Sunday, March 14, 2010

Full Circle 1998

Dimensions: approximately 7 x 12 meters
Plaster, hesian, steel, lighting, sensors, subwoofa speaker, DAT sound system and cellar space.

Full Circle is a permenant, site-specific installation, created over a period of nine months.
Located in a cellar space near the corner of St Kilda Road and Southbank Boulevard (opposite the NGV International), Victorian College of the Arts.

About Full Circle
Inspired by Gaston Bachelard's Poetics of Space (specifically the chapter about the phenomenology of shells, how they are private spaces, where you dream you are alone),
combined with the notion of symbiotic evolution, where two life forms evolve in adaptation to their shared relationship. Like the Datura Lilly, with its long tubular flower, and the humming bird, with its long, thin curved beak. No other bird can collect the pollen from this flower.
So I set out to create a space, to "grow" a space, for my body. The space, therefore enacts a process of selection. Not every one can access the inner circle of the space. To do so you have a few choices: scale the 2.5 - 4 meter wall, enter at street level, via a trap door, through a slide or commando style (crawling on your belly, using your elbows to pull you forward and through. Like a flower to a bee, the space will coat you, in this case with plaster dust.
A leap of faith and physical prowess are a prerequisite of entry.
In the central space there is a bed you are invited to lie back in. It of course is moulded to by body. When reclined sensors pick up your presence and light up the interior of the adjacent large spore-like forms with a eerie red glow. This is the space's way of encouraging you to put your hands and feet inside.

Thus making the union complete.
Sound Artist Keith Netto, visited the cellar space several times to record the sounds of construction, as well as the atmospheric sounds (the screeching of the trams as they turned the corner, the murmurs of voices and vehicles passing by...). Keith joined me in the space for a good part of the final month, recording, mixing and reworking sounds. I built a subwoof speaker into the wall, like a black pulsating pearl. We noticed that some of the hidden wirework vibrated, so that the space began to "respond" to the sound. So I added a network of wires, behind the walls, to extend the sound experience further.

The work is located in a cellar space, beneath what was the Police Hospital around the 1920's, where autopsies on the convicts were conducted. The space has a dark history and energy.
When I first gained access to the space it had an earth floor, above was the underbelly of the building above, about 180 cm high, with a network of pipes suspended below, providing services to the building above.
The first six months I was required to work outside of business hours, to prevent the noise of my building interrupting the daily activities of the Pilates Studio above. This meant working alone, through the night and on the weekends.
During that time I excavated with a mattock and shovel, buildt retaining walls and trenches, to completely transform the typography of the space. By the time I was completed you could walk through tight deep passageways, a meter and a half below ground level. No earth was removed, it was rearranged.
For the last three months I hand mixed and applied about a tonne of plaster to coat the structures and sculpt the surfaces of the space.

I would like to add that this work nearly killed me.
I do not say that lightly.
I also think it is by far the worst thing I have ever made.

The title Full Circle is about the recurring of ideas and desires.

No comments: