After our Interim show at the Bargehouse, I have decided to plunge right into a new project (I have to make the most of the workshops before Easter, you know). I have challenged myself to make 100-200 10cm sized tetrahedrons in a week. I will then use them in a new piece trying to capture the concepts in ‘God’s Dice’, in a purely sculptural way – through form and material only. Obviously I have not learnt from the mild craziness that set in while I was creating my last piece a couple of weeks ago. But now I am trying out a new method of ‘mass’ production and already after two days I have produced 45 of the little bad boys (+ 1 I gave as a gift to a workshop regular) so I think I will meet my target.
Doing intense, repetitive work has got me thinking about what it means in terms of my artistic practice and I have resolved that this work has turned into both a game and a performance (as well as the obvious nod to mechanical factory labour).
When doing repetitive work, one tries to find many strategies to avoid a descent into boredom. For me, it has been about trying to see how many pyramids I can build in an hour. A simplistic game that has surely been used to get children to do menial task since the beginning of time, there is something strangely satisfying about trying to beat a personal record. My current record is 15… I’m not sure there will be much improvement from there.
Now let’s say I could make 20 pyramids in an hour. That means I would require 80 triangular pieces of wood each involving 3 cuts. In total I would be making 240 sweeping gestures an hour with the circular plunge saw. In addition, I am flipping over the wood each time I make a new triangle. This lunging and flipping could be interpreted as some sort of ritualistic dance, or perhaps the early stages of learning a new, unusual martial art.
You all know how I like to relate my artwork to physics, so in terms of a well known system, I can declare that I’ve become a driven pendulum, oscillating back and forth. The movements of my body refers to circular motion, to the orbits of the planets around the sun or to the energy levels of electrons around an atom’s nucleus.
In the end, I will have a collection of seemingly identical tetrahedrons that are marked by small imperfections that come from working quickly. These imperfections are in fact a sign of my hand – the artists hand – and are demonstrable proof that each individual piece of the eventual puzzle has been created in this bizarre ritualistic ceremony and not by the arms of a robot on a production line.
What does this all mean? Well the process of making and the conception of art are just as important as the final outcome (if one does even exist). The fluid nature of my movements during the making process are prophetic of the envisioned wavelike nature of the eventual piece. To align this statement to ideas in my general practice, I see my movement now as correlated to the form of the outcome later on.