Second Scape

An additional challenge for the Broomhill Prize is the long-term, outdoor specification, which opens up a new range of variables for my work, and increases the demands on different materials to pull their weight.

My choice of timber has to change for example, once factors like wind, infection and moisture are introduced. Taking strength out of the equation, it directs the value of timber toward how it visually represents itself, and how different surfaces might react to long-term exposure (over time, the colour palette of my final choice – Iroko – will shift from a range of bright yellows to a muted grey).

Impacts from this small change then ricochet around different aspects of the final piece. Some are by necessity; additional weight means extra thought has to be placed onto the materials joining different parts of the sculpture and its eventual concrete base. Others are aesthetic, or whimsical nudges: the japanned finish on screws and nuts completing the install are specified to share moisture resistance with the glossy black outlines of different panes, while a matte grey finish on floor-facing planes ‘renders’ the eventual UV exposure facing the rest of the sculpture.

While much of my work is deliberately ring-fenced on a computer program, sketching out and defining the material landscape of where my sculpture ‘lands’ from the digital realm is a significant part of my process, shifting the range of conceptual variables I have to play with, and locating the doors I can open or close.

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At First Site

A two-dimensional kilter features in a lot of my sculptures. It’s an unusual shape, and one that can only be properly read and understood by deconstructing it in real space. It has something of an immunity to being read by the software that designs and renders it. If you were to codify a 12-bit binary transaction into the parts making up this shape, a computer wouldn’t be able to tell you how much it was worth. It’d just be an empty structure.

In real life, the shape has the illusion of something much more kinetic, which appears to become wider and more unstable as you move around. Painted sections and various configurations can amplify or dampen that aspect, annotating moments of ascent or collapse. Each block’s identical, and static, and stands up perfectly well, but if you were seeing it in person I wouldn’t want you to believe it. If you were a computer, you wouldn’t be able to.