Thursday, April 14, 2011

step by step

Here's a brief description of the STC working procedure:

I begin by going for a walk – it’s more of an amble, my pace is slow so that I can scan the terrain for fragments of hard plastic.

I wander, along main roads through suburban streets down lane ways, across playgrounds, train lines, car parks and sporting grounds ...

I often take my dog for company, although lately I invited a friend or two to join me.

I carry with me a prepared pack of hand tools – hand drill, scribe, a woodenwedge with a hook attached, G Clamp, a wooden block with screws drilled into the top, silk thread, threading needles, pearlescent plastic beads.

As a wander I collect fragments of hard plastic

Run over chopped up, swept into crevices and corners as they break down fragments tend to evade all mechanical methods of rubbish removal.

The only way to remove them is to pick them up by hand.

I pause at intervals along the way.

Usually at bus stops, park benches or other forms of public architecture. I carry tools to clamp on or wedge in to adapt these spaces as a temporary workstation.

I sort, drill and thread the found plastic with pearlescent beads. I repeat this process until I have gathered and threaded a necklace length of plastic fragments. The time it takes and the distance I travel is dependent on the amount of material I find.

I repeat the procedure Walking, collecting, drilling and threading. Over time I create a string of beaded fragments.

Upon my return I add it onto an intricately bejeweled looping matrix that can be read or interacted with as a wearable object or as cartographic trace of my engagement with matter, time and site.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

seeding the clouds

A few years ago I heard Australian of the year Scientist Tim Flannery discuss global warming. He outlined several science-based solutions, one of which involved propelling sulphur particles into the atmosphere creating a protective shield to promote cooling of the planet.

While I admire Flannery's advocacy on climate change the scale of human intervention into the environment he proposed came as a shock to me. While clearly thinking on a global scale the sulphur solution seemed to suggest that Flannery, and by extension science, held no faith in the ability of humanity to work collectively towards solutions for living sustainably on the planet.

Confronted by apocalyptic science and failing political leadership I noted the way solutions are constructed are subject to our field of expertise or power base. I was compelled to think through my own area of practice and began to explore the conceptual, material and social potential of jewellery as a structure through which to invite public engagement with the larger issues of our time. Its idealistic I know, but why should the scientists get all the fun!

Seeding the Cloud: A Walking Work in Process is a project I have been developing over the last 12 months. The design of the project was drawn from my experience of creating interactive/performative works that reflected upon the symbolic language of jewellery and making wearable objects from discarded material collected from the urban environment.

The work is initiated in walking, and the experience is deepened through observing, collecting and processing residual fragments of hard plastic. Initially performed as a solo work I have begun to develop its potential as a civic work that can be taken up by individuals or small groups anywhere/anytime in neighbourhoods around the world. My hope is that with time the project will help us to recalibrate an understanding of the individual vs public need, waste matter vs resource material, land value vs habitat etc

My intention with this blog is to document the project, it may appear as if it proceeds with a linear momentum but this has more to do with my inability in HTML design. Hopefully it will unravel as a series of ideas and experiences, wanderings that first occured and held meaning in my neighbourhood and hopefully continue in the direction where they are taken up and engaged with in yours.

Please comment and contact me if you are interested in participating.

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