Visual & Multimedia

‘Woodworm’. Rubbing with pencil on printer paper. Bedroom floorboards.

For this piece I used the materials I had to hand. This was largely because of ease, but I also found the strength of the paper and pencil allowed me to be vigorous, rhythmic and apply different degrees of pressure in different places. Listening to music in the background meant I rubbed faster and slower in certain places, crept across the page at different speeds, and so these images also bear the marks of that music.

My partner noticed these death-watch beetle tracks in the floorboards in my bedroom. A few days later I got down on my hands and knees and made some rubbings. The resulting images reminded me of crop patterns or geophysical surveys. I was taken back to watching Time Team as a child, eating sardines on toast and scotch pancakes. These memories and perspectives emerged from my physical engagement with the materials which constitute my predominant environment. I felt that I was looking at the imprints of an extinct civilisation, rather than routes left by the larvae of a beetle. As I rubbed some parts, the paper crinkled and rose, adding further contours. I was better able to imagine the life of the wood; the knots, swirls and lines corresponding to processes of growth, stress and aging. It struck me, whilst I was kneeling on the floor, the lead of the pencil splintering off, that I was behaving abnormally. I once participated in a physical theatre workshop in which the instructor told me that if I felt silly, I was probably doing the right thing. Strangely, this behaviour, focusing on a segment of the floorboard, zooming in and seeing the photographic impressions forming in front of me, allowed me to step away. I viewed things, momentarily, from different perspectives.