Friday 18th July 2014 – 7 hour installation period.
Wednesday 23rd July – 3rd August 2014 – exhibition, RMIT Design Hub.
In July 2014, the Interior Design program at RMIT University hosted the symposium and exhibition Situation, held at the RMIT Design Hub. This creative work, the lightness of one and three doors aligned with my PhD research, in which sites are responded to through observation and transformation of their existing conditions. The proposal for this exhibition chose to consider the building as material itself.
The art work[ing] responded specifically to the floor-to-ceiling door found in Gallery 1. The door’s dimensions were mirrored and mapped onto the opposite plasterboard wall, and using a large orbital sander, I subtracted several layers of paint from the wall. The paint dust collected was used for display at the opening of the exhibition. Once this paint had been subtracted from the wall, I painted the wall back to its original condition, however, for the duration of the exhibition, one could see a slight tonal difference where I had repainted the wall. This slow engagement with the material of the gallery and its process driven outcome was captured using time-lapse photography.
The documentation (the renderings) provided a physical relation to a situation that had materialised in the past. By presenting the time-lapse of the intervention in conjunction with the subtracted paint dust during the Situation exhibition, the audience’s spatial and material relationship with the gallery was rendered into question. This occurred due to an evidencing of ‘something’ happening in the past (a constellation of material), which no longer existed in the present (where did this material come from?). This aligns itself with theoretical research undertaken as part of this PhD; that time is not linear, that there is a folding of multiple times (past / present / future), a collective of times, experienced together.
Within the original proposal for the Situation exhibition, I had stated that by placing the pile of paint dust on the floor, it was hoped that through human interaction and through air movement, the paint dust might disperse across the floor. However…
On the second day of exhibition, I received an email stating that the cleaners had in fact come and vacuumed up the pile of paint dust and thrown it away.
This unforeseen action; this unforeseen new situation; offered up new ideas concerning the artwork[ing]. The paint dust, seen by myself as an artifact of the process of installation, was seen as detritus needing to be disposed of by the cleaners. It offered a new way of thinking about the value of this material in that specific context – what one sees as ‘art’, another sees as a disposable material; a nuisance.
That afternoon, I printed a photograph of the pile of paint dust, and placed it on the floor where the original pile of paint dust was exhibited. This rendering allowed the audience to experience another spatial uncertainty – an evidencing of ‘something’ happening in the past (a constellation of material), which no longer existed in the present (where did this material go?).
This project rendered into existence the notion that buildings (their material) are in a constant state of flux and that they (buildings) are porous – that some materials are fixed or static (and I use the word static cautiously as no building is static) for longer periods of time. However and eventually, material erodes, material cracks, and material moves – that all building materials begin life as particular compounds, and through specific processes, are manufactured into particular products. Moreover, and again through time, these building products break down – back to relatively the same material compounds they began life as.
It is we – humans – who render these material compositions into existence, and ultimately, are responsible for these compositions to break down again and disappear – that we ruin them through neglect, abandonment, lack of maintenance, or perhaps even that the building has outlived its original intended program.
The transformation and movement of material then, from inception to building, from building to body and from body to body, is highlighted through this project. This project emphasises the eventful and situated idea of interior practice through a process of an archeology of the present and through the transformation I made of that particular material. Due to this methodology of practice, the project’s outcomes suggest many dichotomies – that the building needs the inhabitant in order to be created, and that the inhabitant needs the building in order to be created. Furthermore, the material affects the building in particular ways, whilst the building affects the material in particular ways. The experience offered up then allows the audience to form narratives and relationships with the spaces and material, which sanctions the idea of an active and physical participation with the work. This project then, renders an openness of unforeseen and potent potentials that don’t yet exist.