Pornography and tram track

February 1, 2013

Pornography and tram track

Twin symbols of modernity exist in a joyful union here. Mass transport alongside reproductibility. Not only that, but the tram tracks and gravel are also mass produced and/or quarried, as is the kerb and paving. Added to this is the frisson of a discarded pornographic magazine, the epitome of pre-information age modernity. Photography, sex and paper all combined in a cheap and disposable melange of repetitious onanism.

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Plastic finger and grit

February 1, 2013

Plastic finger and grit

As the memories of snow and ice melt away, parallel to the actual physical change of state of these watery materials, items are deposited in unlikely locations, and one is unable to ascertain how long before they had been cast aside. This finger is a perfect example of this. A pseudo-human digit, cast in plastic, used, one would assume, for entertainment (its effectiveness as a prosthetic is fundamentally flawed, due to not only its lack of verisimilitude, but also the underlying inflexibility that would exclude use as anything but an index finger). And here, I believe lies the truth behind this composition. An accusing finger pointing deep into one’s soul, questioning. Asking why the viewer picks it out, yet ignores the grit, the purely functional companion which lies beside this afunctional piece of plastic. Why decoration, not labour? Why pleasure, not work? Well, why?

Chair

September 20, 2012

This image of a chair abandoned in a deeply industrial area summarises the whole ethos behind my work. Although industrialised, the area is replete with greenery throughout the spring and summer months, this natural fecundity throwing the labours of the humans around it into stark relief. And this chair encompasses each and every aspect of this contrast. The wood of the frame remains, and is slowly being reclaimed by the underlying verdure, taking back what was once its own, while the manmade aspects of the furniture, the material, the cushion, have faded to nothing in the interim.

This (un)holy trinity of objects exist in a pseudo-symbiotic/necrotic relationship. The cigarettes and chewing gum were dropped by transient humans hoping that they would drop through the holes and be transported away by the water flowing beneath. Yet this failed, due to lack of accuracy, to engineering, to entrapment. The manhole cover itself acts at once as both Charon and as the sun, tracing an outline of death (the sewer as River Styx) and rebirth/resurrection (pagan ritual). Yet both chewing gum and cigarette end are destined to remain in this state of limbo, pseudo-natural, part alive, yet dead, unable to move on.

Dustcover

March 25, 2012

This image was rather longer in the making than I had envisaged. I first saw this dustcover laying inert as I exited a metro station. However, I was running late an had no opportunity to stop and examine it in any greater detail. As I passed by again on my return journey, I noticed that it was part of a larger set of literary work that had been discarded in a plastic bag and now lay in the urine-stained shade of the escalator. But once again, I was running late, so no chance to engage with the dustcover. One week passed. I returned. The dustcover was still there. This time, it was propped up beneath the window to a building society. I had little time, so I made a perfunctory examination and continued on, hoping that it would still be in situ upon my return. What luck, it was, although it had shifted to the position below, it was still there, and offered me far more than I could’ve dared to imagine. An album of black and white photos of England. Anglie had been angular earlier (excuse the dreadful pun). Yet now it was spread out beneath me, as alien in this residential borough as I feel in this country as a rule, and in this life as a whole. Unexpected, out of time. Beautiful.

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Jigsaw piece and cobbles

March 17, 2012

This image is really combined of two parts, an (in)action two days prior to the image I captured, and that very image, which now stands before you. Initially I happened upon this jigsaw piece in an inverted state. It was grey. Barely noticeable in the Prague twilight against the grey cobbles. I pondered for a moment, should I take the picture. It appealed. There is no doubt about that. But, naturally (I am human, after all), I ignored these shades of grey, the definite, yet barely perceptible (from my perspective at that time, at least) differences of colour, of material, of structure, of shape. Yet it played on my mind. A part similar in many ways to the cobbles which underpinned it, yet so definitely part of another puzzle. Alien. Could the two ever be reconciled? And so this continued for two days. Then, a spontaneous decision, I went out of my way in order to find the piece. I had little hope, believing that it, as with others who remain removed from the tesselated surface of humanity would have been swept up by the mechanical-technological aspects of the modern world, and forced to collaborate or forced into exile. Yet there it was, transformed, now the correct way up (from a certain point of view). In clear contrast to the unchanged background. Colourful. Extrovert. I admit, my eye was caught. I felt a surge of joy. Followed by disgust. I photographed it. I admit it. Like a painted whore. Or Timmy Mallett. I was drawn to it. Does it have any greater inherent value than when it shared some aspects of the background? Less, some might say. I would say it is equal, yet this very equality is was passes judgement on the human condition. Bread and circuses. Trinkets. Reality TV. Page 3. Is it possible to be outstanding at blending in?

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24 hours pass and the city itself responds to my commentary. A shift in time and space, borders physical, mental and imaginary crossed. The elements remain the same, yet echo my aspirations as expressed in the previous post. Nature seeks to reclaim its prodigal children as the soil and vegetation creep over the border onto the tarmac. The discarded piece of paper takes the (Biblical) role of the dove, a symbol of hope floating above the inevitable environmental process. A shadow to the left of the picture hints at the inescapable presence of evil (humanity?).

Discarded paper, soil, vegetation, border and tarmac 2

A companion to the previous piece, this, however, is a meditation on the similarities and dissimilarities that humanity has imagined and created as a means to enforce order in a chaotic world. The border has no symbolic or allegorical value. It is simply a border. National. International. Gender. Psychological. Concrete. You decide. We all have them. Fundamentally humans are, from very soon after birth, programmed to recognise “the other”. However, the differences between us are rarely as great as the constructs which bind our views and our thoughts about others. The paper and vegetation seem wholly removed from one another, especially when placed so closely, yet on a basic level they have far more in common than either would care to admit, had they either a mouth or the ability to speak, or, indeed, a common language. Even the border and the elements it seeks to divide, the soil and tarmac, have a shared ancestry, and are simply products, to one degree or another of human and environmental action. Essentially, the means of division is another form of what it seeks to divide. So is there any need?

Discarded paper, soil, vegetation, border and tarmac

Found on a tarmac pathway parallel to one of the major transport routes, some distance from the nearest bin or access road, the combination of these two elements serves two purposes. Firstly, the simple juxtaposition of two pleasures and pains, smoking and drinking that serve to inure the individual against the overwhelming bleakness of modern human existence. Secondly, the magical/mystical state in which the individual can find themself whilst intoxicated. Never would it be simple enough to dispose of these items in a bin (a symbol of modernity), nor the gutter (to be washed away with other detritus). These were disposed of as part of a quest. There is no bar nearby. The area is not frequented by the public. To get there is an effort. Hence our noble knight (or maiden) sought to dispose of these items in a place that would allow them to move beyond time itself, irrelevant of the vagaries of the weather, or changes of state. Sublimation and transubstantiation merge in this composition, giving the viewer access to a world beyond this one.

Lemon slices and cigarette butts

A disembodied paper face, roughly torn along the neck signifies the inevitable journey from the French Revolution to the individualistic urban experience of the modern age. We are all just eyes, nose, mouth and ears floating on a sea of scarred hydrocarbons and minerals that we mine from the bowels of the earth, manipulate, then use to coat the very ground we have abused.

Torn paper face with distressed tarmac