Waiting for smoke, watching for mirrors.
Smoke is intangible, the ghost of a flame, signalling that something has gone before, proof of a heat, a burning; it implies the presence of something else. Conversely it has the power to conceal, to shield, to hide truth.
Mirrors also show us a truth, a reflection of our world and ourselves in it, but that truth can be misleading, subjective, backwards, a tricky duplicate. Used to verify an appearance, mirrors are nearly always deceptive.
Weather predicted (atmospheric pressure) by the dispersal rate of bubbles in morning coffee (left)
(digital video, 5 minutes)
Temperature in Celsius (Tc) formulated by counting the number of cricket chirps per minute (N60) (right)
(cricket, stopwatch, calculator)
(live male winged field cricket)
(ballpoint, vellum writing paper)
(printer ink, photocopy paper)
(obsidian, rose quartz, clear quartz, incense brazier, frankincense)
When asked if I could show in the January 2015 show I didn’t want to completely re-stage the show from 2014, but show some of where I had been and indicate where I was planning on going. This gave me a platform to show old work alongside new. Rather than rush toward getting photographs printed and videos hastily edited, I thought I would show what I had which were more the furtive grasping of ideas for work or a (fairly wide) parameter in which to proceed.
I chose the works that for me had a sense of waiting which was something I had been doing in a lot of rooms designed especially for that all over Auckland. These works are all in a sense waiting. Waiting for the cricket who seems to suffer from some kind of stage-fright and never sings for you, waiting in front of what seems to be a blue screen, a faulty video until the flash of a bird swoops through to make you realise that you have been staring into the sky. The newer works too, an agreement while waiting for death, waiting for the legal paper to be shuffled, and then for it to be shuffled again correctly, and lastly a waiting for contact. This was where a quick decision to include crystals may have muddied my intent.
I didn’t really question my choice to include them and so they probably weren’t as thought out as they could or should have been. I had thought they could indicate that I was open to the ‘spiritual’ into the field of investigation, a nod that perhaps this direction could be included but I think they maybe needed too much of a back story to explain:
I had inherited the obsidian from where it used to live beside my grandfather’s door and only later when reading books on ghosts and contact did I find that obsidian is used to channel spirits. I then procured other crystals also used for that purpose then found that the one that bears my name also helps to ward off unwanted spooks and let only the invited ones through.
While this was an interesting enough connection for me, it didn’t really fit with the idea of waiting that was only lightly holding these works together. This will be a tricky line to walk with work that is as personal as this one. Not all personal stories make good art, but some do, and it will be a balancing act to know or to judge which ones are. However, I am glad that I included all the works at this point. After a year out of the MFA program I felt like I needed to have the conversations with peers and faculty about these things, and these things in conversation with each other.
Conversation is key, I had been waiting for it.