keep us far from harm and fault - caitlin bowe
Personal physical trauma sits at the centre of my work. After an accident which has caused permanent damage to my left arm and shoulder, I look to interpret my bodily trauma and fear through the lens of the superstitions and mythologies of my Celtic heritage. Creating sculptural forms through life casting and textile techniques, I blend superstitious and mythological symbols and objects with a Victorian Gothic aesthetic. The resulting abhuman forms (occupying a space between the human and nonhuman) are both unsettling and enticing as they draw the viewer into a space of uncertainty.
After a residency at Studio Kura in Itoshima, Japan, my work has begun to focus on the idea of protective superstition in response to trauma. I interpret these superstitions as a result of trauma, that these objects and symbols can, in some way, give us power over a world so often out of our control. Combining ideas of protection from Japanese, Celtic, and Victorian Gothic superstitions, I look to create sculptural objects which form connections between trauma and the need for safety.
safe from all that would harm, 2018, cotton, satin, ink, dowel, dimensions variable
and accidents fill the world with woe, 2019, cotton, wax, pine, steel, 140.5 x 80 x 80cm
away from those who seek to harm, 2019, cotton, wax, pine, embroidery floss, 30 x 58 x 140cm
protection from what may come, 2018, cotton, lino print, embroidery floss, dimensions variable
absolution - URSULA KUIPER
The phenomenon of melting away guilt is, getting something off your chest, for many, is synonymous with the act of admitting your transgressions aloud. The church has previously been endowed with the power to absolve sins. In a modern context, spirituality has been by and large substituted for social media. ABSOLUTION creates a bizarre neo-shrine dedicated to healing through verbal admission.
ABSOLUTION, 2019, mixed media, smart phones, laptop computer
down time - PAUL SUTHERLAND
Down Time is a phenomenological reduction of the aesthetics of casual phone game advertisements. These advertisements are montaged into a twenty-three minute video, with a Gaussian blur applied until only bright, abstract colour remains. The work draws inspiration from the lack of enjoyment I feel playing phone games, despite continuing to do so (these games are indeed designed to provoke feelings of stress and anxiety and not of play or fun). On the one hand, it speaks to a personal sense of shame, that I should be “spending my time better”. On the other hand, the business model utilised by casual game developers lends itself to games simply becoming a vehicle for giving advertisements and in-game purchases to consumers, from which developers hope to make an opportunistic profit. In reducing the advertisements to fluctuating colour fields, a sense of dissociation, alienation and, against all odds, pleasure, becomes apparent.
Down Time was previously featured in an exhibition titled Keeping Busy, examining the aesthetics of leisure, unproductivity and inhabiting digital space as a neoliberal subject. All of the works in Keeping Busy utilised screen-capturing as a creative means, in line with my practice’s ongoing exploration of the relationship between performance/performativity and documentation.
Down Time, 2017, single channel video, 23:46 minutes