PLACE / MAKING
“This project explores the transformation that takes place when discarded items are disassembled and then reassembled into a new form. Within a practice that is concerned with materiality and the handmade, the notion of process and the trace of human interaction are key elements.”
The discarded materials utilised in my works are typically machine-assembled, only to be disassembled and then reassembled by hand, thereby disrupting the industrial process of production and literally returning the materials to the hand of the individual. The act of reconstructing refuse into art places value on the worthless, while also reintroducing it into society as something to be valued. This process not only attempts to confound a capitalist political economy’s account of value but also subverts it through an act of transformation which can cause a shift of perspective to reveal an alternative reality of things.
Making by hand is a dialogue where the maker is speaking and guiding the exchange but also listening and responding to the materials; it requires an openness to negotiate and amenability to change. The process of unmaking involves the same sense of discovery. A disassembled material retains the memory of its previous encounters. The visible qualities might be creases, holes, dirt or stains. The invisible ones tend to be smells and ghostly forms without obvious structure. Objects retain a human imprint that can be understood as a subtle form of occupation or place within the material. The remaining traces of an individual permeate the object in ways that extend beyond the user, and in my work this absent presence becomes a material. Through unmaking and making I contribute to and expand a material’s archive: collecting memories and experiences, and telling a story of people, places and things. Textiles multiply that opportunity by encouraging a haptic experience for the viewer; they beg to be touched and in this way their implicit social dynamic persists.