... If there is a concise or abbreviated definition which describes my past practice or personal interests, quite possibly it could be bedded into two words, ‘materials’ and ‘making’. However, these two small words call upon a plethora of understanding to be explored, both in the ways we understand the primacy of materials, for example through form, physicality or as properties, substances & behaviours, as well as understanding the aspirations of material, for example analysing their interface with the world as ‘materials of life’ (Ingold. 2013) both in imaginings and perception, for example understanding the social, cultural or political connectivity which plays out through their use or interaction with, as a part of wider semiotics or links with our visual/material culture.
You can appreciate therefore, that humans and materials seem inextricably bound, caught up in ways where things and people come together where both the material and ideas connect mutually or are ‘co-produced’ (Hodder. 2012) and are made relative by Us as Subject in tradition. Material Culture as defined by professor of archaeology Julian Thomas (2007) speaks of and “represents at once ideas that have been made material, and natural substance that has been rendered cultural.” There is a problem however within such hypothesis, in that the material here seems somewhat relegated, it’s been overtaken by us as humans and appropriated or anthropomorphised by our uses and our ways, superseded by what it can do for us in needs and appearing as an end composite rather than being viewed integrally from its beginnings, continuing capacity or potential ? – failing to allow for what social scientist Tim Ingold (2013) ably describes as the ‘generative currents of the material’ -
…in the study of material culture, the overwhelming focus has been on finished objects and on what happens as they become caught up in the life histories and social interactions of the people who use, consume or treasure them. In the study of visual culture, the focus has been on the relations between objects, images and their interpretations. What is lost, in both fields of study, is the creativity of the productive processes that bring the artefacts themselves into being: on the one hand in the generative currents of the materials of which they are made; on the other in the sensory awareness of practitioners. Thus, processes of making appear swallowed up in objects made; processes of seeing in images seen. (Ingold.2013)
It is this idea of the ‘generative currents’ which holds fast and guides my art practice principally; knowing that materials constantly change, flow and are mutable in occurrence and exchange:
creating conversations, excitement and language, all to be explored in a return to the materials.
Hodder, I. (2012). Entangled. An Archaeology of the Relationships between Humans and Things. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.
Ingold, T. (2013). Making - Anthropology Archaeology Art And Architecture. Oxon: Routledge