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Devices/ Devises

Devices / Devises 2021 L55cm H90cm W25cm Copper hair, Copper pipes, Plaster of Paris, Rope, Ribbon, Metal, Clay and Cup Hooks.

I created this work over a period of time, it evolved and at first I was using the cup hooks to hang the clay and plastered oddities while they dried. They amalgamated into this arrangement of work that created other work once situated together. For example, I made the chains from a mould in raw clay and kept connecting more of these rings together once dried. This process was long and I was testing how strong the plaster could be as adding another chain also included weight that when hung, one ring had to take the weight of all the other rings. The length of chain encourage me to replicate the entwining motion of chain by crocheting the longer strands of Copper and Rope. Draping them altogether in a heap on one Cup Hook then motivated me to create more. I was interested in the functionality of this arrangement, they resembled coats hanging in a hall way or entrance way. Coats are waiting to be used and always refer to the voided body, a body that gives them purpose, shape and takes them from the hanging environment to the wearable, from inside to outside. People have said that ”there is no such thing as cold weather, just inappropriate clothing”. Coats also suggest to me our humanitarian criss where coats are always requested as donations. The functionality theme is the reason I used the Cup Hooks to install this work in the Saatchi Gallery November-January 2022 [London Grads Now 2021]. I could have changed them but the domesticated interpretation of the Cup Hook in widely understood.

Why Is Functionality important?

The name of the work changes from Devices and sometimes its called Devises. The interpretation is interchangeable, they work in a method that responds to tools such as chains, nets and the energy forces of physics.

Device; Noun, A thing made or adapted for a particular purpose, especially a piece of mechanical or electronic equipment such as a measuring device.

Devise; Verb, Plan of invent ( a complex procedure , system or mechanism) by careful thought. To devise something is to invent a new strategy to obtain or bring about something.

The work is a combination of lots of work relating to the exploration of the self and our practice of existence. As the climate breakdown continues to challenge peoples existence from erratic weather conditions, change in dietary therefore supporting food sustainability and our recent confrontations with viruses, proves our need for greater adaptability. But how adaptable are we? Are we able to change at the pace needed and are we colonising this climate crisis?

Referring to historical events is a method of understanding our future, giving the question some context and a process of evaluation. Although Timothy Morton said “Is there a future when all we do is live in the past”. During my Masters I researched the Inca people and how they managed to create sophisticated systems of advanced agricultural proficiency over a distance that covered 2485 miles for example; London to Azerbaijan. They communicated to 30 other cultures and devised communication threads to collect data and inform others about agricultural crops, rotations and planting. This device was called Quipu [a-keep-pu], it was a colourful set of knotted threads and we still have not uncoded it today. The Incas had no written language and no alphabet or currency, they were mostly vegetarian and had a complexed but efficient government. Value was given to Gold being the sweat of the Sun and Silver being the tears of the Moon. Textiles were traded and each culture had their own repetitive pattern that represented their civilisation, these complicated patterns are similar to our encrypted notes we use today. The rope bridges the Inca people used to travel from one mountain top to another were incredible, not only were they a sophisticated transportation system but they encourage connections with other cultures, broaden there civilisation and established themselves as a wealthy empire that attracted the Spanish colonisation of the Americas in 1532.

Cecilia Vicua connects her work with this ancient culture and relates its similarities with our network theories which established the development of the world wide web. The juxtaposition of ancient cultures directly influencing the evolution of our contemporary technical advancement is what is being nodded to in my work and that of the relationship between technology and people. I also want to acknowledge another connection joining thread with technology advancement and that is the development of the Jacquard loom machine. The first machine to use punch cards, which revolutionised the textile market back in the 1800’s. The history of the textile trade is phenomenal;

The unfired Clay elements within Devices are influenced by the Quipu, each strand of rope is connected with a solid clay shape, these articulate a language of something but nothing. The clay forms were made using gravity as a device and is a method of acknowledging the resources and the environment where l make work. It’s an intervention into the processes of entropy. The work by Richard Serra; One Ton prop (House of cards) 1969 is four lead plates 48×48 x1 inch that precariously lean together, free standing in the shape of a cube. This is called axiomatic principal construction, everything is being held up by everything simultaneously. The gravitational force of the overlapping plates that weigh 500 pounds each are a structuring device and sculpture. Yet gravity as a force is structural and destructive. One Ton Prop is situated on the floor, another surface that gives stability to the lean-to structure. This stance also perpetuates a relationship with the object and the floor. In this work we see him forming and shaping the weighty yet malmble material of lead and in his later massive steel torqued eclipsed inspired interventions, he is shaping the space we manoeuvre, encounter.

The Plaster of Paris oddities and hooks are ghostly, an interpretation of the past haunting the present. These oddities suggest shape and form which is commonly understood as organic, such as coral shapes where water and tidal forces have carved out cavities therefore the existence of time is noticeable. The Plaster of Paris hooks are connected together in a chain and suggest a functionality, a purpose to obtain yet are fragile and completely nonfunctional. These meta narrative associations are ideas linking all the different elements together. For example the Copper Pipes and Copper Hair are a reference to our disregard to extracting the planets natural resources. Copper is in high demand as we move towards decarbonisation where solar and electric cells replace fossil fuel transistors. Pipes are systems of flowing liquids, some of it being waste, sewage and pollution that contaminates and needs treatment. The circulation of water into waste and back to water is profitable regenerative business and takes place under ground, hidden in a massive connective system of pipes resembling rhizome dendrology. More of my research into the global power struggle surrounding the massively expensive pipe networks being engineered throughout Asia and Europe are here;

Devices is a sculptural piece that presents an assortment of tools, objects, weapons, and yet they are forms that have no use other than aesthetic existence. Ecological dogmas are exposed, hung and at the ready but it’s all talk and no action, Political gesturing, a plot devise of one’s death. Our philosophical relationship with technology and mechanisms are being explored from a method of experimenting with materialism. Devices responds to the beauty of resistance, identity, human relations, our functionality and fragility, here the rawness of nature is assembled, expressing creative determination during unprecedented times.


Exhibitions and Artists

Other resources;

Published by Melinda W

Working towards a Masters in Fine Art, lives in Kent.

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