Lights, Prisms & Rainbows
This series explores my relationship with my local public library, 'Central Library', in Peterborough, UK.
For this work I have combined 2 sources; the first a folder bursting with Photocopies, (Xerox's). Photocopies of a variety of images and content from books, for reference or use in collage, collected from 1997 onwards. These photocopies were made at Peterborough Central Library from their once abundant reference section upstairs, a magnificent resource on art, myth, physics, history, biology and much more. I would spend hours scanning and scouring the books, researching and developing my ideas there. Unfortunately this space has now gone, and the library stripped to token offering of the treasure box it used to be.
The second was a digital folder with a set of colour forms I use for VJ’ing1. These are used with kaleidoscopic effects. Images are overlaid, triggered live to music and have been used live hundreds of times in different combinations, nearly all of which went unrecorded. These colour acetates taken from images I used when VJ'ing, digitally overlaying photographs to live music, a live collage done on the fly. This library is now facing massive reductions in service, and with many of the music venues in town now closed this work was made as a response to these changes.
The photocopier is a camera. The photocopy is both a copy and an image in its own right. Both have been part of my work from the beginning. It records the book edges, splayed pages and the middle seams. The space2 around the glass plate, black lines, and disconnected paragraphs are elements particular to a toner photocopy, sitting off-key to the A4 frame.
This series recalls the process of VJ’ingalongside ideas of experiencing image, language and memory within our own psyche. Pages used directly from books show the confluence of picture and language, and the continuous struggle of building a coherent syntax for these. It also recalls the role of ‘the library’ in both my personal context and the evolution of culture, and in this way the work is partly an ode or a love-letter to libraries at a time when existence is under duress.
The work references artists and writers such as Man Ray, Moholy-Nagy, Duchamp, amongst others.
Revisiting the contents of these forgotten caches I restructured them aiming to achieve a visually pleasing yet unreal quality whilst leaving self-reflexive and jarring elements that let the viewer know or discover that it is a photograph. Paper and acetates layered onto a light box and photographed. You can see edges, the real and the unreal, the fantastic and the mundane held in balance.
The visible edges and the “A Size” paper ratio of the final prints refer to the source material.
1 VJ’ing is essentially DJ’ing with images.2 In his 2001 book The Art of Looking Sideways, Alan Fletcher discusses the importance of exemplifying "space" as a substance: “Space is substance. Cézanne painted and modelled space. Giacometti sculpted by "taking the fat off space". Mallarmé conceived poems with absences as well as words. Ralph Richardson asserted that acting lay in pauses... Isaac Stern described music as "that little bit between each note - silences which give the form
"... The Japanese have a word (ma) for this interval which gives shape to the whole. In the West we have neither word nor term. A serious omission."