A Place in Time – Nirox Winter Sculpture Fair 2016
A central theme expressed in the artist's work has been the attempt to give shape to the convergence of multiple kinds of data, knowledge and experience, that asserts the interrelatedness of all things. His process often includes the working and reworking of objects between digital and analogue spaces, resulting in forms that intrinsically interrogate our relationship to technology and our own nature. A duality exists in these forms that focusses on specific, innate binary oppositions and their simultaneous codependencies.
Evolving from his earlier interpretations of the form and structure of the human brain, these explorations address the complexity of the present through the materiality, form and context of digitally translated, faceted and distilled forms derived from the human brain.
This series of explorative objects examines the origin of our species framed by the human brain as transmutable object. The faceted forms of the objects are geometric distillations of the brain's organic complexity, and allude to the stone forms of Paleolithic implements. The vast leaps in human evolution are not only marked by physiological changes in the brain, but also by mechanical and technological advances. Here one is asked to consider the brain in all of its intricacy, as the seat of personality, as a tool of progress, and as a signifier of temporality.
The angularity of the forms echoes the digital techniques used to create them, and contrasts contemporary technological advances with the mechanical and physical technologies of the past. The brain as weapon points to the sinister aspects of human nature, suggesting that advances in technology are either driven by, Duality or appropriated to serve destructive activities. The digitally rendered implement speaks of survival, of protection and of domination in contrast to, but also as inextricable from the notion of humanity.
Structurally, these forms suggest the rigidity and strength of the skull as opposed to the soft, vulnerability of brain tissue. This contrast divorces the brain from its organic materiality, allowing one to read it as a vessel, as an object and as topography. Here the brain refers to the exteriority of its housing, an archaeological understanding of the form through its absence. One is invited to contemplate its function as a vessel.
Locating oneself within the body, draws on an innate understanding that the brain is the centre, the mechanism through which we experience and interpret the world. In this way the brain is the vessel of the individual personality, however, we do not identify ourselves as this organ. These digitally interpreted brains ask us to dissociate from ocularcentric identification with our externality and investigate the relationship between 'self' and cognition.
Gradation of the faceting amongst the series of forms, suggests transformation, the evolution of a form. These transmutations are guided by a mathematical principal that is, counterintuitively, unrelated to chronological sequence and betrays the human interference in the digital process. Faceting to lesser and greater degrees across the different models allows for varied complexity in the forms, each one sufficiently abstract to allow for the topographical map of the brain to be read as a landscape.
The organisation of its forms suggests specialization of its functions, the landscape has been altered and although the criteria for this specialization are not visually established, the terraces, peaks and cliffs encourage an acknowledgement of our species' vast cognitive real estate. In their dramatic simplification, the faceted shells of the objects act to acknowledge the limits of our knowledge.
When considered as large elements in a landscape, the forms take on a monolithic presence. These potentially imposing obelisks are suggestive of their neolithic predecessors, and aim to transport the viewer through time, dissolving our current context into the greater timeline of the universe.
Scales of value are drawn in the relationships between form and material, the hue and texture of the material allude to the natural materials of stone or carbon, where in fact the brain has been relegated to the realm of the digital. Proliferation of digital technology, the danger of its possible autonomy and the notion that our cognitive advancement may allow us to be the engineers of our own downfall, are expressed in the use of this material.
Evolution is an incredibly slow process, and although our genetic growth requires millennia, we are perpetually evolving. The hand axes created by our early ancestors are significant markers of human evolution, as too are our digital devices. These objects talk to the collection of significant historical artifacts, this digitally translated implement marks our technological evolution, locating us in time and suggesting that our greatest and most dangerous tool is, in fact, our brain.