at the Meter Room
This show is a response to the space at Meter
Room and an opportunity to make an installation from the varied
work that I have been exploring over the past 20 years together
with new works made specifically with the space in mind.
In the early 90s I became interested in the
irony of the conversion of office and derelict warehouse spaces
into fitness centres selling the idea of human perfection: a dystopian
vision of perfection. This was analogous with my own experience:
always exercising: practising to improve: a utilitopian dream of
a future: an illusion of running or jogging to keep up, not of walking
The general moral panic and anxiety about
what we are doing to ourselves and to the planet infects every aspect
of our lives, peaking in the development of the position of Health
and Safety Officer: arbiter of the imaginative process: devoid of
any thought other than that of watching ones’ back, creating a world
of mad management.
Now art must be safe and academic.
This resonates with certain feelings I had
about the oddity of human consciousness. Like Schopenhauer describing
consciousness as an aberration, I had come to think that it had
no function in the great sphere of things: that knowledge had no
function beyond our personal immediate and expedient need for it,
thus making the world an extension of ourselves.
That consciousness is obsessed with concepts
of improvement seems inherent: a neurosis that might be characterised
as madness if it were not that it appears to be the norm. Is it
folly not to know, to be fat, not to be creative, not to be competitive,
not to improve? Is it not good enough just to be? The Christian
obsession seeks out fault and piles agony upon agony. The politics
of change, of increased productivity infests our life.
The work in this show is a natural progression
from previous works I have shown concerning the acquisition of knowledge
that I characterised as ‘Library Steps’: the need for an expanding
archive of all known material and the consequent need for ever more
ingenious devices to access this information. This need is currently
reduced to typing a few words, if you know what they are, into a
little box and pressing the return key. The result is much more
information than you can deal with, much of it irrelevant and distracting,
limited in its use by our personal limitations of knowledge, focus
and desire. The result appears to be a ‘Library of Babel”, to borrow
from Jorge Luis Borges.
LP 24 July 2011