Acrylic offcuts

I found these, in a box of offcuts, waiting to be thrown away:
phone pics sept 2013 008

I tried putting them on a scanner, but it didn’t capture the colour. So I experimented further with the limited capabilities of my phone camera, to see what it would make of them:
phone pics sept 2013 014

phone pics sept 2013 016

I like the reds and yellows, against the green- which is just a glitchy colour artefact. Reminds me of photos in science magazines.

What I like about the last two images is not the same as what I like about the offcuts as three-dimensional objects. The little cylinders really make me want to play with them and collect more, even though they are completely pointless. Still, it’s a nice feeling. I wonder how to make something that will share that and provoke/invite that feeling in other people?

How does/will my work engage people?

I just read this essay, which I found through a link on

It gave me food for thought, in two ways specific to my practice:
1. How can I apply ideas from this essay to help me analyse, articulate and evaluate what I was trying to achieve with Invitation to Leap, Touch, Make a Sound?
2. How can I use this insight to develop my approach (and spawn new work)?
Below are some sketchbook-style responses. Notes, idea-doodling…

The collaborative processes culminating in Invitation to Leap, Touch, Make a Sound were limited to the discussion and approval process of a Steering Group and my mentorship with another artist. However, the piece is interactive- it has an existence beyond its passive, physical presence. In this sense, someone interacting with it becomes a collaborator. In developing an interactive work which I hoped would lead to positive outcomes and opportunites for the audience/collaborators to explore, I felt wary of implying that the work would ‘act on’ the audience in an ‘enlightening’ way and the title reflects my attempt to address this concern. In the essay above (section 2, paragraph 6) I find both an articulate, contextualised description of this particular concern and a description of a ‘dialogical aesthetic’ offering ways to move towards a more genuinely collaborative interaction.

Previously, I would have summed up my approach as ‘offering opportunities to play’ because this implies an opportunity to learn/discover/enjoy that is led by the subject. I think this still stands. However, applying this new model allows me to explore the sense of dislocation I felt on realising I would have almost no opportunities to recoup ideas by discovering people’s subjective responses to the work, and that this felt like a loss or shortcoming. Yes, I could ‘stake out’ at the installation until someone interacted with it and then pounce on them to ask how it felt, but obviously this would interfere with the mechanism(!)- the physical process which I felt necessitated an interactive sculpture rather than a series of conversations. How would it be possible to build that sort of interaction into a new work?

Kester goes on to discuss the role of empathy in the dialogical aesthetic: ‘Empathy is, of course, subject to its own kind of ethical and epistemological abuse. However, I also feel that a concept of empathetic insight is a necessary component of a dialogical aesthetic. Further, I would contend that precisely the pragmatic, physical process of collaborative production that occurs in the works I’m discussing (involving both verbal and bodily interaction) can help to generate this insight, while at the same time allowing for a discursive exchange that can acknowledge, rather than exile, the non-verbal.’ The works he is discussing are of course very different from my Invitation… but I think there is scope for me to draw useful insight nonetheless. Thinking about the time-based nature of dialogue and interaction also links me back to the music/compositional side of my practice: could I find ways to look for solutions to my problem through explorations there?


Maquettes exploring potential ways of constructing 3D forms for larger (public art) sculptures in metal. Considerations: durability, economy, ease of construction, invites engagement.

june 2013 039second batch 002

LRC Kaleidescope

Playing with that chrome tube again, this time the interesting colour/reflections effect.

Movement across rows of books in the university Learning Resources Centre. So many interesting tomes and so little time- it becomes a scanning of shelves, a pinhole view of countless fascinating subjects, bright colours and the odd word grabbing my attention. The library itself excites interest.

Why a Sketchbook?

sketchbook header

I am interested in process. Not all ideas need to be developed or ‘fully presented’ in order to be useful or worth sharing.

I am keeping this online sketchbook as an experiment: to see what undercurrents and themes emerge amongst the highlights of my testing and exploring, and to add another layer of available information about my practice.

Underpass Ice

underpass ice 4

I take photos with my phone for the immediacy- it seems appropriate when what I want to capture is a fleeting moment, something I’m noticing and experiencing and thinking about in real time.

I also like the grainy quality, the pixelation and colour artefacts arising because the camera’s just a cheap phone camera and there’s not enough light.

What do I do with the image, though? Is it a ‘finished product’? If so, how do I present it?

Small, backlit screen (like the phone itself) / projection / online like this… Would it make more sense if I collated a whole exhibitionsworth of these kind of images? Lost and found: ‘lost’ because the images have no real home or end point; ‘found’ because they are found and collected, by me, out and about.