January 17th 2008

So i’ve been writing my proposal essay. Which has been fun. It’s been a challenge too, in a weird way. in the past i’ve just made stuff. I decided I was going to make something and then thought of things i’d do for it then i did them. I’d kind of plan on an ad hoc basis as i went along but didn’t challenge the process that much. Which is ludicrous, really.

Writing the proposal has helped me realise a few things:

1 – I need to spend some quality time looking at immersive installations. By immersive installations, i mean installations that include the viewer in some way. They spill out of the ordinary framework given to art and make the viewer a part of the creative process, not only by dint of their looking and thinking but also in subtle, or perhaps not so subtle ways, their interaction with the work. An early example of this is the Max Ernst painting of the nightingale featuring two children running away from said bird.

Max Ernst - Two children are threatened by a nightingale

I’m sure most of you are familiar with all this but for the sake of the blog, I’m writing it anyway. The garden gate protrudes from the picture into our space. Are we one of those children? I like that. I want people to be engaged on that kind of level; with an awareness that they are part of what they’re looking at. I’ve already said on this blog that my favourite artists are people like Kabakov and Georgina Starr who do pretty multi-media based installations anyway. I want to get more of a thorough basis of knowledge here though.

2 – My project is looking at the development of meaning by examining one particular word. Meaning has come a long way in the past hundred years, let alone the last twenty thousand. I think a good way of looking at it is that meaning was relatively simple at one point. People related to things in a more simple way. The technological changes of the past hundred years and especially the last ten to thirty years have exploded a lot of the stability in that area. The way people relate to culture is in this state of incredible flux and has become focused on things which are barely there in both real and occasionally symbolic terms. Add to this the fact that everything we look at, we look at through the lens of everything else we’ve seen, but also the lens of collective cultural memory. The word all may just mean ‘all of’ or ‘everything’ to most of us, but its history is still a fact of our experience of it. It’s a shadow of sorts that hangs over it.

With these things in mind, I’m thinking a good way of dealing with this is:

to have a relatively small exhibition space with three walls and things covering all the walls from floor to ceiling. The fulness of history.

There should also be at least one computer in the space with a website or animation on screen. The computer itself should be presented as part of the work in its own right. I don’t like the idea of including objects which aren’t explicitly there to be read, if I can help it anyway. The back of it should be open. The circuitry should be visible. I don’t want it to look like a box with a moving picture on screen. Part of the object (ie – computer monitor) is the process that’s going on inside it. Part of the work is about the process of the word reaching the point it has today. I know presenting bare circuit boards etc will need to be part of the risk assessment.

There should be at least one projection shining over what is already on the wall. The projection will become part of what has been pinned on the wall. At this stage I am thinking the picture it’s shining over may be a large (6×4 feet?) photograph of a hill or grass verge against the sky. Predominantly emptiness.

Here’s an example of such a picture:

A hillside with nothing on it but grass

In the middle of this exhibition space there should be, representing language and meaning’s more simple origins, a sculpture or object, casting shadows on the projection. This way, all of the parts of the show which represent the old will affect the projection, which will represent the new.

This post is to be continued very soon.

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