Imagine Mary; brought up from birth in a black and white room.
First presented by esteemed philosopher Frank Jackson, the Mary's Room
hypothesis remains a focal point for discussion of the sensory packet
known as "Qualia".
Throughout her life in this colourless environment, Mary reads many (black and white) books and learns all the laws of physics. She becomes a super-scientist: expert in the functional roles that the brain plays in the process of colour vision. Her knowledge of the physical and functional organization of the brain becomes complete to the point that there is nothing that she does not know.
When Mary finally leaves her room and experiences her first colour, would she learn anything new about the world?
In an attempt to capture the type of experience Mary might have when encountering her first colour, I've abandoned previous strategies of generating sculpture fashioned to suggest knowledge of specific themes; instead I consider the motive of this work to be experiential.
Arthur C. Clark’s dictum: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” becomes more salient in the early days of the 21st century. I’m here to remind you, the information age rides like a giddy child on the shoulders of the machine.
In a day, industry might stamp out a million new techno-things. Yet, trucks, all iron piston and gear, drag them to dock. Heavy cranes lever loads onto rusty ships. Giant props screw through ancient seas.
Oblivious, shiny thing in hand, we are the pettiest of gods: broadcasting nonsense over great distances, inputting self-absorbed minutia through tiny keypads, replicating image after empty image. Our powers are so amplified the twitch of a finger can access an seemingly infinite pool of data, or with as much effort, put a bullet through someone.
Perhaps this lopsided relationship between the mechanical and the technological is analogous to our body’s reflexive enslavement to a relentless brain. Lately, the brain seems to want to bully the body about; diet, exercise, fear of diseases and distorted self-image push us to be something we are not.
But, just as harnessing all of our mechanical muscle cannot magically place us in some kind holy tech-heaven where our creations are always liberating and benign; our ideas of transcending our physicality contain the inevitable germ of fantasy. We eat, we shit, we sleep, we fuck.
Duchamp said (to Noguchi) “Don’t do anything that pleases you – only do that which you dislike and cannot help but do. This is the way to find yourself.”
He’s suggesting instinct over information. Substance over surface.
A petition for compulsion.
My work is about compulsion; it's about having a body. A wet, messy, cranky, smelly, easily punctured body (something I dislike, but cannot help).
I make objects designed to trap the eye.
The trap inevitably malfunctions. Everything will (and must) go.