Reflection on Failure

The mirror has had many failures beginning with its theft and ending with the welding glue not drying after the mirror’s eventual re-aquisition (which was a whole epic in itself of mirror hunting, bus riding, and haggling). I think I would have to hold the mirror for an hour for it to stay.   I am trying to attach large pieces of mirror in a very delicate way, with few contact points, and at odd angles which makes it very hard to support with glue.

I started with an idea instead of a practice in a sense. I saw the piece as a prop for the sound piece instead of a sculpture in its own right. (possibly out of fear of embarking into sculpture itself)

while adding the mirror I was thinking about beeswax and gold leaf.. inspired by Joseph Beuys? However, Beuys was interested in the transformative properties of these materials where as I am drawn to their elemental properties.

There is a similar twig nest relationship as there is beeswax hive. Mirror might symbolize water (the original mirror) and stone at the same time. Beeswax and wood both allude to a flame or fire.

I didn’t realize I was building a nest until I started working. I was more interested in the abyss, the void, circle, infinity and the binary of wood which is absorbent and organic with mirror which is reflective (broken mirror – confused identity). The nest reflects the content of the sound piece more poignantly by referencing domestic and interpersonal themes.

It was never my intention to make such a strong correlation with the domestic or any specific character/persona but rather to explore the nature of power dynamics and dialectics. I have made efforts to move away from the specific. Hence adding in Rob’s speech on colonialism and civilization’s dehumanization. This zooms the narrative out instead of in. I confuse the identity of the subject of any one story by interweaving my memory with the recounting of an event I witnessed. Also do this by implicating the listener using “you” as the subject, interrupting the narrative with sound (which contains its own abstract undetermined narrative of resonance), and through repetition and fragmentation.     

Why elemental materials? what importance does the elemental have?

(also do I always need to theorize what I do in order to justify the doing… where does integrity come from?)

elemental is truth in a way it is something at its core, raw, integral to nature. Should not the nature of materials and form reflect an introspection into human nature?

I’m thinking I should do some experiments with twigs, beeswax, mirror, clay? gold leaf? in order to discover how to progress with the nest and/or how to reproach it as separate from the sound piece.

Which brings me back to the sound piece which at the moment remains as the centre of the work. Therefore I must examine my options for presenting the sound piece..

  • firstly speakers or headphones? Speakers work with space where headphones ignore space. With speakers you can divide the tracks and take panning to a whole other level. However, in this case I’m more interested in the intimacy of headphones.. the singular journey. The sound quality of headphones is much more immersive making it easier for the listener to drift into the alternate world of the work.
  • Mp3 player and headphones accompanied by a red strip of fabric and an invitation for the viewer to blind fold themselves and listen. I thought of the blindfold because it is the simplest way to submerge the listener into a dark, neutral, and internal environment with out building a structure. Now I’m thinking of the vulnerable and submissive quality blindfolds. To blind fold oneself is to willingly submit to the work – a power dynamic in itself. Janet Cardiff speaks about this with relation to her walks.
  • building an installation, a listening environment soft dark to block out the other senses. something that must be entered bringing up themes of interior and exterior and the journey between the two. The installation could be very sculptural like the nest expanded or very structural, displaying its purpose just as long as the inside performs its duty.
  • A prop – the nest with a hidden mp3 player, the headphone wire coming from the centre like an umbilical cord. The sound would seemingly be coming from this elemental object some unknown voice speaking to the viewer – further mystifying the narrator/subject. the nest/”prop” is something the listener can focus on while listening either by meditating on the material and form and their associations or by zoning out and half-seeing mostly listening.
  •   combining an installation + the prop. build a structure the interior would have the nest as its focal point.. more decretive like a museum or an old victorian house.
  • lastly the moving image quiet common to support sound with a projection. i.e. Susan Hiller exhibit. I will not explore film in this project but it is something I’m interested in exploring in future as it is new territory for me.




Reflection on Failure

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