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I made an audio recording of two actors performing a reading of the script that I had written titled fulcrum, acting it out question followed by answer. I was working at the time from paris so I hired a translator to change the interview from english to french. translating the work resulted in detaching the unconscious elements of style that I inadvertently transferred into the characters speeches, the flow of words was more fluid after undergoing the linguistic shifts and continual edits that were required to make the ideas cogent in two languages. we made the new recording in french and translated the dialogue back to english for accompanying subtitles.

I photographed and filmed this island. I re-photographed it when the island images were projected onto a wall. I printed it, enlarged it, manipulated it, re-projected it, moved it and stretched it. I drew it again, and then again. I then sculpted the shape of the island and filmed myself regarding it. And then I filmed myself holding up a paper print of the image of the island against a wall. I zoomed out of the image and saw the recording of my hands holding it to the wall with blue masking tape. I zoomed into the image and saw only image. just image. in from out... inside the world of the image. Then I removed the paper image and filmed the wall and it was just wall. I was interested in this island not as a physical place, but as an island of the psyche. The island is a logic structure where interwoven narratives are contained, a place where all of the protagonists reside, a space to contain all of the images. Old narratives and new, merged onto the island.

a chart logging the logic structure to the images (syncronised videos projected over two screens)

printed matter; the above print documents a selection screen shots from fulcrum part one. all of the screenshots were then compiled into this 102 page book, a book that sat under a speaker as a shelf in the final installation

ahere are a series of prints from the line drawings that were made for the opening of the film of fulcrum part one. they are prints of drawings of various imagined fulcrums rendered onto scanned paper, re-photographed, manipulated and re-scanned from several prints. the process of documenting, manipulating, re-documenting and manipulating again leads to a confusing fiction of what is material and what is digital in presentation. I made a series of large prints from these, these are two from this series.

an installation photograph documenting the first version of the film work fulcrum part one, a single channel video projection with sound, at the chapelle des petit augustins in paris, france, 2012

fulcrum is the title of a fictional interview and associated project. the project began with an idea to bring the artist interview into my work as a primary material. over the course of 2010, I wrote an interview between a fictional artist and a fictional critic and I titled it fulcrum. for the famous, important, sardonic and slightly sycophantic interviewer/critic I based the character on curator hans ulrich obrist merged with the personality of retired irish television broadcaster gay byrne. for the evasive, rehearsed and mostly dismissive artist, I based the character on every artist I have stolen ideas from, including myself-in-retrospect.

when the word fulcrum is written, it defines itself visually. it's c is held in balance by the ful and the rum either side of it. This does not mean that the written word fulcrum is symmetrical. here, fulcrum is typed in nine different ff-fonts. I chose ff-fonts because they seem particularly balanced typefaces. however, the various leadings and shapes of the letters, pushes the balance point to various sides of the scale. when seen together they kind of illustrate visually what the word itself is defining.

an island for all the images

film work - fulcrum part one [of two parts]

french/english

english/french

fulcrum

fulcrum - the interview

the  film - fulcrum part two [of two parts]

c'est une ronce en fait

part one of fulcrum is the interview section where the artist discusses his work with the critic. the artist is at a point of wide recognition of his practice at the turning of 21st century. he is an installation-based artist whose work plays on fabricating the context of his own career . he begins by detailing how he built up a faked past catalogue of artwork from a large studio with assistants over a period of a year. he did this to manufacture a new context for how people viewed his work. the artist fabricates images of, and essays for, artworks that never existed. this fabrication activity, he admits, in retrospect, to have become an artwork in and of itself. he then describes the content of his newest work to the critic. In this work [a work that the artist has also titled fulcrum] he presents a film that documents the burning of a bush. he notes that this bush was actually a magnolia tree that he had grown and allowed to be smothered by a bramble bush in his studio over the course of two years. he details how in the film, the mechanisms of the process of staging and filming the burning of the bush are purposely revealed by the camera’s gaze, allowing for more elaborate juxtapositions of fiction and reality in documentary and to promote ideas that contradicted religious myth. the artist answers the critic’s queries about his decisions evasively. the critic attempts, and mostly fails, to get the artist to divulge how and why he orientated meaning in the work.

the second part to fulcrum is the remake of the work of this fictional artist from the fictional interview, a two channel video documenting the burning of a bush. I grew a version of the artists work; a magnolia tree, which we allowed to be engorged, smothered and eventually suffocated by a bramble bush, a plant sculpture that we grew for two years in a garden in ireland. we then staged the burning this sculpture as the artist described

fulcrum is a two channel, two part video projection;

stills

sound

we filmed this remake in a disused quarry in co meath on the RED scarlet camera, which gave much more scope for detail at 4k. black powder monkeys, irish based pryrotechnicians, provided the pyrotechnics. we laced the soil around the magnolia/bramble tree with various slow burning flares and strobes and set up a chemical fuse path from the pyramidal structure that we carved that features at the start of the film to ignite the sculpture

I collaborated with irish composer paul g smyth. I had caught paul's exceptional performance, a fully improvised solo piano work at the goethe institute in dublin some years back. paul's work on fulcrum, his response to the brief and to the rough cut really shaped this work. we can hear his work at www.paulgsmyth.com

a two part film, in a two channel projection, projected over two rear projection screens

a series of interrelated objects

speaker twin, marble and plaster on 1.5" wood pedestal, 12 x 9", 2012

the rietveld steltman chair

one of the important images within the run of fulcrum part one is a printed image of the rietveld steltman chair. it occurred to me that it would be more comfortable to watch the film from a seated position. In addition to a bench that I was making for the front of the screens, it seemed like the logical next step would be to remake the steltman chair and place it for viewing behind the rear projection screens. reitveld, the designer, released his design for the steltman chair in 1937 intending for it to be remade by anyone, spreading the design freely to maximise its presence in peoples homes. the estate posthumously copyrighted the design. I made this version from one solid plank of white oak. it is extremely heavy. it was an absolute pleasure to labour over this chair, and when it was part of the installation, for one small and kind moment, a mere three seconds within the twenty minute duration of the two parts of the film fulcrum, the real object in the space syncs with the impression projected onto the screen.

after making the steltman chair, and the fulcrum [subtitles/interview text] reading lightbox, I was left with the problem of speakers in the space. the contrast between mass produced and handmade seemed to clash materially. the solution was to add a sculpture, and to make it a scaled twin to one of the speakers. I carved down and polished a raw block of marble to the volume of the speaker. I then mixed plasticine onto the uneven side to make up the missing section to the volume. one side is hard, classical art material, the other is modern, machine made material that we shaped as children. the plasticine eventually dirtied and began to resemble the surface of marble. the surface is soft and can be manipulated or ruined by the visitor should they choose to.

in order to present the interview text so that it could be read from start to finish in a darkened room while the video work is playing on a loop, i designed and made this hinged, very flat, led lightbox. the viewer can manually close the light towards the wall, or open it to read the illuminated text. the text is a work is a rephotographed print and drawing onto a scan from a blank page of the original hortus botanicus (1610). I used the bibliothèque nationale in paris as my studio while working in paris, a public studio practice, and gradually accumulated a collection of choice material, palimpsest scans of ancient paper from empty pages of various ancient books that I took the time to feel.

fulcrum (subtitles/interview text) reading lightbox, lambdaprint, white oak, glass, led , cord, 22 x 16", 2012

MFA EXHIBITION 12.12.12

EXHIBITION 12.12.12