For the second exhibition in the 2014 Graduate School Gallery program, PhD candidate Richard Kean has turned the gallery into a walkable labyrinth as part of his research into architecture’s effect on the body and the self as a psychic/physical whole.
My thesis is titled The Resonant Room, and looks at aural string installation. I’m researching the various contingencies of this medium, which is often concerned with architectural (and so by default) political imperatives in relation to context. I’m also interested in the participatory nature of aural strings. We live in a participatory community after all, so I’m looking at these greater themes on a micro level..
This installation starts with the labyrinth. I’ve presented the archetype of the labyrinth as a spiral, which is the most basic form that could be deemed a labyrinth, although I think the insinuations are endless. But in this show I’m basically building the experiential aspect of the spiral. The walls of the spiral mimic gallery walls in their look and feel, but they are curved and rotational and anthropomorphic compared to the typical architecture of the gallery. Also they have an aural potential in that they are amplified with contact microphones. When a visitor taps the wall the sound floods the space in one way or another rather than being localised to that area specifically, and the pitch changes as you move into the heart of the spiral. The work says something about the spiraling nature of sound and the quiet politics of expression. The most important aspect is the spiral though, and it is to be experienced. It can be profound to walk a spiral, I have found, when you’ve done nothing but walk the grid your whole life whenever in the built environment.
Sojourn floor plan
The physical process and installation has been a challenge. It can hardly be prototyped. It has to be built in the gallery. You need help. This equals long hours each day building, sorting problems, and making adjustments during an ever diminishing timeframe. The only reason I was able to do something like this is because I had adequate install time, help, and a workshop in close proximity.
But the dimensions of the gallery suit the project and its always nice to work with a curator (for better or worse). This time I think we were on the same page - the work hasn’t needed to change conceptually, just in its material construction and process of construction. The construction methods have changed several times even though the form of the thing hasn’t!
'Sojourn' opens in the Graduate School Gallery at 6pm Wednesday 16 April
The show runs from March 14 - April 4, Monday - Friday, 11am - 5pm.