The Treehouse + The Cave

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Wednesday, February 16, 2005


After I finished my brass animals, I gave them to Heather (she had been hovering and hinting that she wanted them for her studio shelves). I explained that I was of course happy for her to have them, not because she's welcome to anything of mine (which she is), but because they came from the same metal as her lights, and thus would absorb more energy if they were within close range of their golden sisters. She called me a hippy, and asked me to explain.

I countered by asking her to look at one of the smaller animals and at the mass-produced ceramic duck that sat next to it. "Which one has more energy and why?" I asked. She quickly chose the brass animal, but hesitantly said "because it's handmade?" She was right, but it's more than that.

I think of objects as batteries, capable of absorbing, storing and releasing energy. My animals for example, even when still strips of unbent scrap brass, contained two energies. The first of which is the energy inherent in the material itself. Brass, by nature of it's purity (it is composed only of the elements Copper and Zinc) has considerably more initial energy than many other materials, mass-produced plastic for example. The second energy the brass scraps stored was the artistic energy that Tord Boontje supplied as he directed the manufacture of his Garland Lights, from which the scraps came.

Before I even picked up that scrap, it was already storing a significant amount of energy. In fact, I'd argue that's precisely the reason I was attracted to the material in the first place (I sense auras better than the average person;I can sense them radiating, the way heat looks on infrared film).

I then supplied artistic energy of my own, bending and manipulating the material into forms, adding further to their capacity. And like a magnet attracting other magnets, the more energy an object is imbued with, the more it is able to attract. A charged object in a space full of other charged objects, will invariably absorb some of the proximate energies, thus all the objects grow stronger.

My animals are behaving in precisely this way. They sit on her shelf, next to the ducks and paper houses, in dialog with all the other objects in the room. And because of the material they share, the animals talk to the lamps often, exchanging their energies and forging a common history. In several years time, should my animals survive in their present location, they will have absorbed not only the spirit of their neighboring objects, but also energy from the space itself. Heather writes in her studio. And with each sentence composed, and each sentence discarded, the room fills with artistic energy, much of which will be stored in our little batteries, for her use each time she looks upon them for inspiration.

On art objects in particular:

Some objects, are capable of absorbing small amounts of energy and in response, release much greater quantities, effectively magnifying such energy. Art objects fall into this category. If properly crafted and carefully charged by their creator, good pieces, be they paintings, sculptures, songs or ideas, have the ability to respond to the small inquisitive energies of the public by releasing a wave of complex creative energy within the viewers themselves. The public must give to art, however if they do, they will be given exponentially more in return.

It is this ability to magnify creative energy through the production of art objects and their interaction with the public that keeps me making work.

Related: The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction by Walter Benjamin

Blogger pam coulter enright thought:

You hit the nail on the head. I've often thought about the energy of things (and maybe it was the energy of the old Utah lock that attracted me) but never attempted to put it in words. I love reading your blog BTW. I feel like I'm staying in touch without staying in touch (quite a feat).

February 16, 2005 at 2:13 PM - Comment Permalink  
Blogger Mick thought:

potential vis-a-vis kinetic energy?

February 18, 2005 at 9:51 PM - Comment Permalink  

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