All the things

A long but enjoyable day yesterday at three exhibitions, which left me with lots of new things to think about.

At One and All, the work by Martyn Ware, which is ostensibly about memories of the seaside, seemed to me to have lots to say about industrial architecture: we no longer know what the buildings and fittings were or were used for. We’ve lost that knowledge. They have become places of mystery but also loss. And of course the places, buildings, machines we are making and using now will become so in their turn. Even our Portakabin studio. I’m increasingly thinking that I’m making a record of something as it disappears.

Looking at the film accompanying the Owen Sheers poems, I started to question myself: his work holds you by offering interlocking ways of seeing or experiencing the Cornish coast. How does my work hold the viewer? does it hold the viewer at all? do I know anywhere this well? how can I know my places this well? I’m working in an art college, in a Portakabin. There are no flowers to name or bird cries to record. Although I even wondered whether I should consider a soundtrack. Perhaps just for myself? Or is that too much?

On to the Ai Wei Wei show at the Royal Academy. In Room 1 is  Bed: a wooden mattress unrolled on the floor with a section is based on the coastline of China. I wonder how you create a baseline for this, ie how you stop it just becoming a straight line. And then: can I roll out my lines, eg from Becoming a Line or from the Bargehouse floors? I don’t think so because I don’t have a baseline but I could use them like contour lines to create a topography – hills rising up or possibly the sea bed descending. I don’t know how I would do that.