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The Midden

Project details

Master Fine Art

Personal, social and material stories, building affinities through time, resonating in and affecting the present.



The miscellaneous drawer in the kitchen of the shared flat. The dormant things of unknown use, compounded  backwards. The bridge between thin and deep time. The chaotic, yet-to-be fossil record.  

The decomposing definite article. 

Energy, scintillating across various stuffs, is taken home in a carrier bag.1 Excess is slowly and unevenly returned to  the outside world, sludging its way to the dump. It carries carriers, temporarily held archeological ooze, cupped hands,  pearl droplets, reflected images, passing seagulls. The fire breathing burp pile, whose mouth is graciously covered by surrounding trees for modesty. 

Pouring down through the field, heavy rain pulled under gravity, is falling downhill toward the sea. In an attempt to slow itself by grabbing clumps of earth, a frantic erosion trail is rolled open for the first time in over a century whilst finance descends into increasing levels of abstraction through emissions from a liquid crystal display.

A cannonball, a gas mask, an arsenic bottle, a doorway to an air raid shelter, a carved birchwood shield once mounted inside a public building, its emblems replaced with moss, a slotted strata of  birthday cards continually springing into celebration under footsteps, a glass ceiling light fixture, carefully cast from a bovine femur where light traced every curve of the creature, a knit of PVC  coated cables, ravelled silent as their carrier signals bounce freely through architectures, woven into a basket. 

Thin taut non-permeable membranes, bags for life pulled from a roll taking momentary impressions of whatever goes inside, that is their form. Awkwardly weighted, they bulge, tear, drag and soften their punchy pigmentation in ultraviolet light. Collapsing material makes provenance plural.  

Lying on the heap, gently nestled into each other, a contour map emerges. Bags for life quietly outlive us and their contents. Shared waste is packaged and concealed from others, only to inevitably burst  out, out of sight, smooshy grey pulp, private public property partnership poche. Tools are unable to navigate here. The map is compounded into what appears to be a ball.2 Inside is a complex crumble, comprising of folds and tears, if this terrain were to be expanded out it would resemble a caffeinated spiders web.3 

A delicate pink bleed fibre swell, showing what cannot be seen. A sectional view of the crust of the Earth is folded, pressed, then lightly held between two flat hands, slotted into a satchel.4 A liquid colour seeps through the folds, gradients dripping out the corners.  

It flows in waves, splashing the past, between intercalated coastal flip slab, a geological saliva. The igneous shelf amplifies a voice blabbing about the abyss and that time has depth5, not breadth or a complex ellipsoid system6. Is the depth not great enough to hold them all? Has anything ever reached an edge? 

Briefly opening for fingers, a salty hand is placed into the mud, becoming receptive to cool dirt, body heat transfer. Warmed mud extrudes then flops under its own weight, enveloping the hand entirely. Absorbing nutrients freed  from decaying belongings. The wrist is a sprout that tangles itself with eyes, they are sensing making senses form. 

There are children in the distance hauling a wet crumbled, once thing fragment microbial meal. Plume of plastic; flakes fall. Consuming the past like stolen rum, the children piss it out over the  present. Cutting cavities into slow snow. The capillary action pushes into a discarded issue of The New Scientist: Black Holes make up the body and other TV highlights, so that the words  read each other. The silt of a thought smeared by the press.

The ground is sweat. Percolated morning coffee ground, stimulating spread space-time warp weft. Hot flushed, Leachate leaks upwards. Remains popping like puss from inside a body that has waited  to be exposed to the sunrise. A calendar of releases. 

This armpit is an unfolded catalytic converter. Narrow strips of precious metals sewn onto a smooth mesh, flopping around to conceal the grip of the pom-pom. Swipe to push momentary hairy holes through atmosphere. Fractions of seconds, solid lead units of suspended waiting replaced by the surge of air that  follows. Lungs tarred and feathered propel sound over stone. 

The car’s axle tipped vertically is standing like a core sample, structuring a tower of stories held between opposing polarities. Slopped stink storeys of rotting garbage, become petrified land to develop new build boom bust forever  homes. Forever sinking into, forever merging with, forever forevering back and forward trying to get life on the  digestive track.  

A foot slipping on the housing bladder.

Energy Painting: Enamel on Aluminium

1. In Ursula K. Le Guin’s 1988 essay The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction, the writer argues that the first cultural devices were not extensions of the body that extract energy outward such as the spade, the axe or the knife; rather they were containers, that aided in the retrieval of energy from the world, in order to bring it back home. In this hypothesis, the transporting and storing of food helped lay the  conditions for human culture. 2. The conventions of a Figure-Ground Diagram, used in Architecture and Urban Design to signify  built and unbuilt space, were transformed by Giambattista Nolli in 1748 with his map of Rome. Nolli used the simplified drawing style  in Figure-Ground Diagrams (Shaded\Built, Unshaded\Unbuilt) to map out public and private space. Nolli’s map highlighted the relationships between public spaces over the city and how the church at the time spatially entwined itself with other forms of public life.  3. In the April 1995 publication of NASA’s TechBrief journal there is a short summary of Noever.D.A, Cronise.R.J, and Relwani.R.A’s  research into using spiders’ webs as a means to determine the toxicity of chemicals on living creatures. It was observed that the more  toxic the chemical was to the spider, the more deformed their web would look in comparison to their standard lattice design. Spiders  exposed to caffeine created webs that appear erratic, structurally uncertain, and contained many wide openings. 4.The American  illustrator Orra White Hitchcock (1796-1863) was known for her geological and botanical drawings, largely made with ink and watercolour onto linen. Many of Hitchcock’s drawings were made as visual aids to her husband Edward Hitchcock’s university lectures  on Geology and Natural History, she received no pay, nor any notoriety at the time for this work. Many of her geological illustrations  used vibrant colour and formal abstraction way before the rise of non-objective art, as a means to communicate the behaviour and  formation of the landscapes beneath her feet. The couple were both known for their life-long devout Christian belief, at a time where  Theology and the sciences were parting ways. 5. James Hutton (1726-1797) considered to be the founder of modern Geology, deduced from his studies of rock formations throughout Scotland, that the Earth is in a state of perpetual formation. By studying the  erosion, sedimentation and formation of rock, a history of the Earth, one that opposed a Biblical timeline, started to be developed by  Hutton amongst others in the field. To Hutton geological time was directionless leading him to famously state ‘that we find no vestige  of a beginning, no prospect of an end’ in Theory of the Earth, or, An Investigation of the Laws Observable in the Composition, Dissolution,  and Restoration of Land upon the Globe, published by The Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1788. 6. ‘Behind his head and the child’s,  the single mobile hanging in this room oscillated slightly. It was large piece made of wires pounded flat, so that edge-on they all but disappeared, making the oval into which they were fashioned flicker at intervals, vanishing, as did, in certain lights, the two thin, clear bubbles  of glass that moved with the oval wires in completely interwoven ellipsoid orbits, about the common centre, never quite meeting, never  entirely parting. Takver called it The Inhabitation of Time.’ Le Guin.U.K ([1974]1999) The Dispossessed, Gollancz