Today I am returning to a piece from my portfolio and as my good friend John Cleese would say, “and now for something completely different!” Still. Whilst I had spent the previous three years working on my spatial paintings I had come across other ideas and inspirations which I had not had the chance to follow, but with the completion of Reality Plus One, I had decided that the spatial paintings project was complete in its present form and that the time was right to take the opportunity to explore these different avenues.

There were two areas in particular, both literary, that I had become interested in. One of them is what is often thought of as 19th century gothic horror, Mary Shelley, Jules Verne, Robert Louis Stevenson, Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker and of course, H.G.Wells. Whilst these authors do take direction from the supernatural folktales of the past they also look forward into the new scientific Victorian era. They were able to foresee many of the great scientific leaps of the 20th century, but visualised them through the mechanisms of their own times: steam, gears and cogs. And of course to this we owe modern Steampunk writing. The other thing which I had started reading were the works of George Perec and I was particularly taken with Approaches to what?;

http://artsites.ucsc.edu/faculty/Gustafson/FILM%20162.W10/readings/perec.approaches.pdf

 from Species of Space and Other Pieces, a book I’d highly recommend. In Approaches to What?  Perec’s argument centres around the sentence, “To question that which seems to have ceased forever to astonish us.” He advocates that we should take more of an interest in the everyday, L’Infra-ordinaire as he describes it, and pay less attention to the spectacular.

For me there is a form of synergy between the two ideas and I started to experiment, or play if you will, with the everyday objects around me to see if I could create or recreate certain scientific models. The first of these I looked at was the solar-still. The resulting piece, Still,  did not function as a scientific device, but that was not the idea, through the pursuit of this process I had created a new sculptural piece. The first of what I call potential sculptures, something I will talk about more at a later date.

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