Business as Usual? Post Apocalyptic Sculptures

Like scavengers extracting sustenance out of the discarded remains of capitalism, we sift through the flotsam and jetsam washed up by the winter storms. Much of it has been in the water for a long time. It has been reconfigured, eaten away, oxidised, twisted, battered and crushed on its elemental journey. It is edifying, this breaking down of the capitalist veneer by nature and time. Taken out of context, these items return to a raw, primitive state, they reveal their inner workings: a broken motherboard, the wire in a plastic covered cable, loops of cassette tape. They express something important about the current (human) narrative, and hint at new narratives waiting to be heard.

The compositions begin to develop a post-apocalyptic feel, especially after we find the mask. We gather mostly random items, but sometimes a collection, like the boots. When placed together, there is an immediate sense of poignancy with resonances (in my mind) to miners, the Auschwitz Museum, the famine in Ireland. In this sense, the sculptures become monuments to the resilience of our ancestors, but they also feel like totems to truth in a (human) world struggling to find meaning.

By presenting them in a collective form, the objects are assigned a new symbolic status; they become almost archetypal, linking us to those who have yet to encounter them when we have left. These phantom spectators will add their own layer of interpretation; perhaps they will change them into new configurations. – I hope so. Take them apart, write stories about them, dance around them, celebrate, grieve, worship and reconnect to the child’s sense of possibility and spaciousness of mind. For these works are interactive, they have been gifted back to us by the river so that we may see them – and ourselves – with new perspective.

The film Crumbs shown as part of Leo Robinson’s exhibition The Infinity Card in Chapter Arts Centre entails an epic surreal journey across an Ethiopian post apocalyptic landscape. The ‘crumbs’ of the title are objects such as a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles pendant; a poster of Michael Jordan, now refashioned as a shrine; a vinyl copy of Dangerous by Michael Jackson and a plastic toy gun attributed to Carrefour, (Walmart) believed to be one of history’s last great artists. The objects are imbued with sacred and auspicious significance as if they are ancient tribal artefacts, not tacky plastic. Crumbs director Miguel Llansó says the film is a reflection on where we’re going in the globalised world, of objects losing their meaning, the dislocation felt by people in an incomprehensible world, and the differing relations between people and icons.

Found ‘icons’ washed up on the banks of the River Taff:

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