Saturday, January 31, 2015


Salvaged lead is my latest great discovery to get excited about. Bought in sheets by the weight (indescribably heavy, I struggled to get a small roll of it to the car). Worth it though. I can see myself using this for a while to come. The magic is in it's pliability. For despite it's weight/strength it's actually really soft and can be cut with general use scissors.

This duality is fascinating to me - heaviness as a strength and a weakness - as though at a certain point it might not support it's own weight. I intend to use it in form as the 'Marquee' /circus element for Medicine Chest III as well as the first aid cross (see top image) signalling the decline of liberal individualist democracy, a social order giving way to it's own weight as the illusions and fantasies (regarding the self determining individual) which underwrite it make themselves known for what they are.

Cue: anarchy.

Importantly it also has the rusted and raw industrial patina of urban decay symbolic of anarchy.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Medicine Chest III

The starting point for this third box in the "Medicine Chest" series (plus 5th and maybe final box in the 'Escape Artist' body of work) was pretty much the title 'Subversion' and the intention for box 3 to subvert the ideas in the proceeding work 'Specimen' while also realising the anarchic ideas hinted at in 'Spectacle'.  While Medicine Chest II: Specimen is about the authority science and medicine have asserted over disability and illness from the early 20th century onwards and embodies the "Medical Model" of disability (where the challenges faced by the disabled and ill are seen purely from a point of pathology, often resulting in public invalidation) Medicine Chest III: Subversion not only embodies it's counter model (the 'social model' of disability where the challenges faced by the ill and disabled are seen to arise from a culture that fails to accommodate their needs) but illustrates the subversive threat and potential for transcendence residing in individuals whom liberal individualist democracy have necessarily marginalised, invalidated and excluded from public life based on their disability.

The disabled and sick body in it's inability to look or behave like the 'normal body' mocks the most basic tenets of liberal individualist democracy - that the individual be self determining and autonomous. In this way bodily instability is the physical manifestation of political anarchy.

This fantasy  -  of the autonomous individual in control of their physical self - that underwrites our political and economic system and which stands in complicit denial of the truth regarding our corporeal vulnerability, makes for fragile foundations. Medicine Chest III: Subversion then imagines the point at which these foundations collapse, where anarchic organic corporeality escapes from the margins of invalidation to assert a transcendent power that realises it's capacity to both threaten and inspire.

Note: It was this capacity for the 'extraordinary' body to both threaten and inspire it's audience that made the freak show so popular from mid 1800s to the early 1900s.