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.
I drew some particle tracks of bubbles in a container. I did it because wanted a miniscule contrast to the universe/solar system on the other wall. I had a vague plan to look at the way these small things are connected to create a bigger whole. This didn’t really happen though. I did all sorts of other things but no idea really leapt out at me for how to take that idea forward. In the end, I put a box with arrows pointing outwards all around it to emphasise the fact that it’s one part of something larger. I don’t think this worked though. In a way, I’d also been looking at this in the pixel zoom pictures. I think they were a bit more successful. They had a much more graspable context. They had a point of comparison. Maybe this was what was missing from the particle tracks drawing. Maybe I needed a drawing of the same thing at a different scale.
I drew Hugin and Munin on the walls as I wanted them looking over everything that was going on in the gallery. I quite like the idea of them making a similar appearance in the final piece. They could hover round the edges of the action.
The scratchiness of the drawings appeals to me too. I think I’m going to start out with a similarly scratchy approach when I work on making the finished thing.
With half of the show gone I decided I wanted to change the space quite substantially. I did this by pinning lots of sheets of newsprint to the wall and drawing ‘ealle’ on the wall in an old font that looks like handwritten calligraphy. ‘Ealle’ is one dialect of the Old English word for all. In some places it was spelt ‘eall’. It comes from the Old Frisian (pronounced Free-Zhun) language. The Old Frisians came from where Northern Germany and the Netherlands are now. Ealle was in use in England in the Fifth and Sixth Centuries or thereabouts. It is part of the earliest incarnation of English as English.
I also showed my phone photos. This is a web page consisting, at the moment, of about 1300 photographs taken on my phone. It’s something I’ve been doing for a couple of years but I’ve only just gotten round to getting it all online. Here’s the link:
There’s no specific theme to the pictures, but there are things that develop, as you look at all of them together, mainly because of the kind of things I usually take pictures of. I’m interested in urbanisation; the way people have changed the world and how we’ve chosen to adapt it for own ends. So there are a lot of shots of odd details in bits of cities. Hand dryers, scrawled signs or warnings, details from the textile pattern of a chair on a bus. All of these things end up getting photographed. The main reason why this is relevant to my project is that I wanted to know how effective the mode of presentation was and whether I wanted to explore it any further. There’s something overwhelming about it, after all. There’s so much there to look at. I like the fact that there’s so much to take in at one sitting.
I guess the page is also looking at the way having cameras on phones is changing the way people think about cameras generally. A photograph simultaneously has more and less value now. We cam take literally hundreds of pictures in a day and many of them will be very throwaway. And yet there seems to be more of an obsession with pictures now, if in a poorer quality format. Funny that.
Probably the most important thing I did in this show was get people to fill out a questionnaire about the word all. It starts off fairly innocently and then goes off the deep end a bit. I think my final piece is most likely to be a honed down version of this questionnaire. A few people said they really enjoyed filling it out and a couple even said they’d been thinking about it in the week after doing it. That has to be a good thing. It’s a good way of engaging people with a thought process.
In the west, everything has a name and is set into groups. It’s all classified. I gather this is set into the history of western thought. Some people would probably trace this back to Aristotle. Some people think Descartes was behind the development.
I wanted to develop the pixelised motorway pictures I did a few months ago. I zoomed in on three pictures by 3200% and screen grabbed small sections of them. The end result is that they look like compositions of squares. Well, that’s what they are, effectively. I think they’re quite beautiful. Some of them are anyway. I zoomed out steadily and took grabs of bits of each picture on each zoom. Over the course of a minute or two the subject of the picture becomes clear.
While pondering things in a meandering fashion one day I realised that, to many people, the word all represents wholeness in some respects. A circle also represents wholeness. I was wondering what it would look like if a circle was placed inside a circle, being a wholeness inside of a wholeness. Is that possible? Does that make sense? I quite like this idea as there’s a simplicity about it.
One of the first things I did in the House Gallery was make a layered set of illustrations of views of the universe. The ancient Greek mathematician Ptolemy realised the Earth was a sphere but thought it was at the centre of the universe and that all of the planets orbited around it. He said the Sun was where the Earth is. He couldn’t see clearly beyond Saturn. 1500 odd years later, Copernicus figured out, (with flat earth carried by turtle theories in between) that the Earth wasn’t at the centre of the universe, or even the solar system. Nowadays we realise everything’s much more complicated than we might have thought. This is shown with a diagram of the timeline of the universe after the big bang showing how everything that exists is set in the context of space time. I used different coloured chalk to illustrate these different views of the universe and show how they have changed with time.
I’ve just finished using the house gallery as a studio space for a couple of weeks.
It’s been fun. It’s also meant I’ve been able to work a few things through a little bit.
I think I’m a bit further along the line now than I was when I started the show. I’m going to talk about it bit by bit. It’s going to take a few posts which will appear here over the course of the next week or so.