Heard tiny chirps,
Admired cosseted new life,
Watched first flight.
Rescued shelter from winter’s grasp,
Goldfinch nest – part of my research into the notion of home.
Looking for a new nest to live, work and play in.
Found this, bordering on the surreal, tiny cottage in Norfolk last week that reminded me of the kind of houses young children draw.
More of his wonderful photography here http://www.amber-online.com/exhibitions/greatham-creek/exhibits/014
Of course I can’t forget the local bijou gem I found some months ago…
Somehow none of them are quite right and I’m not sure why!
Still looking for a home … my eye is drawn to deserted ramshackle rural buildings to lay my hat.
Are you sitting comfortably?
“It isn’t so much as what’s on the table that matters as what’s on the chairs”.
William S. Gilbert
The chair has long been a metaphor for the human and many artists have utilised this motif to great effect. It is a powerful symbol I return to often in my work, its accessibility makes it a favourite with many.
I have just finished working on the remnants of a broken and battered wooden chair, that I found washed up on a local beach, with its shabby paint and distorted form, it is completely gorgeous. The chair appears to be walking into the wall with flies crawling up one side of its back.
A new sculpture for my Beautiful Dystopias Collection.
Dimensions: 86 x 65 x 24 cm
Materials: found broken, wooden chair, hand crafted flies, concealed metal fixings
What and where is home?
Is our home a place of refuge from the outside world?
But what if the world was our home, where is the refuge then?
‘A home does not simply specify where you live; it can also signify who you are (socially, economically, sexually, ethnically) and where you ‘belong’ (geographically, culturally). And a house or a dwelling is full of the occupant’s corporeality, of sleeping, eating, loving: of its existence as a home. Moreover, a house contains evidence of the intimate relationship between space and time. While the space of the constructed building may shelter people or families over long periods of time, the evidence of more transitory individual lives is visible in traces in and on the building and its furniture. These ‘traces’ may take the form of damage, dirt, dust, decorations, scratches, repairs and so on.’
(Extract from Gill Perry ‘Dream houses: installations and the home’ in Gill Perry and Paul Wood (eds.), Themes in Contemporary Art, Yale University Press in association with the Open University, New Haven and London, 2004)
Applying this idea of home, as described above in the quote from Gill Perry’s ‘Dream Houses: Installations and the Home’, but to the Earth, rather than a building, invites a new perspective on our custodial duties.
The Earth is home not only to us but also to many other organisms – it provides the right elements: atmosphere, temperature, sustenance and time, for us to prosper. Sustaining a world with a sense of equilibrium towards these fundamentals and appreciating the interconnectedness of them all is vital for our home to flourish.
One of my new sculptures ‘Home: 3 bed semi’ is created from three rusty beds I found washed up on the beach. The waves had ravaged the upholstery leaving a tangled web of rusting and flaking metal armatures. Salvaged, the beds were crushed and compacted into a cuboid by a baling machine normally used for condensing old metal cans into bales ready for recycling. The spirit of the springs, now largely tamed, was further restrained to prevent the metal’s memory returning.
Five fragile birds nests rescued from local hedges in mid-winter adorn the ‘bed’ and remind us that a shelter is temporary if not nurtured.
The coming into being of ‘Home: 3 bed semi’.
Drawing for research for new sculpture ‘Home: 3 bed semi’.
Utilising found rusty bed springs as stencils and nails as masks to create the nests I sprayed paint building up the layers. The image was completed with digital drawing using a wacom tablet.
In the news this week architects revealed their latest designs of homes for the future. Arup envisage buildings no longer as passive cells but more as a towering reactive organism complete with their own brains, skin and nervous system. Sounds strange on one level, but considering the advances in building technology, it is a logical development. Arup’s concepts include the engineering of the building’s facilities to respond to its inhabitants and the environment. The design harnesses algae as a biofuel as one power source, (scientists in Berlin are already investigating this notion), and photovoltaic paint as another – by catching the power of the sun. A specialist membrane on the walls converts carbon dioxide back into oxygen.
The tower block would also include an integral health and community centre plus shops. There were also transporter pods that attached to the building like a game of Jenga. This is all very futuristic, with some dynamic concepts worth developing, but as most of us hate tower blocks why build more?
The photographs below I took in 2012 when I was on a research visit to Chengdu. The Chinese have many sparkling new tower blocks on the main drags through their fast growing cities, but walk down a side street and turn a corner, and you find a different view of tower blocks.
This week I am researching ways I can visualise the concept of the Earth being our home and how that has the potential to reconfigure our perception of the planet. Professor Brian Cox confirmed this notion last week on his television programme ‘The Wonders of Life’.
On one of my local beach walks, with my dog Dill, I discovered several rusty mattresses – the sea had stripped the fabrics and abandoned the metal armatures on the shore.
The rusty tangled web of bed springs was highly evocative of home: a fragile nest symbolic of the natural home.
The photo shows a sample of the idea with a bird’s nest cradled in a bed spring.