The resolution of a small project with Alice Thickett.
The resolution of a small project with Alice Thickett.
The room is pitch black and silent. Suddenly there is a clicking sound; simultaneously a beam of light appears and projects outwards across the space. The viewer’s eyes follow the light; hazy dust particles hover in the surrounding air and form shape around the newly discovered glowing source. The light marks a luminous soft rectangle on the wall slowly coming into focus. The scene is suspended in a quiet, completive state for what feels like minutes, the only sound audible – the quiet hum of the projector, before an image begins to emerge on the screen.
A satellite slowly moves through outer space. Endlessly it traverses infinite dark space amidst a wave of stars glittering like torches of light burning far into the distance. The seemly clunky and alien device moves in a fantastically hypnotising and choreographed manner, slowly orbiting Earth. The viewer watches the satellite’s transit from the point of view as if too drifting through space. Meanwhile the satellite itself silently observes Earth below.
In an unnamed city it’s nighttime. The yellowy moon, large and almost full, sits in the night’s sky overlooking the metropolitan beneath which is submerged in the eerie quiet darkness that comes just before dawn. Peacefully it beams down upon the sleeping city, illuminating the darkened rooftops. The camera focuses on a large high-rise tower block looming in the background. The building is concrete clad with a regiment of large square windows spread across the outfacing facade. The viewer’s attention is drawn towards one of the windows on the 12th floor. This is the only window alight in the building. The room is aglow with a bluish flickering light, which reflects through the window frame like a beacon signalling wistfully out into the dormant city beyond.
“Banality wrapped in the glow of fascination”
In January, this year, over a three-week period, I began receiving tweets from artist Alice Thickett who was based in Hong Kong at the time. Short and somewhat cryptic, the words, making up sentences resonated something unknown, the strangeness of a foreign land, at times humorous, and other times poetic.These words will inspire and inform a new piece of work, a visual narrative of displacement, reflection of place, and imaginary travel in the format of a video piece. The work is at present unmade and will develop other the coming months to be shown in a group exhibition, ‘It is always happening outside the frame’ in the Autumn. The exhibition will feature a selection of artists making artwork inspired by an outside influence.
I’m yet to mention a project I began working on whilst out in India with fellow Nottingham based artist Alice Thickett. The idea stemmed from Alice, who taking part in Project India from the UK, asked me to send her a series of short texts whilst I was out in Mumbai. We decided upon the medium of Twitter for this project due to the limitations of word count. These short tweets, created by myself, cryptically reflected upon experiences and encounters of both the project and city of Mumbai whilst I was out there. The 17 tweets I sent to Alice are as follows:
1. 5 arrive in Mumbai. Organised chaos. Adjust. False start but moving forward…
2. With fresh eyes heading across the tracks, first sights, everything shifts
3. Spilting up 3 abstract stories: 1. Failed persuasion against Vastu, 2. Seeing the ‘other’ side of the city 3. The high life.
4. ‘Corruption spreads quickly in Mumbai’-taxi driver
5. Working with limitations, transforming space, jarring elements. Contemporary vs Traditional
6. Nothing is straight forward, but it’s on the cusp on something
7. Down alleyways, back street corners, open spaces, shopping malls, from dizzy heights, the city continues its constant juxtaposition
8. Explore respond dialogue explore expand create
9. Around corners, down darkened alleys, inside old buildings, up creaky staircases, behind large wooden doors, art awaits.
10. A small calm space hidden within a maze of traffic, stacked housing, colour, noise and people.
11.Traffic, horns, beep beep, bicycle bell, sweeping, birds circling, birds squawking, fans spinning, air conditioned hum
12. Dialogue, ideas and words exchanged. Re-thinking, re-evaluating and continuously evolving.
13. A space within a space, hidden. Turned inside out, revealed. Secrets of the space/// secrets of the city unravel..
14. Tying up loose threads, and still weaving across the city
15. The city coast line; in the evening’s people gather in flocks to sit and stare out to sea
16. Circles, rummaging through the cinematic past, connecting, ending, closing in
17. A taxi journey in a previous land. Two lands merged. Distance.
In exchange, and as a development to the concept, I too received tweets from Alice in Hong Kong during the month of February. The text we have both sent and received will be responded to, becoming two separate artworks created by the recipient artists. These artworks will hopefully be shown in an exhibition at some point this year which will be based around the concept of responsive artwork. I will not reveal Alice’s tweets, but the ideas process has began to make one, or several pieces which respond to and take influence from her words. As a complete stranger to Hong Kong, Alice’s words act as my only guide, this strangeness of place will be reflected within my work as a narrative of displacement unravels…
Cinema, Video (2011)
As we enter the dark space of the cinema, we become immersed in the screen, like slipping into a new state of consciousness; we can easily become lost in another world.
‘Cinema’ is the most recent piece of work I have made and exhibited. I completed the video in November 2011; however it is a piece I’ve actually been (slowly!) making for the past couple of years. I finally finished it in time to take with me to India as part of a project I participated in (more on this later). The video was exhibited in a small room in an unconventional gallery space in Mumbai. The piece doesn’t yet feel entirely resolved; this may be because I wasn’t entirely happy with the final installation of the work in the exhibition, in which case maybe re-showing in a different space will give a sense of resolution. I may even remake the video and alter with the editing process, potentially adding audio elements; I think these decisions will come with some further testing.
The video was made as both a reflection of and homage to, the space of the cinema. In making previous moving image pieces and installing works as large projections in dark rooms I’ve found myself almost fascinated with the cinematic viewing space. I speak of the ‘cinema’ as a dark projection space that one enters into to become lost within a different world presented on-screen, this is a space where a sense of time and reality can easily become distorted, a real psychical space where fictionalised worlds are played out. As a video of a constructed model I made the piece to reflect upon the cinema as this dream-like space, a collision between reality and fiction, thinking both about the psychical space and also the world of video itself as a less tangible mind space. These ideas are still very present in my practice and no doubt will be unpicked further in writing, exhibition visits, ideas and making.