Precarious: an exhibition of installation, drawings and sculptures.
"The precarious is the dynamic, the path, the possibility, and the movement that is offered to human beings. The future consists in the affirmation of this precariousness – this precariousness that is also nonassured, the nonguaranteed, the nonstabilized, and the nonestablished. It will be the future because the precarious is always creative, because the precarious is always inventive, because the precarious is always in motion, because the precarious leads to new forms, because the precarious shapes a new geography, because the precarious starts with a new exchange between human beings, and because the precarious creates new values."
Thomas Hirschhorn, Crystal of Resistance, 2011
The Social Scaffold Project has involved a process of community engagement, working cross culturally to encourage collective creativity and a sharing of ideas and storytelling. The method of participatory art, where the artist works with people who do not identify as artists, aims to encourage collective creativity, to bring migrant stories to a wider audience and to foster a sense of belonging.
During a series of workshops, held at Blacktown Arts Centre, keys were employed as talking points. Keys are objects that are invested with meaning and memories, for this project they were deployed as catalysts to begin conversations about people’s lives: past and present, their memories and dreams. The participants were invited to share their stories relating to keys.
In the final workshops we worked together to cast the keys, creating plaster molds. From these molds I have worked in the studio to create ceramic keys using porcelain clay. This material shift has transformed the key, it no longer has a functional use, it has become a symbolic object employed as a motif within the artwork. The multiple ceramic keys are suspended within a scaffolding structure, which is constructed from split bamboo tied with string. The scale of the installation has a relationship to the scale of the human body. The towers of scaffolding are weighted with small sandbags to prevent them from precariously toppling over.
On a personal level these bamboo sculptures can be read as metaphors: building as a form of recovery. The small scale means that the sculptures read like architectural models, albeit abstracted. Some have recognizable forms and elements; others became abstract and dysfunctional, with ladders leading nowhere. Scaffolding obviously does not require an architectural model; its function is what is important. The scaffold is only a temporary structure, when it is no longer required it’s taken away leaving only a memory of its use. Scaffolding seen around the city reminds us of the state of flux, the changing cityscape and the dislocation that this change can induce.
Precarious: M Contemporary 18 - 31 January 2018, 37 Ocean Street Woollarah, Sydney
Photography: Mike Buick