The Haptic Traces series of performance & scale printed drawings was produced in 2020 during a year long artist residency at St Mary’s School in Calne which was furloughed for the first lockdown leaving me to work in social isolation from home. The drawings began as antithesis to anatomical drawing and in response to a newly discovered lens of dyspraxia, seeking to represent spheres of human action rather than the body itself. I explored use of motion tracking in photography & VR alongside cartographic recording methods to document four dimensions in two developing a system of drawing-in-the-round.
The two works selected were both produced in lockdown when concepts of place and space became ever more existential. Frederick Jameson refers to the social pathology of flattening & fragmenting as a response to the pPostmodern and Haptic Traces became a literal interpretation of this concept.
17 seconds: a measure of life is a 104 minute durational performance, one minute for each day of lockdown. Synchronously, in time lapse footage this equates to 17 seconds, the time for a life to pass. The drawing includes text and data recording the documentation of lockdown, daily deaths, steps walked in exercise outdoors and reflections on the disconnectedness and disorientation of social isolation. Exposed explores the vulnerability of isolation phenomenologically using perceptual feedback and mapping loci of operation. The work embodies the existential loss of context felt during the extended lockdown and the simultaneous creation and breakdown of barriers between self and other experienced between our virtual and physical beings.
Limited edition framed prints of Haptic Traces are available for sale at £495. Each print has an embedded QR code that links the scale map to the process video showing the making of each work.
New Kitchen Poem after J.H. Prynne In Hampstead and in Chelsea the world’s largest kitchens are emerging two storeys, each split level, electric grinders, knives polished steel for sizzling bacon ironwork heavier than Le Creuset far bigger than the neighbours’ and the pesky garden’s gone no longer bothering us with weeds and healing herbs where Co-Codamol will do the trick; we must continue to dig downwards, through the basement, open out the kitchen into the troubling abyss. David Punter
Worn out pipes No room for a plumber, hunched under the ever-drinking kitchen sink, huddled inside our elbow-jarring menagerie, hushed under the over-pressed telephone voice of dad on a conference call. Slunk back into that itchy egg shell of dad’s house, of sofas too comfy, duvets with too familiar a smell. No energy for the sinkful of cereal bowls today, they’d be used again tomorrow. Dragging through the fallout rain of played out cluedo games. Spitting with the static friction of nerves you thought you’d tamed. Picking out a path between the out-grown bags queued up for charity shops. Too many jumpers. Bite sleeves and punch the laptop display. Too hot. Breath-muted dips and v-sits, rubbing the carpet up the wrong way, ears wired up to the sleepless server-sphere of bouncing hypernet stars. How long had that tap been quietly necking stocks? Hiding there using. Wetting the underside of our socks. Maxed out extension leads. Computer fans compete to a crescendo. The plumber hit an old pipe. It burst a seam. A kettle-hiss and geyser-jet. Water hammered us, cotton to chest, with all the angry froth of carbonated hormones, bottled-up in stagnant bones, shot up, all the shook-up sugar of our sitting, waiting days. Bet Finch
Lockdown #3. Bronze, found steel, rope. 78 x 31 x 27 cm
Lockdown #3 was the third sculpture I made in the Spring of 2020 in direct response to the pandemic. It reflects a sense of being trapped in the home and the differing responses different people had to that situation. One of the figures seems to retain a sense of perspective, whilst the other one is lost and self-absorbed.
The structure is made from a section of lobster pot cage that had been in my studio for some time but that I could only visualise becoming a sculpture as the result of being trapped by the pandemic. What should be a refuge, the home, become a prison. The fact that the trap was originally designed for a wild animal, and the way this intersects with the fact that the pandemic originated in the way we mistreat wild animals, also seemed ironic. We are now encaged in the same way that we encage wild animals.
Screen-Window-Screen-Window-Screen-Window on and on and on and
1. A Momigami Workshop with SC Nine of us online Hands crumple, screw, fold, mash, pound, push, roll paper around Shared silence broken by crinklings, bumps, scratches, scooches and swootches Touching and tumbling in and with paper Which 20 minutes ago Was a hard, tough, rigid bag Is now soft, warm, flexible I think: The soft hide of a Norwegian deer My grandmother’s wrinkled face Shifting sand in a warm and shallow sea I smile without knowing My fingers softer and warmer SC you are genius loci Encouraging alchemy Turning screen space Into supple space Translating shape, texture, and form.
2. And all the people on email on Saturday morning
The place of work has contracted to this: a screen, a table, a chair. To my right: a window framing houses, trees, sky. This is a good view to have. My body senses the endlessly variable shifts in light, my eyes squint when late morning sun enters the room at an angle that is increasingly higher as winter meanders on. I refuse to close the curtains on that warming light (‘Here comes the sun!’) even though I can barely see my screen for an hour. I see birds doing their thing in trees which I cannot name, and yesterday the little black cat with white feet teetered down on the house roof over the way. As it stood on the edge of gutter looking down, its body taut with a jumping anticipation, I wanted to open my window to shout ‘don’t, it’s too high’ but it came to that conclusion itself and, after a few moments pondering, turned, walked back up the roof and disappeared over. Here-and-gone, its absence re-composed the stillness of what was still there. I watch the swift, slower or sluggish movements of clouds. I consider clouds’ thicknesses, hues and shapes and the many shades of grey, white, grey-white-blue-black-purple-orange-pink-lilac they assume. And the blue beyond.
To my left, I have positioned my bookcases, a wall of potency, comfort, escape, play, discovery, and curious re-findings. Space-time unfoldings are different now, as I sit, chair-bound – my body’s micro-movements divorced from the ‘world outside’ – and screen-bound, eyes to the front, fingers skipping over the keyboard, and back, neck, head and shoulders gathering and condensing pains through the many long hours of sitting. The body’s desire for rhythm and movement are difficult to square with such prolonged stasis. My body’s internal beat is hammered out of shape as work expands, proliferates, intensified and magnifies. I used to go ‘out’ to work. But the place of work is no longer ‘in’ work or ‘at’ work. Work is dis-placed to the here-now-in my home, seemingly all day and potentially everyday, and for all the people on email on Saturday morning (as I was last weekend for what I tell myself is the one and only time sitting in this chair looking at this screen) there is no ‘catching up’, there is no ‘getting on top of it’, there is always more to do. It is a only by sleight – a calculated slight-of-hand – that institutions are able to make us think that work’s proliferating place-less-ness has to be borne by our bodies in the privacy of our homes. And yet, this cruel optimism is deeply placed in the quiet anguish of our alienated hearts.
Images and text © Carol Taylor