Flux was a commission that I carried out some time ago. The brief was to produce a piece of artwork in a house in Gateshead that was earmarked for demolition. Here are few selected images and accompanying text.
The site-specific commission “Flux” consists of a number of themes and visual layers. The artwork itself is designed to permeate the surface of the walls of the property. Using household bleach, cutting pealing, printing, sanding and illustrative techniques, I have created an artwork that explores themes of time, scale and the changes apparent within the local area that I have lived in for almost a decade.
On the walls of the Dunsmuir property you will see an illustrative structure of a live algal specimen.The structure itself has been transferred from a microscope image that was produced as part of my Newcastle University residency. Algae are the earliest life forms on planet earth, can produce large amounts of oil and are most recently have been investigated as potential bio-fuels. Bio-fuels could be one answer to the current fuel shortages we face. Algae can also effectively soak up carbon dioxide emissions that help towards tackling global climate change.
In addition to the algal structure, there are also sections of ordinance survey maps, dated from 1873 – 1949. These maps show the explosive residential development over this very concentrated period of time. I am fascinated by traces of change held within landscape, and how we document this transformation from land to social housing and the impact this has on our collective consciousness and identity. There are also traces of identity left behind by the previous owners which create a sense of transience and memoriam.
The application of embellishment is also of significance to this work. This building was a dwelling that had multiple functions, and now that it is empty its intrinsic function must be questioned. The Swarovski crystals and gold leaf that have been applied to the walls reference the personal value of this space to those that have inhabited it, and what was possibly a vibrant space filled with life has now been discarded. To embellish a room that will finally be destroyed seemed an appropriate way to celebrate the final function of the space and in a way honour the precious relationship we have with a sense of home and belonging.
Thematically the work is about change, and how this can vary from incremental environmental change to explosive industrial change. “Flux” endeavours to explore our impact upon environment, and the communal value we cultivate in areas that become familiar and domesticated. The work also explores the value that we place upon space and location, and what traces will be left behind long after we leave.