Through experimentation with the affects of pressure on metals I began to observe the process of collapse in the form. Initially the pipe, sat between the two steel plates of the press, resists the pressure as the hydraulic fluid is pumped through the ram. The pressure mounts in the ram and I feel the resistance through the handle until it hits a critical point and the first fold appears. This is the moment of crises as the opposing forces reach a breaking point and the pipe section is the first to give way. The metal starts to fold, pleat, crack and rupture. The particle structure densifies as the material becomes work hardened it's initial inclination to fold is lost as the material becomes less and less pliable, harder and more resilient to pressure. In this process the metals also become fragile, brittle and prone to rupture. The forms begin to crack and split as the pressure becomes uncontainable.
This work explores the interaction of force (process) and materials and attempts to draw attention to the relationships within socio-political systems, particularly at times of crises. As an exploration of the materiality within power dynamics it was important that the starting point of the compressed metal had a formal significance. This came in the form of pipes.
Oh Holy Pipe! The great vessel of utility, the pipe seemed to be the appropriate form to start with as a symbol of infrastructure. Pipes are ubiquitous, they run for miles and miles across cities from house to house delivering essential resources creating access to water, electricity [through conduits], gas and oil. These same forms also run between countries and form a crucial part of the complex political relations which can govern international law. This material value, and dependence creates political power, Russia, a P5 member of the UN is the largest supplier of gas and oil to the EU and subsequently any action taken against Russia (i.e with regards to their involvement in the Syrian war) will have to be done in consideration of this energy dependency (Anon, 2018). In my compression studies I am forcing these pipes to buckle burst fold and rupture. This is a simulation of the breakdown of infrastructure; violent applications of pressure in war destroy the systems put in place to improve people’s livelihoods. This oppression is top down coming from both foreign and domestic powers. The UN’s peace-keeping mission involves the building and rebuilding of pipes; the idea of this is to create strong infrastructural systems to help boost economies as a preventative measure to crisis or to rebuild cities that have fallen into disarray during times of crises, unfortunately it is often the preventative measures that are neglected and the action comes in the form of military intervention (Pingeot, L., and Obenland, W. 2014).
This [ongoing] work is a way for me to ruminate on the materiality of power; how are power dynamics within and between political entities dictated by material and what are the subsequent effects on our material and immaterial worlds. It's important for me to investigate the immaterial forces [policy, ideologies, governance] and their effects on material entities [resources, infrastructure, bodies] and try to understand this complex machine we are both part of and subject to.
Through the construction of images, objects and assemblages I am looking to open up dialogue and ask questions around ideas of power, crises, collapse, order, flows, smooth and striated space and frictions within both the process/material system and global socio-politcal systems. Within this process is an investigation of narratives and the monument. What are the affects of a collection of objects? How are the material and spatial relationships between these objects communicating with an audience? How is this altered when flattened in the form of an image? These are some of the questions that are governing the next iterations of this body of work.