From August 2013 I have an exhibition at the Centre for Alternative Technology. This show is the culmination of my year long artist residency based within its visitor circuit. To see the project archive for this residency see here
At the start of the residency and on arrival at the site what affected me most was the proximity of the outside world. CAT itself seeks to cultivate and preserve its environment, yet is surrounded by sheep farming and coniferous forestry. A new gas pipe is being installed underground just past the entrance. Its journey marked by a fifty metre wide scar along the valley and hills. The local roads are being widened and resurfaced. The air around us crackles with electric energy from overhead pylons. Every now and then and especially on sunny days all calm ceases as military jets roar past. I cant help but think they have us in their sights and rudely remind me of my insignificance.
Within the visitor centre great chunks of redundant machine parts litter the ground with false promise of salvation. They speak to me as understand this and you will overcome, as if technology and knowledge were one and the same thing
The living world can now be viewed as a vast organic Lego kit inviting combination, hybridization, and continual rebuilding. Life is manipulability… Thus our image of nature is coming more and more to emphasize human intervention through a process of design.
Edward Yoxen, The Gene Business
The sculptures shown in the centre’s lecture theatre portray the distinction between a things purpose and how it communicates that purpose. For example, the function of insulators on pylons is to protect us from electrical shock. Yet their shape has also come to symbolise the opposite, transmission of that energy. A pylon may be to a bird as good as a tree. Similarly here I am sculpting a concept of conveying communication. The satellite dish and antennae have purpose. Coincidentally they also visually simulate the ear, the mouth and tongue of language. For consuming and spewing ideas.
Nature in the twenty-first century will be a nature that we make. We have the power to mould nature into what we want it to be.
Daniel B. Botkin, Discordant Harmonies: A New Ecology for the Twenty-first Century
Treat nature in terms of the cylinder, the sphere, and the cone . Paul Cézanne
The sculptures shown in the courtyard are informed by the artificial shapes we now see all around us. The exhibition considers the idea of these synthetic icons as being the nature of the future. In particular, those shapes that stand out in our landscape such as pylons and buildings. Are only the obvious parts of a now universally managed and controlled world. What now is truly natural? Does human influence better nature? With this in mind I chose to limit my tools to a simple self built woodturning lathe. This machine forces symmetry and engineered order onto the natural raw material of wood. Therefore does it perhaps, improve that natural appeal by empowering it with culture and value?
The sculpture’s self importance is made more so by being presented projecting from the wall at head height. Though Its worth as both natural or man made thing, is ultimately just an object for us to contemplate. A perch for a bird and a meal for a fungus
For more information about this residency see here
This project has been sponsored by –