

This was basically my blank canvas at the start of last week. It was a little bit daunting, the prospect of having to actually do something creative with these perfect circles I’d made. I was feeling a little precious about ruining them, which isn’t a feeling I often get in my artwork. I usually enjoy the ‘happy accidents’ and the unpredictability of experimentation. I managed to overcome the fear anyway.

Inside each box is a variety of typed text, assorted found objects, and histological images. Quite the mix. The objects range from some shells and an old boot picked up on Musselburgh beach last Winter, to some spent matches of my Grandpas, refound in our garage over summer. This variety links back to the mix of articles found in those old encyclopoaedias I read over summer, and also to the patchwork way our minds work. I like the way memory works, keeping fragments of events and giving seemingly unimportant things signifficance. I think the theme of memory and this idea of remnants of things lost, creeps up a lot in my work.

The histological images are courtesy of my friend Scott and his uni studies. I like that to me they’re pretty and look like planets but theres this whole other importance and relevance to human life that lingers. It seems to work with the layering of theme and different aspects of knowledge I’ve got throughout this project.

One of my six in-progress capsules. Still a bit rough in terms of finish but I’ve got the objects installed and the lighting pretty much sorted, so its on its way.

Bring on assessment, I guess.