Studio #5

Japanese paper buried between two layers of stones.
Top layer of stones washed away by floods. Paper exposed.
“Exhibit A”
Close-up showing sand drawings

Disaster: what does it mean anyway?
I’ve recently started working on a piece I dropped earlier in the Fall… namely, because it was a disaster. A whole chunk had been ripped out of the japanese paper, probably caused by a torrential downpour and run-off from the sandy cliffs at Scarborough Bluffs. The mound of stones which covered the paper had been interfered with so the paper was exposed. In my mind, the experiment was a complete disaster, but for some reason I found myself rescuing this sheet of paper, peeling back the fragments little by little. I bundled it up carefully and then dried it out at home. I wanted to study the numerous marks and tears inflicted to this sheet of paper, and even though there was a great big hole in it, I hung it up on the wall like some sort of “Exhibit A”.
Can “Exhibit A” as an object speak to the loss of its own materiality?
Okay, so we’re missing a great big chunk in the sheet and it looks pretty much like a disaster. And why is it still hanging on my wall as a reminder of how incomplete it is? My gut says this hole can be filled; a substitute can be found; a prosthetic skin can be woven in to it. And I go about finding a design solution to patch up the hole. In my critique, I’m asked: can we not just as well speak about an object’s materiality through its partial breakdown or erasure? Why seek a solution when there’s no problem? Why not go about completing a series of these seemingly faulty objects, to see what questions arise?

It occurs to me that committing to making a series (of anything) might somehow satisfy my tendency towards conflicting art and design criteria: acting/working with materials in an open-ended way but at the same time, closing-off the personal process with programmatic design solutions. Making a series introduces the possibility to:

  • set-up a fabrication process or a post-factory methodology;
  • build the “bigger picture” (A term picked up in my critique);
  • lets the viewer into the purposefulness of the activity