Untitled (Titanic)

This proposal was for a work to be sited on a beach in Dubai. "The artwork I would like to propose is a direct response to the site - Dubai, with ongoing construction works utilising up to 25% of the world's cranes, and more specifically, a beach. I like to use materials, forms or processes that seem to be fundamental to a site, and here the most prominent things in my mind were construction and sand. The only logical conclusion seemed to be building sandcastles.

I imagine a work that takes the form of something between a performance and an installation on a vast scale. Something which seems entirely in keeping with the everyday workings of Dubai, but which attempts to bring a new poetry to very simple things.

A large area on the beach will be fenced to create a secure compound where it will initially appear that building works are about to proceed. This area will contain a team of labourers with diggers and so on, overshadowed by a crane (ideally a tower crane) that will 'lead' the proceedings. As building work starts it should become clear that this is not what it seems. A crane will hoist a huge mould high up into the air before depositing it at a particular point within the compound. This will mould will be the same shape as a children's sandcastle bucket, square with four turrets, but at least 3-4metres tall. Work will then commence, filling the mould with wet sand, compacting it and so on. After some time another mould will start being filled at a different point on the site. This will naturally be a very slow process, but still potentially engaging due to anticipation of the 'finale' - the mould will once more be hooked to the crane, and slowly hoisted up to reveal the imposing but incredibly fragile structure of an enormous castle made of sand.

Work will not stop there. Once the mould has been raised, attention will turn from the newly created castle to another empty space where the mould will be deposited and the whole process will begin once more. Before this mould is refilled, the second one will be finished, and so there will be an ongoing, potentially never-ending stream of work to be done. Ideally this work will be pre-planned enabling me to create a process that is timed and choreographed carefully, so that it all appears to function as a kind of performance on a grand scale.

Another more fascinating process will also be simultaneously occurring.

The sun will be baking the castles and the sand will be drying out, causing these structures to change unpredictably, parts disappearing slowly in the breeze, other parts crashing to the ground suddenly. The labourers on-site will ignore this activity, except to collect the debris and use it to create the new castles they are working on. When each castle reaches a point of 'disrepair', all that remains will also be scooped up by diggers and reused.

I see this as an ongoing process/performance that would ideally continue for some days. In the evenings the site would be illuminated dramatically by standard floodlights as are used on building sites. This would create a very atmospheric and potentially quite stunning effect. The progress and deterioration could be viewed from a vantage point throughout the days and evenings.

For me this work would have a poetic futility, and I find beauty in such poetry. Much of my work is focussed on the inherent qualities of materials, experimenting with these, making them vast or impressive in some way, and watching them being reduced to very little very quickly by the forces of nature. There is poignancy in viewing these universal processes as they will eventually have an impact on everything and everyone, and so I often find there is a meditative aspect within my work. What is less predictable is finding parallels with mortality and the human condition on a building site.

As with my work, 'A New Moon', I hope to create something that can be many things to different people. It may be seen as beautiful, ridiculous, interesting in terms of logistics, comical, poignant; any or all of these things."

Text and image taken from the artist's proposal.

(c) Claire Morgan, 2006

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Run Down

A temporary public installation proposed for Temporary Address, a series of commissions curated by Rednile Projects for Blyth Town Centre, Northumberland.

It was not possible to realise this work because the necessary permissions were not granted.

Large blocks of ice, around half a Ton in weight, would be photographed in front of the former site of the power station in Blyth in sharp perspective.

In the photo these would be positioned where chimneys would have previously dominated the skyline. The image produced would be sited on a billboard. Streams of real water would be continuously flowing over the edges of the maintenance platform surrounding the board, and dripping onto the roof of the building below. This would create the illusion of the ice on the poster melting, alluding to change in the area, the recent demolition of the power station, and the traces of such events that linger on.

Image taken from the artist's proposal.

(c) Claire Morgan, 2006

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A Grand Gesture

A proposal commissioned by InSite Arts for the main atrium space of a new hospital as part of a two phase design competition.

Hand-blown glass spheres would be fixed to steel cables running across the space overhead, creating the 'shell' of a vast love heart.

"In my most recent work I have found that the most powerful, accessible, and inspiring artworks are often those that are simplest in form and concept. With this in mind, I decided my aim should be to create something iconic and universally recognisable. I almost immediately felt that the form that would fit my intentions was that of the love heart and so I set about identifying materials and processes that would match or compliment the connotations of this symbol. The heart sign appears as a symbol in all the major cultural spheres. It holds a positive and often religious meaning among Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, Celts, and Taoists. Visually it is a representation of the life sustaining organ that pumps around the blood of every organism every second of its lifetime. More importantly, as a symbol its immediate meaning can be spiritual, emotional or personal, most commonly representing union or togetherness in our culture."

"In a hospital environment it is true to say that art is probably the last thing on people's minds. For this reason I felt it was important that I made something that had some warmth about it, something that conveyed human feeling. My plan is to make a huge, three-dimensional heart sign from thousands of individual 'bubbles' of glass (around 50-70mm diameter) suspended between steel cables running from one wall to another. This heart will appear to be resting on its side, in order that the form seems more like an abstracted shape. Likening it to a living thing, I envisage it being a heart in a submissive pose.

I am fascinated by the fact that hand-blown glass is formed directly by human breath. I find this to be a poetic and potentially very moving way of quite literally 'breathing life' into the artwork. For this reason I feel it might be too easy to delegate the fabrication of the glass, and so I would like to hand-blow each of the pieces of glass by myself, one by one.

Creating sculpture that is suspended, apparently floating in mid-air is something I continually return to. In this instance I think the effect would be to suggest an emotion or thought that has been felt or imagined, and at the same time something that is inherent to the fabric of the building.

In order for the piece to have the desired impact it is essential that the immediate connotations of this work are not bodily. The form is a heart, but I plan to represent this in a way that immediately evokes the symbolic meaning of the 'love heart'. My aim is to create something that is emotive and uplifting at the same time. The love heart does tend to suggest something that is light hearted or joyful, and because of the way I will create it, it will hopefully be something very beautiful too. Through the heart I hope to communicate with everyone equally due to the universality of the form, and since the work is entirely shaped by my own breath, it should instill a strong sense of sincerity too.

Ultimately this work will be something that is immediate, that you can form a connection with, and that might make you smile a little bit when you least expect to smile."

Text and images taken from the artist's proposal.

(c) Claire Morgan, 2006