Dan 1st draft

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a)

What? An object made of poplar plywood lying across the border between furniture and figurative sculpture. It is slightly larger than a human body, and has protrusions resembling a head and legs. It is also the right size and shape to accommodate a reclining human body, or several seated human bodies.

How? The object originated as a cardboard model about 20cm long. It was a model for a play about two characters navigating an anthropomorphic island. Through drawing and collage I arrived at an object of a scale between that of the existing model and the stage to which it pointed.

Why? I am invested in straddling the border between sculpture and furniture and unravelling the teleology of plans, prototypes, and finished works. The object in itself attempts this straddling, and through implementation as a prop in video and performance works it will contribute to this unravelling.

b)

1 What are you working on now? I'm currently working on ways to integrate a plywood object I recently made into performance and video works. I see the object — which cannot entirely comfortably be described as either sculpture or furniture — as having the possibility to be entered into various contexts and "pass" at any point along a sculpture-furniture spectrum. I am exploring how it can come to have several meanings and play diverse roles by being incorporated into the different discourses that define this spectrum.

2 What are you thinking of making? A partial list: -Three or four one piece garments made out of floral-print upholstery fabric such that a group of people sitting, relaxing, drinking, talking etc. on the object become pillow people. -A video which will be projected in a place where it can be seen by someone sitting on the object. In the video disjointed drawings, photocopies and collages are used as proxies for my body. Video of the materials being manipulated by my hands will be intercut with digitally generated animations of them moving independently. -Models and small sculptures, some of them expansions on the drawings used in the above video, which will be scattered across the object such that it serves as both a plinth and a stage set for their drama. -A performance in which I manipulate and maneuver these models and sculptures across the surface of the sculpture-furniture and describe the play the original model was intended for. This will be simultaneously a form of puppet theatre and a performance relating my body to bodily resonances of the sculpture-furniture.

3 How do you plan to make it? -Given my lack of experience in sewing the garment plan is the most long term, and may not be employed until an exhibition in Dublin in the Summer. -The video, with the working title Appearances, uses and expands upon formal strategies I developed for a video I made in 2014 called Disappearances. The footage in this video was overlaid with drawings and hand-written text which inter-penetrated to create a visual narration which could not be read aloud. I want to further develop this visual language so that the imagery itself takes on this malleable quality and the screen becomes an utterly treacherous surface. -These objects are already in production. They use paper, cardboard and plasticine and draw on images from cinema, art, music history, design, my family, my body and my body of work. The pressing task is to experiment with arranging them and seeing what kind of narratives and tensions can be generated. -Then the next pressing task would be adding my body and its movements and dimensions and gestures and tics to the mix.

4 Why do you want to make it? All of the possible directions listed for using and expanding the plywood object are motivated by an interest in the possibilities and problems inherent to art as a context in which objects can change meanings or refuse to adapt to a regime of meaning. The desire to do this is motivated by a certain subversive joy in exploiting the boundaries of figuration, abstraction and utility. However it also comes from a serious wish to experiment with introducing the male body as a site of figuration and objectification in a context that has a history of lightly figuring and objectifying women and femininity.

In response to the classical figuration of female bodies as "formless matter" I want to turn the lens and create an absurd corresponding representation of male artist as "matterless form". I want the work to insist that the role of the signifying intellect which supposedly grounds representation is itself a representation. In tackling this representation I'm conscious of something Anne Boyer has said regarding masculinist culture and its productions: 'to keep the struggle theatrical fixes power'. Work around masculinity always risks sliding into a kind of gentle parody. I would like the work to reflect on what Boyer calls 'another, real struggle: it's not between actor and actor. It's between the actors and the stage.'

5 Relation to previous practice All of this work is very much part of the fabric of my existing practice, but it approaches dormant themes and subtexts in an attempt to make them explicit.

Chief among these is the lingering presence of a phantom of my own body. Previous sculptural works were often made to the dimensions of my body without criticality, just because it was the closest one to hand. Similarly if I performed on or around the sculptures it was without much thought about the specificities of the performing body being my own. There was a sensual relationship between the body of work and my own body which was rarely directly acknowledged.

Similarly in previous works which critiqued art historical conventions of men making representations of women the critique tended to be borderline self-loathing attacks on the signifying intelligence, and as such were grounded in the same male/culture-female/nature dichotomy they set out to address.

6 Relation to a larger context


7 References -Picasso paintings and sculptures from the early to mid 1910s (especially the guitars) and later expressionist paintings (particularly of his wives and various other women) -Die Hard (1988) archetypal cultural depiction of a male body formed and trained by institutions (John McClane is NYPD) but straining towards its "true" position of rugged individuality (the action takes place in LA, outside his jurisdiction). Reading this against the weirdly sensual and vulnerable aspect Bruce Willis's body starts to present to the audience over the course of the film. -Virility and Domination in Early 20th Century Vanguard Painting, Carol Duncan -On Science Fiction, Anne Boyer -Eileen Gray furniture, with particular reference to the prototypes she often made for things that later went into mass production. Some of these prototypes Gray kept and used in her own daily life. -Alvar Aalto plywood furniture and derivatives thereof (with possible reference to the IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad's populist text Testament of a furniture dealer) -Gender Trouble and Bodies That Matter, Judith Butler (NB some of my favourite bits of Butler are when she writes about and spars with Irigaray, who I've never read. I also once saw a really great performance by John Russel in which he talked about Irigaray and Bruce Willis. I should probably read Irigaray)


Suggested edit

Steve notes: I did s on Dan's text but it could apply to yours.

x: Cut the headings and work on from there; you can link the sections

y: make three headings (identify three key words) these will help the reader navigate the text and will help them understand how the text are developing =use sub heads as a narrative tool:


Text begins:

a)

An object made of poplar plywood lying across the border between furniture and figurative sculpture. It is slightly larger than a human body, and has protrusions resembling a head and legs. It is also the right size and shape to accommodate a reclining human body, or several seated human bodies.


The object originated as a cardboard model about 20cm long. It was a model for a play about two characters navigating an anthropomorphic island. Through drawing and collage I arrived at an object of a scale between that of the existing model and the stage to which it pointed.

I am invested in straddling the border between sculpture and furniture and unravelling the teleology of plans, prototypes, and finished works. The object in itself attempts this straddling, and through implementation as a prop in video and performance works it will contribute to this unravelling.

b)

I'm currently working on ways to integrate a plywood object I recently made into performance and video works. I see the object — which cannot entirely comfortably be described as either sculpture or furniture — as having the possibility to be entered into various contexts and "pass" at any point along a sculpture-furniture spectrum. I am exploring how it can come to have several meanings and play diverse roles by being incorporated into the different discourses that define this spectrum.

A partial list of things I want to make: -Three or four one piece garments made out of floral-print upholstery fabric such that a group of people sitting, relaxing, drinking, talking etc. on the object become pillow people. -A video which will be projected in a place where it can be seen by someone sitting on the object. In the video disjointed drawings, photocopies and collages are used as proxies for my body. Video of the materials being manipulated by my hands will be intercut with digitally generated animations of them moving independently. -Models and small sculptures, some of them expansions on the drawings used in the above video, which will be scattered across the object such that it serves as both a plinth and a stage set for their drama. -A performance in which I manipulate and maneuver these models and sculptures across the surface of the sculpture-furniture and describe the play the original model was intended for. This will be simultaneously a form of puppet theatre and a performance relating my body to bodily resonances of the sculpture-furniture.

-Given my lack of experience in sewing the garment plan is the most long term, and may not be employed until an exhibition in Dublin in the Summer. -The video, with the working title Appearances, uses and expands upon formal strategies I developed for a video I made in 2014 called Disappearances. The footage in this video was overlaid with drawings and hand-written text which inter-penetrated to create a visual narration which could not be read aloud. I want to further develop this visual language so that the imagery itself takes on this malleable quality and the screen becomes an utterly treacherous surface. -These objects are already in production. They use paper, cardboard and plasticine and draw on images from cinema, art, music history, design, my family, my body and my body of work. The pressing task is to experiment with arranging them and seeing what kind of narratives and tensions can be generated. -Then the next pressing task would be adding my body and its movements and dimensions and gestures and tics to the mix.

All of the possible directions listed for using and expanding the plywood object are motivated by an interest in the possibilities and problems inherent to art as a context in which objects can change meanings or refuse to adapt to a regime of meaning. The desire to do this is motivated by a certain subversive joy in exploiting the boundaries of figuration, abstraction and utility. However it also comes from a serious wish to experiment with introducing the male body as a site of figuration and objectification in a context that has a history of lightly figuring and objectifying women and femininity.

In response to the classical figuration of female bodies as "formless matter" I want to turn the lens and create an absurd corresponding representation of male artist as "matterless form". I want the work to insist that the role of the signifying intellect which supposedly grounds representation is itself a representation. In tackling this representation I'm conscious of something Anne Boyer has said regarding masculinist culture and its productions: 'to keep the struggle theatrical fixes power'. Work around masculinity always risks sliding into a kind of gentle parody. I would like the work to reflect on what Boyer calls 'another, real struggle: it's not between actor and actor. It's between the actors and the stage.'

All of this work is very much part of the fabric of my existing practice, but it approaches dormant themes and subtexts in an attempt to make them explicit.

Chief among these is the lingering presence of a phantom of my own body. Previous sculptural works were often made to the dimensions of my body without criticality, just because it was the closest one to hand. Similarly if I performed on or around the sculptures it was without much thought about the specificities of the performing body being my own. There was a sensual relationship between the body of work and my own body which was rarely directly acknowledged.

Similarly in previous works which critiqued art historical conventions of men making representations of women the critique tended to be borderline self-loathing attacks on the signifying intelligence, and as such were grounded in the same male/culture-female/nature dichotomy they set out to address.


7 References -Picasso paintings and sculptures from the early to mid 1910s (especially the guitars) and later expressionist paintings (particularly of his wives and various other women) -Die Hard (1988) archetypal cultural depiction of a male body formed and trained by institutions (John McClane is NYPD) but straining towards its "true" position of rugged individuality (the action takes place in LA, outside his jurisdiction). Reading this against the weirdly sensual and vulnerable aspect Bruce Willis's body starts to present to the audience over the course of the film. -Virility and Domination in Early 20th Century Vanguard Painting, Carol Duncan -On Science Fiction, Anne Boyer -Eileen Gray furniture, with particular reference to the prototypes she often made for things that later went into mass production. Some of these prototypes Gray kept and used in her own daily life. -Alvar Aalto plywood furniture and derivatives thereof (with possible reference to the IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad's populist text Testament of a furniture dealer) -Gender Trouble and Bodies That Matter, Judith Butler (NB some of my favourite bits of Butler are when she writes about and spars with Irigaray, who I've never read. I also once saw a really great performance by John Russel in which he talked about Irigaray and Bruce Willis. I should probably read Irigaray)