The Orange Walk II

I decided to use oranges to trace my journey. I didn’t want to use something permanent that would stick out (e.g tape, paint etc) as this would draw attention and make the ‘drawing’ into a literal drawing which isn’t really what I wanted as I enjoy the idea of taking over a space despite knowing knowing I have done it. Oranges are temporary and go ignored (as they are always dropped on streets), yet are brightly coloured so are noticeable despite not being out-of-the-ordinary.

Whilst on the initial 5 minute walk I was looking out for a way to mark my journey and thought it was funny how peoples exact movements/location can be traced using orange peel. People stand or walk whilst peeling leaving a trace of their actions.

The orange also reflects the shape of the walk which I find funny. I have made this section of London into a giant orange.

The conflict between my own rules and the rules of the city was very interesting. I set myself a route but had to ultimately do what the city wanted me to do as, obviously, the roads don’t follow my pre-decided shape.

  

I enjoyed working with oranges. There is something funny about them and this idea of eye-catching yet ignoreable works well alongside my interest in creating spaces and systems. It will be interesting to continue thinking about other things that trace in the same way as orange peel. Cigarette buts? Chewing gum?

Having said this, I don’t want to ditch the oranges.

 

The Orange Walk I

Thinking about using the city to create a kind of invisible system I wanted to do some kind of walk. I am very interested in the idea of claiming a space as my own and/or making it into something else.

My plan was to walk for 5 minutes and mark this point then create a circle around uni so that everywhere within the circle would be maximum 5 minutes away. However, this crossed over the river so I shifted my circle around to fin the best route. Perhaps I should have got a bit creative and figured out a way to tackle the river rather than just pretending it doesn’t exist, but I chose to keep my circle the exact same diameter, and still cross the original 5 minute mark, in order to keep as much integrity as possible.

5 minute radius – everything within 5 minutes. Goes across river.
Same size but shifted away from river. Crosses original 5 minute mark but not everywhere within 5 minutes.
Same size again but shifted so it crosses the river.

I also considered not using a circle, but rather returning to my ideas about remnants, specifically the marks left on the wall from earlier pieces (which I was drawn to as a way of creating a new system from an old system, but never actually took anyway). However, although this could work, there’s not really any reason for it and I kind of like the idea of forcing a perfect shape (i.e a circle) into the jagged linear streets of the city. It will be interesting to see how the walk is taken out of my control and into the control of the city. This will be more obvious when veering from the perfect curve of a circle.

Joined up the marks on the wall to create a loop.
Edited on to the map.

 

 

Wrapping / Wax

In order to transport the components, I wrapped them up in little packages containing all the parts of each object. I really like these as little things in themselves. The breakdown has become irrelevant and so, in fact,have the objects, as the only indication of what is inside is a little note, which could be a lie. The identity of the object has been taken away, once again making the piece about the act of collecting, or the act of journey.

I also like the connotations of these things: is it a parcel that will be sent somewhere? A gift? This reminds me of early ideas I had about redistribution and rearranging one system into another system. Much of Francis Alys‘ work questions this idea of circulation and systems of distribution. Asco also challenge the idea of circulation in terms of the media.

Then cast every component in wax. Here, although they have lost a large amount of their identity as an object, they much more explicitly represent the object. I think these are super satisfying little things, however, I felt like I had spent a lot of time using the objects in an attempt to move away from the objects, which obviously doesn’t make sense. Especially as, in my eyes, they closely resemble the objects.

However, in a group crit people seemed to see them quite differently to me. They said that rather than being the same as the objects, they are more of an essence of the city. It was also said that they themselves form a kind of map and that perhaps they don’t need to be taken back to the city, but stay in some kind of composition as a representation of the city.  It is kind of nice to create something material and tangible, this is the first thing I really have from this term that still exists in a physical form.

There was also a big focus on their sanitised aesthetic which is interesting as it is something that I didn’t really pick up on myself. While they have an essence of the city, it is a clean, crisp essence. This is a complete distortion of the grimy, throwaway objects which I think creates an interesting tension as it makes the connection with  found objects less obvious / boring / pointless.

Breakdown

Continuing with the idea of trying to stop the work from being about the objects by using ‘remnants’, I broke a number of them down into their most basic, reduced form. The objects become components rather than objects. I like the thought that by breaking down these objects I am also breaking down the city.

This has a clear link to Michael Landy’s breakdown in which he (along with a team of assistants) methodically took apart/shredded/deconstructed every one of his possessions, reducing them to their most basic parts. These remains can no longer be seen as possessions or belongings, in the same way that my objects can no longer been seen as the same objects I collected. The piles of Landy’s scraps are a kind of pile of his life, without being actual physical objects – I see my parts as a summing up of the journey/network that I created, not as found objects.

One of the most interesting parts of “breakdown” is the inventory that was written of every item along with a code number. It is interesting how such subjective, personal things such as possessions can be so easily made into sterile and objective.  I am very interested in cataloguing, list writing etc as a way of recording dematerialised works and was curious about applying this to this facet of my work. A list is one step further removed from the object itself. The words are the objects and the objects are the city, so the words are the city.

Extraxt from Michael Landys “Breakdown Inventory” 2001. Full list available here
Extract from my inventory.

My inventory and Landy’s are the opposite way round – his is a list of all the objects pre-breakdown, whereas mine is a list of the components.

I decided not to breakdown every object as it started to feel like a bit of a waste of time. Although the result was an effective veer from object, the fact that I was spending so much of my time working with the objects, rather than returning to systems/space etc, felt completely contradictory. I am glad I started this as I do think it was interesting (both the process and the result), in that I have become interested in starting a dematerial process with a material object. (for example, the more i continue, the less of a material I am left with. Could I start a network with an object and end with no object?).

 

Books 2/3 : STUDIO and Draw and ellipse…

I have found books to be an extremely effective method of presentation. Much of my work is temporary or time-based which means I have to think carefully about how I choose to present my work, as this is the only form it fully exists in once the ‘actual’ piece is gone.

Books allow me to make compile a collection of images, make comparisons, show changes over time and so on. Most of my books have been to show images of visual research and experiments, but I consider these elements just as valid as the ‘final’ piece (I very rarely even have something that could be considered ‘final’ – my work tends to just be an ongoing series of experimentation). This means I want to have the visual evidence somewhere other than trapped inside a sketchbook. I also enjoy making them and like them as objects as well as a records.

Books also allow me to give my work a title. I think this is effective as it gives some context to the images; because my work is very conceptually driven, it can be difficult for an audience to connect with it if given no explanation whatsoever. A title doesn’t over-explain the work, but helps to guide the viewer.

Selection of pages from “STUDIO”

Selection of pages from “Draw an ellipse…”

Distorting spaces III

Thinking about how to make a studio useless as a studio.

This was difficult as I wanted to make the studio impossible to use, but didn’t want to actually disrupt anyone’s work or do anything irreversible (e.g take table tops off and not be able to put them back, cut holes in walls etc).

 

Distorting spaces II

In a workshop thinking about site specificity, we were asked to create a piece of site specific work in a conference room. The room was actually made up of two rooms that can be divided by a big sliding door (which was open). In between the rooms was a large conference table, which we spent the first half of the session sitting around as a group.

Floor plan of room

Thinking, again, about how one small change can be made to make a space unusable, we shut the shutter doors, leaving the table where it is, making the one space into two. 

Poorly documented – work like this needs to be well photographed as it doesn’t exist in any other form.

The response from the group was very interesting once we had done this. Instead of it being one room split into two, it became two very distinct, separate rooms. The power also weirdly changed – noone really came into ‘our’ side, all the other groups worked in the other one. We started to play with this, forcing people to leave through ‘their’ door and in through ‘ours’, rather than going through the sliding doors.

We tried to exaggerate this, making ‘our side’ as uncomfortable to enter as possible. We played loud music and started rearranging the chairs so they all faced the door – making it feel like you were walking into some kind of auditorium. However, part way through doing this, we realised that the piece was much more powerful as its original intent. The whole point was that we were making the one big conference room useless, but still considering it one big conference room.

 

COLLAB PART 1

Perec’s “Species of Spaces” talked about imagined spaces vs real spaces. for example, if you close your eyes and imagine the space you are in / a space you know well in as much detail as possible, how does this compare to the actual, physical space? And how can you say which is more ‘real’? This concept reminded me of the game you play as a child whereby one person does a drawing then explains it to the other person, breaking it down into shapes, lines and angles. The other person recreates it as closely as possible.

This made me wander if a similar thing could be done with a space (e.g a room). This prompted the start of a collaboration with a first year sculpture student at Camberwell, who is also interested in the qualities of spaces. Can we ‘send’ a space from one part of London to another part? Breaking it down and building it back up in whatever way we see best.

We started with the original game as a kind of ‘warm up’.

Presented all together on a wall

4 examples of our attempts.

Distorting spaces I

“public space, politics and event” workshop With lucy gunning

Workshop notes:

  • What does ‘politics’ mean? Politics of the world, a country, a space. Politics = news, rules, systems put in place by those with power. Politics = the way things are, the everyday. Politics of life vs politics of politics/government.
  • Restriction. Virginia Woolf “A Room of One’s Own” — inspired Lucy Gunning’s piece for “Planned and Unplanned” exhibition. Ownership of space (e.g uni / museum quad) – reading Virginia Woolf in quad.
  • Spectacle or lack of. Merge with everyday life rather than causing a scene. Not a hired space, rest of the space continuing as usual.
  • “Text mapped on to an environment, that you were moving through”
  • Participants also the audience
  • Event in relation to exhibition: exhib a way to advertise event (not pre filmed etc as something to present in an exhibition)
  • Carrying dancer down the street; acknowledgement of audience; subtle, short, fitting into everyday.
  • Mirrors in Lake district; can only witness by being part of it; Noone can witness the whole thing
  • Posters/stickers – integrating with public space

References:

  • DAVID HAMMONS: Selling snowballs on the street, documentation only exists because a photographer (unhired) took photos
  • FRANCIS ALYS: Recording. If the work is made up of experiences is there any value in filming etc
  • OLAFUR ELIASSON: “Green River”. Unannounced. Starts a fear/buzz/rumour. Wakes people up to their environment.
  • MEIRELES: Working with the circulation of things, e.g recycled coca cola bottles, editing the labels etc then returning them, go undetected and back into the system. E.g instructions on how to make a molotov cocktail; no control over what happens to them/no control over the audience; also with money “yankees go home”
  • VALIE EXPORT: Working with her body in public; posters; performance; “street cinema” – but its her boobs! Questioning the male gaze by confronting them with her as a human.
  • Always relates back to capitalism / control / boundaries. Capitalism as a network/map/web. Boundaries as a system.

For me , this workshop became more about the politics of space; how do we use spaces? I was thinking about the formal rules that dictate our use of spaces as well as the informal rules that influence how we move around, behave in and interact with spaces.

I was thinking about this in relation to Perec’s “Species of Spaces”. As well as talking about Spaces, he sets what he refers to as ‘exercises’, for example, listing sitting in one places and listing everything you see, without prioritising the out-of-the-ordinary over the mundane. This forces the participant to look more carefully at their surroundings and to notice things. 

I did this for the Chelsea College Parade Ground. I think the Parade Ground is an interesting space as it sits somewhere between poublic and private; it is owned by the college, yet is open for the public to pass through. I think of the Parade Ground as a kind of transitionary space – it is used to get from one place to another. My main interest lies in how people use spaces, so I focused my recordings on the entrances/exits and the people who pass through them:

This kind of written ‘map’ of activity prompted me to think about other ways of mapping/tracking how people interact with the space. Because of limited time, I focused on the area outside the Triangle space, at the bottom of the ramp. This area is one that has to be walked on in order for people to get to the Parade Ground from the main building, the workshops and the Triangle Space, as well as being the only route in between the three.

Despite this, once i started laying down the newspaper, people were extremely reluctant to walk there (even though there is literally no other option). I tried to make extend the edges, forcing people to walk across, rather than jump over. By laying water around the edges of the newspaper I could see exactly where people were walking, and all the stains were around the very edges.

It is interesting how a small change made people so aware of themselves and of the space. Ordinarily, you wouldn’t think twice about walking on a newspaper on the ground, however here, where it was clearly more deliberate, everyone was reluctant to. They either skirted round the edges, or walked in a funny ‘minimal contact’ kind of way, hesitating before crossing.

My intention for this experiment was to simply see how people moved in a space, however, it became about me as the artist changing the space and preventing the people from using the space how they usually would. This relates back to my earlier work exploring my power as artist. I have made a space that’s only purpose is to be walked across, completely useless.

 

Remnants

I am interested in how I can show my ideas in the most stripped down way possible. The pile of tags I had leftover piqued my interest in the remnants of other works. These can be a very effective way of breaking down a work into only the elements it needs to be: taking away all the unnecessary parts. Sometimes these remnants represent ideas in a way that is less explicit to the audience which, therefore, draws them in and encourages questions to be asked. There is a sense of something greater in a way that is difficult to achieve when trying to create a minimal piece straight of the bat. 

My key concern with this body of work is the network/systems that I can create – so are the objects themselves necessary? Or do they actually take away more than they add – stealing the attention?