The aim of my experiment was to collect materials from a certain place (Puckey’s Estate) and perpetuate meaning through these objects, pertaining to their origins. In this case, the negative stigma associated to the Nature Reserve, such as rape/murder/peadophelia/drugs, and more. By doing so, I also hoped to discover new and different materials which I wouldn’t usually work with, and transform them into a work via unconventional methods. The hope to learn more about Puckey’s itself was also an influence in this concept, due to my preconceived interest to the area (due to living within walking distance).
The method undertaken to achieve this aim goes as follows:
1. Do research in relation to the place. Ask the advice of others, plan my walk.
2. Collecting the materials. Walking through Puckey’s Estate, gathering items and litter throughout my tracks.
3. Layout my collection. Select a base.
4. Break apart, attach, string together, dangle, assemble items accordingly. Do not follow a plan, rather allow this process to occur organically.
The amount of articles exploring the history, context, and incidents surrounding the Estate was overwhelming. To give you a general overview, here is a screenshot of the google search, whereby keywords have been emphasised for you.
Influences in the conceptual investigation and process of my experiment include artists such as Janet Cardiff (creates audio based works aimed at making the audience feel uncomfortable, also focuses on the idea of place), Walter Mason (resembles the work of Goldsworthy, however doesn’t romanticise nature: his work in this medium “just happened”), and Michelle Stitzlein (finds beauty in disregarded objects, recycling them in order to create works). In some ways, the class workshops were also influential to the development of my concept, (Jo’s idea of materials carrying meaning, Hayden’s methods of recycling).
The final piece of research which was carried out, was an interview with Campus Residence. The outcome can be read below.
When gathering my materials, this is the track that I followed, showing the complete circuit from home, through Puckey’s, and back home. I left at around 3:30 – 4:00 and returned approximately an hour later.
I was shocked with the materials I found throughout my venture. The objects included: Sticks, leaves, vines, grass, rocks, glass, high-vis plastic, water bottle, plank of wood, nails, rag, bread, pinecones, plastic bags, styrofoam, brick, used tissue, receipt, parking ticket, cigarette packet. (External material – brown thread: utilised to piece together the structure/sculpture) The ways in which I organised these materials together was in a free form, occuring naturally to perpetuate the unpredictability, and wildness of Puckey’s itself.
So, did I achieve my aim by the end of this experiment? Well, it was successful in relation to discovering new materials and utilising them in odd ways (For example, I am in no way a sculpture or installation artist – and did not expect to find an old jam sandwich or dirty rags). My intention to learn more about Puckey’s Estate was achieved, due to the mass amounts of information found, as well as sourcing stories and interviews from fellow residents. However, as far as linking material and meaning – I believe it was semi-effective. Due to taking them away from their habitat, the materials somewhat lost meaning without the audience realising the object’s origins. Perhaps creating a word form the materials, or graffitiing information onto the wood could have resolved this. Expanding on the portrayal of perception toward’s Puckey’s, meaning could have taken several different avenues in order to achieve this purpose. Given that I had more time, looking further into the artist Janet Cardiff and her methods could have been another interesting approach. Puckey’s is a dangerous spot, no doubt. The materials found there were just as interesting as the place itself. Finding ways to use these objects was difficult, and somewhat disturbing. The small metaphors (cigarette packet with grass in it, water bottle screwed and weaved onto a bent stick, bread dangling from thread like bait, etc) allowed me to explore new methods in the materials, and to convey meaning. So, although I do not believe the result was entirely successful… some aspects were, and I discovered things either way!
Thank you for reading!