Final assessment of House gallery show

I’m pretty much always disappointed with everything I do so I’m not surprised that I’m a bit disappointed with the House gallery show as a whole. That’s only because I didn’t do anything there that I thought was really good. To be fair, though, it was always presented as a step in a process. In that regard it’s been a success.

wide shot of house gallery exhibition at the end of the process

There are a few ideas that I was quite sold on but having taken them so far my interest has waned. These ideas are:

This /That pointing fingers thing
The layered view(s) of the universe
The zooming pixels
The exploding alphabet
The drawing on the wall of the particle tracks

Though saying that, they all hold small kernels of thought that do interest me, so I may well revisit them. It really depends on how I choose to illustrate the questionnaire, though. If one of these things becomes super relevant to a question then who knows. I’ll have to wait and see, huh. The layered views of the universe were successful for different reasons than expected. I liked the simply illustrated contrast between the awe of seeing 13.7 billion years of absolutely everything next to absolutely nothing. I think I may well do something with that. The whole business of trying to comprehend nothing, the void is really quite incredible. I need to write a separate science blog about that though.

The bits I liked were the layered alls* and the questionnaire. I enjoyed doing the layered alls, and want to push them a bit further. They’re a simple accompaniment to the questionnaire. Simplicity is good. It gives work a spine, something for people to get their bearings inside of it. I was partially decided on pushing the questionnaire as far as I could anyway. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve mentioned the fact that I had a questionnaire as part of my show about laughter a few years ago. It was one of my favourite bits of that as well. I’m looking at viewer inclusion and agency in artwork/websites for my PGPD essay so I’m going to have more to say about this. At one point my project for this course was likely to be a development of the miniature kingdoms page on my website but I was going to make most of it about people sending in their own ideas for different worlds. This is a project I’m still likely to pursue at some point but for this ma it felt like it wasn’t quite there for some reason. I think I want to do it in a different, perhaps more community based context. My point, though, is that viewer involvement is a part of my work that’s been increasing for a while. It’s also a significant part of the charm of digital art for me. Websites open so many doors on this front.

A part of the show I enjoyed unexpectedly was taking it all down. I liked the traces left behind before I cleaned the wall properly. Here are some photos of the traces of various bits.

layered alls stacked on the floor

charcoal marks made behind the paper used for the bottom layer of the layered alls

blu tac used to stick up the questionnaires, which is still on the wall

hugin erased

particle tracks washed off with sugar soap creating a grey mess on the wall

I almost like them more than the actual work. I like the fact that I took away all of the work and was still left with stuff. I like the fact that it’s difficult to completely get rid of something. My work is, in some pretty much imperceptible way, a part of the current show at the gallery just because it’s part of the history of the space. Also, Hugin looks perhaps more interesting as a picture of thought than he did when I’d originally drawn him. He’s like a ghost, or a shadow. The attempt to eradicate him has made him less distinct but all the more present. Is this in any way like actual thought? If not, is it similar to cultural forgetfulness or memory? Some parts of what we are, collectively, hang above us, though we may try to forget, though we may be told they don’t matter. Some parts of what we are hang over us even though they have no right to be so foreboding. I’m going off on one here, I know. I feel a little like I need to at some points, though. Language, and the things we think of when we think of ‘all’ cut to the heart of what we are, I think. These are not the only things that do that, not by any means. They present a route in, though.

Okay, I’m not sure what else to say about the House gallery exhibition. I want to write more about the questionnaire later in terms of breaking it down and deciding how to take it forward. But that’s for another day. It was really good to give the whole project a bit of oxygen. I think it’s leapt forward as a result. At least in my head it has. The main thing I need to do as a result of the show is start making basic online questionnaires and figuring out the visual accompaniments.

* – As a bit of a footnote, ‘alls’ has, unsurprisingly, come up as a misspelling on my spellchecker. I like that. I like the fact that my project has led me to use a word of ambiguous grammatical sense. How can you have a plural of all? I guess you could have all of the jam sandwiches in the kitchen, when you knew perfectly well that there were another fifty jam sandwiches in the bathroom. Then you’d have two alls, and you could still have all of the ham sandwiches as well, not to mention the spam sandwiches, wherever they were (in the shed?) Wittering aside, it feels funny using the (non) word ‘alls’. It doesn’t quite make sense, instinctively, to have a group of alls. What could the noun of assemblage be for a group of alls? hmm. And what would you say when you had the lot of them in one place?

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