A  C l e a r i n g

I aspire to a state of heightened 'hearing'1. I 'listen' as a way to receive the world of things; will they transmit something of what they are, how they exist? The making of art then, is only an articulation of what I can pick up. I myself have nothing to say that I would want to broadcast, though I may be able to make connections between the things that come over with any clarity, if I'm on the best frequency. The signal can sometimes be confused and hard to make sense of over the interference of previously collected human knowledge, however this atmospheric disturbance, like the periods of clarity, comes in waves, and eventually subsides.

Human beings occupy an odd situation; a part of nature embedded in a technological culture, with a resulting 'gap' between us and the rest of what is considered to be 'natural'. It's a somewhat fractured existence in which, though we might be highly conscious of our 'natural' environment, we are at the same time totally reliant on technology. The very fact of being a contemporary human seems to make disjointed relationships between humans and nature, humans and technology, and humans and other humans, inevitable.

Drawing, photography, construction and the written word, are employed to address direct experiences of the 'natural' world, and as a method through which to try out the premises of certain philosophical or theoretical ideas relating to the intertwining of humans, nature and technology. The possibilities in approaches to the world that contrast most strongly with Western scientific conceptions, such as those offered by phenomenology or which stem from Eastern or indigenous thought, seem to hold the most intrigue, or even hope. However, to be meaningful, a deeper understanding of the human/nature relationship would have to occur from within the cultures of technological dependency which have already been brought about, and without dispensing with the 'bridge' of accumulated scientific knowledge. We are at any point in time, the sort of humans we are, but who have we the potential to become? This working process, is an attempt to form a 'clearing' for this variety of thought, or seeks at least to explore the gaps, between human beings and the wider world of things.

At the centre of the work lies the concept of energy; transmitted, stored, transferred, misdirected, unnoticed, under-utilised, over-used, appropriated and 'natural'. Recently, time has been spent investigating the ways in which the transmitted energies of radio broadcasts might be tapped into by way of day to day odds and ends such as pencil 'leads', razor blades, copper wire, safety pins and pieces of quartz. Devices, in the form of dowsing rods, have been made and used in an attempt to tune in to earth energies. A process of drawing is on-going as a way of transferring energy, in the form of light, from a site, to a photograph, to the surface of paper. It is noticeable that nothing new is made; rather things that already exist in the world are remade, copied or reconfigured, connected, repositioned.




[1] Tom McCarthy makes a well articulated link between listening and the practice of art, including poetry and writing, in an interview with Lee Rourke in the Guardian Review section of 18th September 2010. Here, he is referencing Martin Heidegger's conception of experiencing or opening up to the world in "A Dialogue on Language" in On the Way to Language, trans. Peter D. Hertz (New York: Harper & Row, 1971), p. 29.