The presentation that wasn’t

A few weeks before Ruudt left for Japan we had a Skype chat to talk about presentation options for the Object space show. We ended the conversation having agreed a general framework for me to flesh out and test. Our starting point, suspended works over rubbish bins to represent the knife-edge of survival versus extinction of creative works – leading to questions of who gets to cut-the-cord/decide which are worthy.

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At the time most of my works were 3-dimensional, multi-media sculptural pieces – many of which were made of precariously balanced components. It quickly became apparent to me that suspending the works was going to be challenging, requiring potentially distracting platforms for the work to sit on.

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Following exploration and trials of a range of alternative (but related) options, I proposed the following mock-up. Ruudt was due to leave for Japan a few days later, but very quickly got back to me – It looks good!

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The set-up (without works)

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Close-ups

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The set up (with works)

Fast forward six –weeks, and a few doubts about the installation had started to creep in…

  • Was I was trying to convey too many ideas into one presentation?
  • Were some elements too gimmicky?
  • Did the display risk outcompeting the work?
  • The pieces that I felt worked best with the display (the 3D sculptural pieces) did not include my now completed enactments of Ruudts mutation events – Make the aluminium shadow pieces 3D; Make xx for the face, and xx for the foot). Of the mutated pieces and the installation, which were a more important/better reflection of our collaboration?

These reservations were reinforced through unprompted, similar lines of questioning from Objectspace and during a critique session with fellow makers.

By now Ruudt was in Japan and out of easy communication. After a few sleepless nights and a few more conversations with Objectspace, I made the decision to change the presentation (refer The presentation that was…).

While thrilled with my response to his mutation directions – Wauw…GREAT

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And very taken with process photographs… Your feet photos are Wonderful! The gesture hand and feet photos are very interesting!

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Ruudt (while still extremely supportive) was a lot less excited about the change in direction to the presentation. He felt that while nice and beautiful, the final presentation was too ‘educational’ and much less interesting than my original proposal, which he felt was experimental, questioning and had lots of fun and humour.

These are things that I am still thinking a lot about, and am looking forward to discussing with Ruudt as part of our debrief on his return from Japan.

I will not be travelling to Sweden for the Platina show (opens 17 September), and have constraints about what and how much I can send through the post (both in terms of work and display structures). Therefore, my ability to control installation decisions will be limited for this next show. However, these recent experiences will be forefront of my mind when planning for and embarking on conversations with the Dowse Art Museum for our final exhibition in August next year.

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