So Far…

From discussing with Ellie this term, she has decided that she would prefer to act more of an advisor to the work we have made/plan to make. This is unfortunate as I feel we work well as a collaboration but I agree that it has been difficult this year due to the fact myself, Hazel and Ellie has worked on different external projects. I feel that this is a real shame but I understand that Ellie is working hard on both her own and collaborative work and sometimes this is hard to manage. Nevertheless, I will continue with our current work and will look for input from both Hazel and Ellie. Hopefully we can work together final year!


Progress Installation


I have been experimenting with floor plans and how space could be adapted instead of the scale of the object. This has led me to find floor plans of art institutions, such as the Tate Modern, and to illustrate those on the floor in order to recreate the environment. By doing this, I hope to give these recovered objects a space assigned to them that they are valued. As they appear larger within the floor plan their agency within the space is increased. I plan to do more experimentation like this, working with scale and space, and also create more tangible spaces, like rooms and buildings perhaps, and see how that alters interpretation.

Above, I experimented with the placement on the objects and, more specifically, how the spoons would be situated. I felt that the space was utilised more effectively when the spoons were aligned. I believe this is because the placement appears more deliberate, the objects have been curated and carefully exhibited: there is no accident here.


My interest in Floor Plans as a way to illustrate space reminded me of the film “Dogville” (2003) directed by Lars Von Trier. In this film (which was incredibly polarizing) the set is made up almost entirely of chalk lines with furniture only to make the space minimally identifiable. The missing information is filled by the audience and represents the simple life of the inhabitants of the small town, and perhaps the starkness of the environment. This film was interesting to me because of its representation of place. The characters interact with the space as they usually would, but in an almost surreal fashion as the walls and other architectural features have been removed. This forces the audience to focus primarily on the performance and narration itself, leading them not to be distracted by the minimalist set.


This led me to think that perhaps instead of making entire environments, perhaps I could include suggestions of space. This would amplify the importance of the objects I wish to exhibit whilst still altering the space the objects inhabit.

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The sparseness of the space even extends to the dog of the town, Moses, who at the conclusion of the film is restored from a chalk outline to a living, barking animal. This instantly re-centers the audience to reality which again subverts the accustomed environment. This is something I wish to experiment with as well.

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Paul Purgas

Paul Purgas

Purgas started from a music background from 90’s drum and bass. He was fascinated by the underground resistance in Detroit 1989 which was empowered by the black political movement with the aesthetic of a militant sonic language. This interest changed his way of thinking about urbanism. Purgas introduction to architecture was brought about by the hyper modern moment in the Detroit techno scene born out of Jeff Mills, Because of this, Purgas decided to study architecture. The musical Avant Garde and radical performance art also became an influence from his studies. The Finnish band Pansonic was another influence that he discovered around this time. Purgas was involved with DIY electronics and was fixated on the pure sound of electricity. Following this is the pure material qualities of electric sound. He later studied at the University of Westminster and was taught by Cedric Price died who was interested in psychedelic architecture. He instilled the idea in Purgas that everything he would study would be transferable in anything else. What is taught will eventually be useful and will be able to communicate through drawing and sound etc. It was in the Royal College where Purgas realised that he would not like to be an architect. The joke was that architects woking with large firms were “CAD Monkeys” and that all they would contribute to a project was the railings in a toilet.

Left the Royal College, left London and moved back to Bristol and managed to get post as curatorial assistant in Arnolfini. Here, he found himself digging into the archives. From this he was rethinking the place of experimental music. He found that within Arnolfini, there were set environments for different disciplines of work and that seemed detrimental to progressing in art. He found that the freedom he was looking for is found in the past.

Alongside being a curator for the gallery, Purgas was also making music. He was working with purist constituents of sound: sound wave and white noise. He used that with his band as a  fundamental limitation. He managed to make albums out of 3 sounds. Ourdas was also interested in the history of rock bands and how often they would record on location instead of in a studio. Therefore, he found a mansion in Gloucester which was the largest gothic mansion in the country, yet was never completed due to lack of funds. Part of the appeal was the various elements that that were exposed, this made it exciting in the context that they were working in. The house was a method of imprinting on the sonics itself.

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He was later invited by Tate Britain to be apart of performing architecture, looking for people trying to perform qualities of architectural spaces. The questions he asked himself was:What can we do? Where can we go? Where could we take it? The next location was a nuclear power station in Snowdonia. There was authorisation to build a massive station there in 50’s but now the space is being constantly dismantled. This arc of breakdown is due to continue until 2030. In this sense, the space has completed its life cycle. Purgas showed us the sounds he created in the space, it was a very dark and heavy sound that pulsed almost like a lament.

He was then approached by the architecture foundation “Sounding Spaces” which formed a subtext to all this spacial work. The idea of sound, space and supernatural otherness was fascinating at the time. This followed the idea that architecture is living somehow. Purgas hoped to animate the building that somehow defies logic. His theory was that everything has a fundamental frequency where everything will accumulate. This would be true with buildings, all that is required is the removal or enhancement of certain frequencies.

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He was then approached by Transmedi Art who invited him to make commissions with radio broadcasting. This prompted Purgas to work with the sound of Earth and its signals, picking up historical ideas to rework or remix it. He set up improvised performance  in Berlin in real time and outputted mixing desk into a van which transmitted to France then to Poland and then to concert hall. The idea was to use the atmosphere as a signal processor.

He later worked with a Turkish sound artist thinking about the ideas of metrics and imagined time structures chronicling international and biographical events. They were  designing and building a physical system, working with vocalist too. They were using pure tones and sound waves that mimic what Purgas was doing electronically with the final discord of the voice.

Finally, Purgas spoke to us about his latest work that is at a very early stage which was looking at adversarial neural networks and how AI learn. He told us that multiple networks learn and cross reference information, whereas adversarial elements are competing to arrive at decisions in a competitive manner. Purgas is exploring how AI could work to extrapolate that into a compositional system. Because this is relatively uncharted territory it is difficult finding people with the skills. He now is working with the Wilkes Super computer in Cambridge. He wishes to build these systems using the Wilkes super cluster as brain.

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Franz West

Franz West is most known for his mixed media sculptures which he terms “Adaptives”. These objects are meant to be “ergonomically inclined” that only fulfill the role of artwork when they are handled, carried, worn etc. West is interested in the dialogue between the viewer and the object, the relation between sculpture and painting and what it means to be aesthetic. West manipulates everyday materials and images and challenges the interplay between what is concealed and exposed, what is acted upon and what is being reacted to. This happens both in and outside of the gallery setting.

West typically uses papier-mache, wire, plaster, aluminium and other materials. Initially West started painting but then started creating collages and sculptures. In the 1990’s West began making large aluminium pieces inspired by Viennese sausages – which became well known for his “Adaptives” – which were meant for lying and sitting.

Like Oldenburg, I am interested in the outdoor, accessible nature of his work and the fact that the work invites interaction that includes more than looking. The audience is invited to sit and feel immersed in his installations. The fact that West’s installations are only considered art when they are interacted with further heightens the importance of the work being tactile. This is what Ellie and myself want to consider with our future work and it was a suggestion in our feedback in the Things That Matter project.

Claes Oldenburg

Oldenburg is most notably known for his sculptures that combine the banal with the everyday. His public sculptures include objects that are easily recognizable to the public yet are made somewhat fantastical from their size. The use of scale defamiliarizes the object yet creates an uncanny effect: they are at once familiar yet unsettling. There is also a whimsy that is present that reminds me of Alice Through The Looking Glass, the environment is reduced in size while the objects are made gigantic. As they reside in a public space, it is open to the elements and unhidden from discovery. They invite contemplation in a fun and playful way, not taking themselves too seriously yet still inviting discussion. This is amplified from the installation being situated within the elements, they are not confined to a gallery or museum. They are open and accessible and demand attention from a wider audience.

This is another method that myself and Ellie can pursue, removing our recovered, and similarly banal, objects from the studio setting and recreating them in a different way within the public sphere. Not only are the objects not discarded and forced to reside in a room, they occupy a wider space that communicates their importance we feel they have.

Thomas Demand

The work of Thomas Demand is at once real and artificial. Demand began as a sculptor and began taking photographs as a mode of documentation of his paper constructions. In 1993 this stance reversed, and he began making his constructions for his photography. The artits begins by taking images from the media, normally a political event, which are then adapted into life-size models made from paper and cardboard. Demand also creates architectural spaces and environments which are built in the image of other images. Once they have been photographed, these environments are destroyed.

Whats interests Ellie and I is the use of a false environment to suggest a reality that does not exist. The setting is fake yet implies that such a place could exist. The use of material is also interesting, they are impermanent but suggest permanency. The whole environment is deconstructed and recreated to subvert perceptions and force a closer analysis of each image.