Materiality or Immateriality, what's it gonna be punk?

Ok, so I've been chillin' on the blog front for a while. Reeling from a few shows in the summer.

It's occured to me that Science fictions films, although fantastical, far fetched, and dependent on special effects, are incredibly corporeal. They illicit strong bodily sensations or at least appeal to the viewer on an emotive, senorious level. Whether through shock tactics, or gruesome sounds and visuals, or through the double edged pleasure of seeing the manmade world being variously destroyed, the appeal is sensual rather than purely intellectual.

Materiality or Immateriality, what's it gonna be punk? is the name of a performance I made over the summer. It was concieved of as a performance that was also a filming. The materiality of the performance would come up against the immateriality of the moving image. Of course, it isn't as clear cut as that, and this (I think) is what makes it interesting. Video can be very visceral. The audience watched the performance (if it could be called that) with a live feed from the camera running to stacks of monitors either side of the set/stage. The audio was also amplified, so the audience could hear loudly all those scuffs and scrapes that I like so much on playback.

I think that this piece marks a point of crisis for my work, betrayed in the title, between the material and the intellectual. And between objects - impassive, fixed and timeless - and performance. Recently I've been making sculptures. Sculpture inevitably concerned with materials. Makign sculpture is all hands and touch and materiality. But looking at sculptures when finished is different. It's still material, but at the same time a material which does not have the same upcloseness or visceral attack as those images on the screen. Without movement, or physical contact material has a markedly different aspect. Sculptures observed in a gallery loose somethign of this visceral materiality, moving into the realms of the visual and the spatial.

The performance wasn't really a performance. At least not in the way the audience I had was expecting (although perhaps i am being slightly paranoid here). Let's say then that it wasn't a show. That I, the 'performer' wasn't the main focus of the work. The focus (literally of the camera) was on a series of objects, large and small, which littered the set. It was the objects that I hoped would perform, through my interaction with them. My interest was in the doubling of imagery. The long view of the live action and the framing, often up close and irratic, of the video image. I set up a series of different arrangements, building them in front of the camera. Moving them around, knocking them over. Exploring the space and the objects' shapes and textures with the camera. Playing on the stillness of the objects and the movement of the video. It has always intruiged me that sculptures, always considered in their untouchableness, can be held and dragged and lifed and moved around by human hands. And there is a comedy to this. A comedy of materials in the disjunction between what is happening and our expectations towards certain things. A shattering of the silent, visual and therefore immaterial contemplation of an art object and the fleshy conduct of the body that moves it.

What I'm interested in seems to be this wish for direct contact. Fleshy feelings. The sculptures I've been making are painted in thick vivid gloss paint. With expressionistic brush strokes, smears and drips. It has the effect of always looking as if it might be wet and sticky. You can feel the application when looking at it. And they are big too. Human size at their smallest, monumental at their largest. When attending the opening of a show in Bournemouth where I made the biggest of these bright green, rock-like objects (3 metres high by 2 meters wide) people kept touching it. Not obviously, but many people did it. Reached out a sly finger, or went around the side by the wall and pressed their hands against it. A little material gesture towards an otherwise visual and spatial experience.