7 - component configurations and (re)configurations
The ongoing series of installations ‘Component configurations’ marks a significant development in the practice arising out of PhD research entitled ‘Pragmatics of attachment and detachment: the productive indeterminacy of textile’ . Taking the formal and semantic conventions of textile as a point of departure, the research considers the affective agency that arises out of the inherent mutability and cultural indeterminacy of the medium.
It speculates on this agency from three perspectives: the negotiation of the diverse material and visual culture contexts from which textile derives its contradictory meanings; the tensions between the subjective and objective dimensions of the work and the experiences that it induces in the viewer; and the constitution of my own subjectivity as it is materialised and mobilised in relation to the textile and fine art communities between which my work has historically been positioned.
The outcome of the research is a developing body of studio enquiry that aims to move beyond a rhetoric of negative opposition; destabilising binary conceptual constraints in favour of more affirmative, non-hierachical, heterogeneous model of processual materiality. This arguably provides a significant methodological shift whereby the cultural ambivalence of textile is reinterpreted as a productive indeterminacy that embraces ambiguity, complexity, and contradiction.
The self-conscious formal staging of the individual components (see ‘Catalogue of components’) draws on modernist protocols of distance and the aesthetic artifice of formal autonomy together with the aesthetic staging of everyday mass material objects within interior styling and retail display. Offering a succession of fragmented tableaux, the ambition is to maintain a productive tension between processes of attachment and detachment. On the one hand, there is an attempt to entice the viewer and evoke a heightened sensory awareness through the affective material sensuality and associative resonances of the work. Yet at the same time that the work facilitates a process of connectivity, the intention is to unsettle seeming stability through staged artifice, sanitised formality and semantic ambiguity which distance the viewer and resist subjective cohesion.
- Bristow, M (2012) Staging (and restaging) the specific unspecificity of textile.…and other things, University of the Arts London RNUAL Block 2 Research Student Spring Symposium presentation 17th February 2012