This piece was warmly received at the POI exhibition in Manchester in June 2009. A moving video image of a walker or pilgrim is visible on the top of an interactive globe. While the globe is static the figure engages in a series of randomly mundane tasks, reading, eating and sleeping. When the globe is rotated the figure looses balance and begins to slip off. He starts to run frantically to maintain his position on the top of the globe. Pilgrims digress forms part of a body of work exploring pilgrimage and religious journeys, humorously looking at the desire for equilibrium in the pursuit of understanding.
There was very positive responses both at the exhibition preview and through visitor comments about this piece. My intention was to create both a joyful experience that had elements of game play and allowed participants to enjoy the deistic manipulation of a human character, but also, as the star globe alludes to the ‘heavenly’ journey, I intended to create a reflective experience in which viewers could connect with the sense of wrestling with the changing nature and development of religious belief.
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Second Nature // Cave
As part of the MIRIAD MA show, this piece stems partly from work carried out at Helsby Quarry in Cheshire, a reclaimed industrial site, now a local nature reserve. During research here I began to consider the raw materials that create urban environments and consumer products and the mental distancing of human consumption from the material source. A re-evaluation of my own understanding of the natural environment was taking place, in which I had to reassess my own engrained, dualistic view of the environment that followed a romantic understanding of nature and culture as separate entities. At the same time, a similar re-evaluation of Christian faith was occurring in which a disillusionment with my fundamental beliefs was agitating a search for a new spiritual authenticity.
With reference to miners and quarrymen, an obscured figure with a head torch explores a dark unknown space. Some areas of the space are momentarily revealed by the torch as the figure attempts to orientate himself in the dark. Simultaneously, instructions are provided by a satellite navigation system. Although the voice is both authoritative and calmly imperative, the instructions seem confused and are clearly at an inappropriate scale and setting for the current situation and purpose. The tunnel entrances on the walls give a clue to the viewer (but not the figure) of the wider location of the situation, and may also provide possible exits.
At the heart of this piece is the sense of being at a place where the previously held conceptions, language and cognitive structures that give meaning (in my case to my religious beliefs and understanding of the environment) no longer adequately function as a way of comprehending reality. There is the understanding that a new structure is required, but is yet to be fully revealed. The allegory of Plato’s cave, in which cave dwellers can only see shadows of reality, is also alluded to in this representation of a search for understanding.
Coincidently, the actual location used for the dark, unknown space was beneath the church I attend, in a way reinforcing the sense of being confused in a religious place but also the desire to go, as does the miner, beneath the surface, to get to the raw material that gives meaning.
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Seeing is Believing // One Body, Many Parts
A church project, 2005.
A huge pixilated image of daVinci’s Christ from The Last Supper is constructed as a public artwork at St. Bridgets Church in Wavertree, Liverpool. With reference to a mosaic within the church, the mural made from tiles alludes to the Christian concept of the Body of Christ a term to describe the church community. The illusion created makes the image visible only when the ‘whole’ is seen from a distance. Each tile is individualised by a signature or picture from the broader community – school children, community groups, church members and other local people. A prominent local feature, “One Body Many Parts” recognises the collective value of all individuals within the community.