In this series of work, I explore the outcome of unpredictable events within space and time through arbitrary algorithms. Together and in conjunction with random integrated factors (e.g. the throw of dice), these algorithms progress the work towards a final composition, which may appear meticulously planned.
Fragments of predictable and unforeseeable happenings, 2017 – 2018, acrylics on 9 canvas 20x20cm on canvas 80x80cm
yellow = triangle
red = square
blue = circle
The BA journey
It interests me how science is preoccupied with issues that are fundamental to our existence, yet too far removed from our daily lives to be part of our everyday consciousness.
We don’t see the world as it is. We can’t see electrons, x-rays, infrared, ultraviolet, we can’t perceive certain sounds but it does not mean they are not there. Reality goes beyond what we can simply measure and what we can see and these invisible and inaudible elements are the bits that keep us alive.
Over the last two years, I became acquainted with the concept of spacetime, the fourth dimension that sweeps away the Euclidean reality which defines our world. I read how it replaces it with a fluid framework where coordinates become relative to the observer and where the unidirectional path of time from past to future no longer applies:
There are no temporal distinctions between past, present and future in the fourth dimension, just a ‘now’ that is relative to what we are doing, our location, our pace and trajectory in space.
Through a variety of mediums, ranging from small-scale, wall-based pieces to larger-scale sculptural installations, as well as time-lapse and stop motion animations, I have tried to unpick these notions and expose the realities that such an alternative understanding of our world would promote.
Now he has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That signifies nothing. For those of us who believe in physics, the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion. (Letter of 21 March 1955. Einstein Archives 7-245)
At any given time (read from the clock on the wall and logged onto the grid), the roll of the dice determines the direction of the band, as well as its length. The elastic band best echoes the idea of time fluidity/elasticity.
The diagram below (Navigation Board) translates each draw into the relevant coordinates.
April 30th – Diagram of possible direction for W3=0+Ch4Nc3
This diagram defines 96 directions, adding another 88 directions to the original 8 defined earlier and found on the first square (smallest from the centre).
Each direction is defined by a pair of coordinates. The first digit locates the square (or level) where the direction is set. The second digit locates the coordinate on the designated square that gives the orientation of the direction from the departure point at the centre.
For example (1:2): ‘1’ means the direction is defined by a coordinate located on the first square and ‘2’ means the direction on that square follows a diagonal from the centre of the diagram to the top right corner of the square.
On the second square, all the coordinates starting with ‘1’ are directions defined on the previous square. There are 8 new direction on the second square, all starting with the digit 2.
On the third square, all the coordinates starting with ‘1’and ‘2’ are directions defined on the previous squares. There are 8 new direction on the third square, all starting with the digit 3.
These additional 88 new directions should give more scope to the randomness of the spatial drawing, which might otherwise appear contrived. It is a welcome factor as randomness is intrinsic to the work.
The same set of dice will be used in order to progress the work – I am in the process of buying a 16 and 32-sided dice.
The 6-sided die gives the first coordinate which designates the corresponding square. ‘1’= first square form the centre.
Once on the designated square:
On the first or the second square, there are 8 possible new directions. I will therefore use the 8-sided die. The digit from 1 to 8 will give me the coordinate on the designated square, which in turn will define the sense and orientation of the direction of my drawing.
On the third, fourth and sixth square, there are 16 possible new directions. I will therefore use the 16-sided die. The digit from 1 to 16 will give me the coordinate on the designated square, which in turn will define the sense and orientation of the direction of my drawing.
On the fifth square, there are 32 possible new directions. I will therefore use the 32-sided die. The digit from 1 to 32 will give me the coordinate on the designated square, which in turn will define the sense and orientation of the direction of my drawing.
And so on…
The grid, to be or not to be?
The grid allowed for the nails to be fitted in straight parallel and perpendicular lines. Now all the nails are in, is the grid redundant? Moreover, will it overpower the spatial drawing of elastic stands?
I removed the lines of the grid on a sample board (bottom right hand corner of above picture) and produced the drawing with nails only. I used haberdashery elastic tapes (instead of wire) in various width, ranging from 1mm to 6mm.
The elastic materials generate a better tension and thus a more dynamic effect than the wire (see previous trial). The wider the tape, the stronger the result. With a width mirroring that of the grid, the work was not overpowered by the grid any longer and came back to the foreground.
Remarkably, the physical properties of elastic materials, their flexibility, stretching or pulling characteristics, also recall the fluidity of spacetime, where space and time contract and expand in relation to each other. They also mirror the state of our universe which balances between expansion and gravitational attraction.
I decided to keep the grid and used the wider haberdashery elastic tape for my drawing. I also had to consider a different set of rules for the direction of the cord on the grid: The eight directions prescribed earlier limited my work to the horizontal and vertical lines of the grid or to a 45 degree angle.
Refining Chaos or Order, Which Comes First?
Strips of Time
Strips of Time, 2017, this is a prototype: time-lapsed photographs looped over a spool
The strips of photographs in a continuum are assembled in a loop, over a wooden spool.
Each photograph captures a change in an object (akin to the time-lapse method).
The changes can be observed all at once or individually and in no particular order as the viewer manipulates the strips back and forth.
The piece questions the lack of distinction between past, present and future in spacetime. The piece also raises the issue of relativity and demonstrates how the perception is relative to what the observer that is measuring it is doing.
W3=0+Ch4Nc3, 2017, black and white wall grid with nails, white wire and dice.
In response to Albert Einstein’s special theory of relativity and the realities it encapsulates:
W3=0+Cn4Nc3 is a transcript of we=0+chance which describes an interactive piece, where the viewer chooses his or her starting point and engages in a performance contributing towards the building of a work with the use of chance.
It discusses the idea of a fluid framework where the coordinates are relative to the observer.
It looks at random lines, which are not here associated with decline and deterioration, as we may perceive them in life, but with growth and evolution.
Finally it considers a relationship between the direction of these lines in space and temporality.
About the theory of special relativity: “It embodies a whole new way of looking at the world, a whole attitude to reality and our relationship to it. Suddenly, the rigid unchanging cosmos is swept away and replaced with a personal world, related to what you observe.” Bill Murray, particle physicist at the CERN laboratory in Geneva.
- Choose your starting point on the grid and document it by writing ‘0’ next to your chosen nail.
- Enter your name, as well as the time and date of your participation in one of the squares around your chosen point of reference.
- Throw the 6-sided die to determine the number of moves you will perform.
- Throw the 8-sided die to determine the direction of your first move. Eight directions determined by the 8 nails around the chosen point of reference.
- Throw the 20-sided die to determine the coordinates or length of this first move.
- Throw the 8-sided and 20-sided as many times as the 6-sided die indicated.
If the number on the 20-sided die exceeds the number of coordinates available on the grid and the participant reaches the edge of the grid, he or she will need to reverse their course and finish counting the remaining points in the reverse direction of their track.
30.03.17 THE HUB, Brook Street, Tonbridge
Beyond Boundaries is a group show I curated in collaboration with 7 other artists. It explores the multifarious forms of boundaries and their ramifications. What are boundaries? Who are they for? Why do we deem them necessary on one hand and transgress them on the other?
Carolyn Morris, Sparkle Horse, 2017, doll’s house, ash and video work, 24 seconds, looped
Artist’s comment for the show: Category Error
About Sparkle Horse:
1 – It most encapsulates the underlying idea of the show.
It visually transcribes the multidimensional perception of boundaries in scale and meaning:
We are sometimes least safe in the places we expect to be safest. We are walled in with the enemy, which is what happens in civil war and domestic abuse. Carolyn Morris, 2017
2 – This piece was a collaborative and experimental work between Carolyn and me, and so I grew attached to it.
It started with Carolyn’s doll’s house which I felt had a place in the show but was almost too sterile for it. I wanted to see more of Carolyn in the piece. She decided to let off some fireworks inside. I asked her to film the experiment. With her approval, I then played the video onto the house and we both discovered the incredible layers it produced.
The fireworks seem to be happening inside the house and then on the wall behind, you see the smoke – merveilleux! Carolyn Morris, 2017
Random Throw on the Grid, 2017
24 throws of the weaved structure made on the grid last year.
Exploring randomness. The result appears random but there is an element of guidance in my gesture… I need Dice…
From Chaos to Order, 2017
This slide is to be viewed as one piece. From chaos to order challenges the idea of entropy. I am exploring a range of presentations for this idea. With this in mind, I have refurbished a praxinoscope that allows the visualisation of more than one frame at a time with the possibility of going back and forth with the activation of the spin.
Which Coordinates?, 2017
Which Coordinates? is an ongoing investigation that reflects on and questions the validity of Euclidean geometry and consequently the grid.
The grid, a regular, calibrated system, a matrix that ables and defines positioning and measurements of objects and people.
Where are We Now? 2017, projected animation, black and white, 3’30”
This piece depicts the contour of the family movements over the Christmas week. I chose that time of the year because it prompted journeys of various scales, from walks to car trips.
It illustrates how ‘Every time is different but also the same thing’ (Tehching Shieh 2014). We follow routines, we stick to pathways, we repeat the same steps time and time again mostly over the same ground, like the hands on the face of a clock. We ‘spend’ the time, we mark it, we experience it, then it stops.
I traced the contour of each journey using morse code to describe the destination and reason for the trip.
The visual representations of space and time are intertwined. There is an ambiguity between the numeric representation of dates and time integrated with the contour lines of the journey and the topographic language that describes land surface elevation.
Each person is represented by a dot as it is what humans are referred to on a cosmic scale. The gathering of people overtime is illustrated by a circular line – one circular line for each hour passed.
Each frames equates to a morse code letter. A total of 725 different frames were captured to resolve this piece, showing the progression of each journey and the gathering of people.
The steps evoked by the morse code mark the passing of time at the selected rate of the animation, as would a metronome.
Time and space are intertwined in various layers.
Grid + Labour
= Form + Space + time
Coming off the Grid, 2016
Grid by itself
Grid = repetition = duration = now = timelessness = silence = light = formlessness = breaking down form = nothingness = lightness = merging = potential (Agnes Martin + me)
There is a nail marking each intersection of the lines. Once finished, I used the nails as anchor points to weave a wire across.
Labour = Time + Energy ⇒ Space occupied by 2D forms
Time Mapping, 2016
I wanted to study the relationship between time and space.
Whilst repeating the same gesture over time and tracing the lines it generates, time takes up space.
I was inspired by the work of On Kawara (Today), Tehching Hsieh (Punching the Clock) and Roman Opalka’ Program.
This idea is part of an ongoing investigation of space and time, during which I am exploring various medium and style.
It is not about boundaries, it is about space and time.
Labour is time and energy and is transformed into form, organic or architectural construction ⇒ first law of thermodynamic: ‘Rien ne se perd, rien ne se cree, tout se transforme.’
Space and Time 2016
Form is Void and Void is Form…
27.06.16 – 04.07.16 The Historic Dockyard, Chatham
The Engineering Workshops at the Historic Dockyard are a bright and spacious venue. It was a rich curating experience and I enjoyed meeting the photographic BA students.
This work samples a selection of my research material over the past academic year, as I entered them in my sketchbook.
The many sources are jammed in to describe the infinite range of information that relates to the concept of spacetime.
This compressed information also exposes my struggle and confusion in assimilating this information and making sense of such an intangible and complicated concept.
Whilst the black canvas and white writing evoke the blackboard and chalk Einstein often worked with, they also allude to the visual representation of the concept of white lines on a black background.
Analemma’s Anomaly, 2016, mixed media on canvas, 100 x 100cm
This work underscores how the laws of physics, which apply to our life on Earth, are redundant on a cosmic scale, where space and time become intertwined and observer dependent.
The cogs are mostly tied up. A hand is rotating but there are no numbers to mark time. One clock’s face is distorted to symbolise warped time. Another face presents a tunnel of lights that seem to recede towards an imaginary vanishing point. Religions are evoked, referring to our differing beliefs over creation and fate, whilst Mickey Mouse might be as relevant a factor for others.
NB: An Analemma describes the sun’s positions in relation to Earth over the course of one year. It also evokes the ancestral way of reading time or charting spatial position. Sundials, clocks and compass were subsequently invented to measure time and location more conveniently and finally the GMT was established to synchronise our world.
Spacetime fabric Studies, May 2016
Spacetime study on a Beachball, April 2016 , 60cm diameter
On the assumption that the universe could be spherical, I transferred this representation on a black painted beach ball (60cm diameter).
This piece is an example of my investigation and evokes the most common visual representation of Spacetime, a two-dimensional white grid (symbolising light paths in a vacuum) on a black background (representing the cosmos).
Additional arbitrary wave refer to the recent discovery of gravitational waves, validating Einstein’s theory of General Relativity.
This piece has a spiritual angle evoked in its title: ‘Where are we now?’. Indeed, it is the title of a David Bowie song which suggests a connection with the dead. The triptych presentation adds a divine quality.
29.05.15 – 04.06.15 Nucleus Art Centre, Chatham, Kent