The hands are scrabbling
The earth is turning
The tide is rising
Constantly forging onwards; seeking
The Sun, casting its glorious rays; disappearing
Under the Pier, a creature lives; decaying
At the end of the Land; the Sea
There is an inside and an outside, a dark interior and a light exterior. Under the skin, in the body, much is fluid. This is where the unconscious is at work, digesting and processing and merging and separating matter.
They were looking for the very beginnings of meaning and making: to connect thousands of years ago with today. They wanted to find it, but when they arrived, they still didn't know what to do.
In the depths of the sky, there were no mirrors, and in place of the sun a great bleeding hole gaped where perhaps a molar had been wrenched out. The sea had probably emptied, leaving the hollow of its basin rimmed by a dizzy precipice. The earth itself had disappeared, had ceased to be solid.
Le Clezio, J.M.G., The Book of Flights.
Eleanor Clare and Dillan Marsh live in Bergen, and have been producing works together since 2013, a collaboration which began as an investigation into how making artwork and writing can mutually influence one another in the understanding of meaning, development of form and structure. Clare received MA Fine Art from Central Saint Martins in 2011, and Marsh MA Visual Art from Bergen Academy of Art and Design, 2011. They have produced collaborative work for the following organisations: Parabol Bergen, Assembly House Leeds, Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, ASC Gallery London, Deuxpiece/Buro fur Problem Basel and Apis Press Bergen.
Research and development has been supported by Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop, Assembly House Leeds, Metal Arts, Bergen Kommune and Norwegian Arts Council.
Archipelago is a small, flexible platform for showing individual works and installations in a focused but open environment. Located on the ground floor of Hordaland kunstsenter, adjacent to a larger, more formal exhibition space, archipelago works with the constraint of limited physical space in order to explore the changing modalities of artworks in the age of virtual space. Archipelago is programmed with short lead times for each new project, with the intention of reinserting curatorial agility and real-time engagement into the institution. This initiative follows a different schedule to Hordaland kunstsenter's main exhibition programme, and is conceived as a group of 'thought islands' appearing in time.
Stadig å fortsette framover; å søke etter
Solen, som slynger sine slående stråler; som forsvinner
Under Brygga, et vesen lever; forråtner
Ved enden av Landet; Sjøen
Det finnes en innside og en utside, et mørkt indre og et lyst ytre. Under huden, inni kroppen, er mye flytende. Dette er stedet hvor det underbevisste virker, fordøyer og prosesserer og samler og skiller substanser.
De lette etter selve begynnelsene av mening og skapelse: for å sammenføye tusener av år tilbake med idag. De ville finne det, men da de ankom, visste de fortsatt ikke hva de skulle gjøre.
I dypene av himmelen fantes ingen speil, og i solens sted gapte et stort blødende hull der kanskje en jeksel hadde blitt vridd ut. Sjøen hadde sannsynligvis blitt tømt, og etterlot seg hulrommet av sin beholder omsluttet av et svimlende stup. Kloden selv hadde forsvunnet, hadde opphørt å være solid.
– Le Clezio, J.M.G., The Book of Flights.
Eleanor Clare og Dillan Marsh bor i Bergen, og har lagd arbeider sammen siden 2013, et samarbeid som begynte som en utforskning av hvordan det å lage kunstverk og å skrive gjensidig kan påvirke hverandre i å forstå mening og utviklingen av form og struktur. Clare har en mastergrad i kunst fra Central Saint Martins, London (2011), og Marsh en mastergrad fra Kunst- og designhøgskolen i Bergen (2011). Sammen har de produsert verk for følgende aktører: Parabol Bergen, Assembly House Leeds, Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, ASC Gallery London, Deuxpiece/Büro für Problem Basel og Apis Press Bergen.
Prosjektet er støttet av Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop, Assembly House Leeds, Metal Arts, Bergen Kommune og Norsk Kulturråd.
Archipelago er et lite, fleksibelt visningsrom for å vise enkeltverk og installasjoner i et fokusert, men åpent miljø. Siden rommet ligger i førsteetasje på Hordaland kunstsenter, like ved siden av et større, mer formelt utstillingsrom, åpner Archipelago opp for å undersøke de skiftende egenskapene ved et kunstverk med begrensningene av et lite, fysisk rom, i en tidsalder med virtuelle rom.
Programmet til Archipelago planlegges kort tid i forveien for hvert nye prosjekt, med den hensikt å gjeninnsette kuratorisk smidighet og nåtidig engasjement i institusjonen. Disse utstillingene følger en annen tidsplan enn Hordaland kunstsenters hovedprogram for utstillinger, og er tenkt som en gruppe av «tenkeøyer» som oppstår i tiden.
The Travels of The Toucher, Assembly House, Leeds 2015-12-15
The Travels of The Toucher
Dillan Marsh & Eleanor Clare
Video projection with audio played through a bass amp, 45 sec. loop
Framed digital C-print, 60x85cm
Audio, played through a mini guitar amp, 5.20min. loop
Digital photograph on 32 inch monitor
Stud wall with two poke holes cut through it
Five terracotta clay objects on different sized plinths
Framed painting, acrylic on two 21x15cm sheets of paper
Work lamp, lighting back yard
Publication, in edition of 50
Dillan Marsh & Eleanor Clare
Assembly House Studios 20-29 Nov. 2015
Sat. & Sun. 1-4pm or by appointment
With cardboard boxes over their heads and two holes punched out for their arms, they began with wet clay, and without any other idea than to see what came by handling it. What they arrived at was not a sculpture, but a way to begin. The possibility to destroy and remake was always there: it was just a means of getting to the thing.
On a wet and windy day, they journeyed out to Tigh na Cailleach, home of the Old Woman of the Glen, just before she withdrew into her shelter for winter. They were not sure what they might find, or what to do when they got there. They were walking a path that had been walked for thousands of years. They were hopeful that they would make their destination on time, and fearful of regret, lest they should have to turn back. It was not that time or nature were against them; it was simply that the elements continued, and would continue interminably, before them, after them and in spite of them. The night was drawing closer with every step further into the heart of the glen. Colours were changing to soft and rusty ochres, greens and bluey-greys. The form of the land was becoming gentler and more rounded. The deep, broad loch had now tapered off into a trickling stream; yet the wind raged on, and the rain beat with a stinging patter against against their faces.
They were looking for the very beginnings of meaning and making: to connect thousands of years ago with today. They wanted to find it, but when they arrived, they still didn’t know what to do. Not there at the shrine, nor in the studio with the clay.
For thirty-five years now I've been compacting waste-paper, and if I had it all to do over I'd do just what I've done for the past thirty-five years. Even so, three or four times a year my job turns from plus to minus: the cellar suddenly goes bad, the nags and niggles and whines of my boss pound in my ears and head and make the room into an inferno; the wastepaper, piled to the ceiling, wet and moldy, ferments in a way that makes manure seem sweet, a swamp decomposing in the depths of my cellar, with bubbles rising to the surface like will-o'-the-wisps from a stump rotting in the mire. And I have to come up for air, get away from the press, but I never go out, I can't stand fresh air anymore, it makes me cough and choke and sputter like a Havana cigar. So while my boss is screaming and wringing his hands and raining threats down on me, I slip away and set off in search of other basements, other cellars.
Most of all I enjoy central-heating control rooms, where men with higher education, chained to their jobs like dogs to their kennels, write the history of their times as a sort of sociological survey and where I learned how the fourth estate was depopulated and the proletariat went from base to superstructure and how the university-trained elite now carries on its work. My best friends are two former member of our Academy of Sciences who have been set to work in the sewers, so they've decided to write a book about them, about their crissings and crossings under Prague, and they are the ones who taught me that the excrement entering the sewage plant at Podbaba on Sundays differs substantially from the excrement entering it on Mondays, and that each day is so clearly differentiated from the rest that the rate of flux may be plotted on a graph, and according to the ebb and flow of prophylactics one may determine the relative frequency with which varying sections of Prague indulge in sexual intercourse.
Too Loud a Solitude, Bohumil Hrabal, 1976, translation Michael Henry Heim
He would lie in wait for monks grown weary with working in the oppressive heat, seizing a moment of weakness to force an entrance into their hearts. And once installed there, what havoc he wrought! For suddenly it would seem to the poor victim that the day was intolerably long and life desolatingly empty. He would go to the door of his cell and look up at the sun and ask himself if a new Joshua had arrested it midway up the heavens. Then he would go back into the shade and wonder what good he was doing in that cell or if there was any object in existence. Then he would look at the sun again and find it indubitably stationary, and the hour of the communal repast of the evening as remote as ever. And he would go back to his meditations, to sink, sink through disgust and lassitude into the black depths of despair and hopeless unbelief. When that happened the demon smiled and took his departure, conscious that he had done a good morning’s work.
Gunter Grass, The Rat, Translated by Ralph Manheim
Where man had been, in every place he left, garbage remained. Even in his pursuit of the ultimate truth and quest for his God, he produced garbage. By his garbage, which lay stratum upon stratum, he could always - one only had to dig - be known. For more long-lived than man is his refuse. Garbage alone lives after him.
Vast plains infested with garbage, beaches strewn with garbage, valleys clogged with garbage. Synthetic flakes on the move. Tubes that have forgotten their ketchup and never rot. Shoes of neither leather nore straw walk self-propelled with the sand and collect in pits full of garbage, where already yachtsman's gloves and droll inflatable animals are waiting. All these things speak of you, now and forever. You and your works wrapped in clear plastic, sealed in vacuum bags, moulded in synthetic resin, you in chips and clips: the human race that was.
Comedy and Tragedy
text by Eleanor Clare, 2014, published in NEVERODDOREVEN, Deuxpiece and Buro fur Problem, Basel
I was frantic, feeling a little sick and dizzy, but determined to carry on.
What had to be done, had to be done. It was a desperate attempt.
It was a hollow action.
It was just doing for the sake of doing.
It was doing to find some momentary release from the feeling of total inertia, of being stuck.
Now I must talk of hollow laughter.
Some say it is the laughter of a psychopath: cold, hard, unfeeling.
I say it is simply laughter at the end of the tether.
They say, if you don't laugh you'll cry.
I have been laughing this way.
I cry until I laugh, and laugh until I cry.
There is not much in between, but for an empty and desolate expanse stretching out ahead.
When I am laughing, I do not know if the laughter itself feels unreal, or if I myself am unreal.
It seems like I have been caught by something I cannot quite grasp.
I am in its grip: the grip of humour.
Watching myself on a screen, I make myself laugh, for I am hysterical.
Here I am comedy.
I laugh a senseless, reasonless laughter that has no meaning, other than to shake and move in a way that is ridiculous.
It is laughter in the extreme, because it cannot end until it reaches the opposite pole: tragedy.
"Emotions exist beyond time, as the pulse of pure physical connection to the world and its music.
Like music, they are a form of movement _ the origin of the word emotion lies in the Latin, emovere, to move out, remove, agitiate."
As he rides his chariot, he shines upon men and deathless gods, and piercingly he gazes
with his eyes from his golden helmet. Bright rays beam dazzlingly from him, and his
bright locks streaming from the temples of his head gracefully enclose his far-seen face: a rich,
fine-spun garment glows upon his body and flutters in the wind: and stallions carry him.
Then, when he has stayed his golden-yoked chariot and horses, he rests there upon the
highest point of heaven, until he marvellously drives them down again through heaven to Okeanos."
I lived to dance all night. A surging energy created a new and unprecedented confidence:
that it was possible to cheat time. I felt invincible - transcendent. Life was light, without fear
of death; at least not in this state of being. I sensed in my body vibrations of sound.
The closer I got to the source, the more it enveloped me, becoming a physical entwinement with
music and space. I felt one with it. But as the years passed, inevitably my heart began to
beat out of time. The breath did not come so easily. I held it at the top for a few seconds,
afraid to exhale. In these moments, the perceived syncopation that was once such a joy had
started to become a dissonance.
I feel alive, and the world - it's turning inside out Yeah!
I'm floating around in ecstasy
So don't stop me now,
I'm a shooting star leaping through the skies
Like a tiger, defying the laws of gravity
I'm a racing car passing by like Lady Godiva
I'm gonna go! go! go!
There's no stopping me!
I'm a rocket ship on my way to Mars
On a collision course
I am a satellite, I'm out of control
I am a sex machine ready to reload
Like an atom bomb about to
Oh -oh-oh-oh-oh explode!
(Extracts from 'Don't Stop Me Now' lyrics by Freddie Mercury, 1978)
Through the grainy unsteady image and the sound, distorted by low quality compression, it
seems like something is trying to break through. The first few seconds sound like noise
pulled through a synthesizer, screaming and kicking as it emerges, fighting for life in its new
digital form. Something about it is alarming, frightening, tortured and angry. It is half-formed,
raw and unrefined. Streaks of red and white light flash across the screen.
It is an arena for action. Something about this situation that is chaotic; yet there is an
element of control. The driver makes tight circles around a central axis. At first this is
demarcated by a traffic cone, but as things proceed, the silhouette of a young man moves into the
centre. The car stops and revs up, creating billows of smoke in the air, obliterating vision for
a few moments. As the car skids and screeches, I feel a sense of alarm. This is coming close to
disaster for the lone, central figure, potential victim of the anonymous driver, a sacrifice for
the entertainment of onlookers. I can sense also the collusion. One figure willingly places his
trust in the other. There is a tension between these two.
A smoky, fiery object is spinning recklessly. One might say things had spun out of control.
Not quite though; for to completely lose control would mean total destruction. It would mean the
end. It all went up in flames. This is a sudden, intense and short lived burst of energy. More
like a supernova than the sun, and more akin to a meteor careering around a planet, than a planet
orbiting the sun. It was more than this, though. This scene was not simply about objects in space;
it was human. It was a game or a task, perhaps even a ritual.
Although I can identify it as a human activity, shot through with the implications of one's
relationship to another, from my vantage point it also seemed anonymous. In the dark, these
figures could be anyone, totally unrecognisable by the light of day. In this moment they had a
relationship to one another. Certainly for the two central protagonists, it was one of great
significance and trust. At any other time, on any other level, it was unclear. In this sense, the
action had become symbolic. The figures could be understood as archetypes. Ones which, for reasons
I cannot yet identify, I associate with the masculine.
In the threat of a loss of control, images had already flooded my mind. I remember as the
helicopters circled in the air above my house one evening in August. I had no idea why it was
happening, but this circling was incessant, the noise repeatedly coming close and fading away,
swelling and receding, but never quite out of my consciousness. It always gives me a slight sense
of unease, the idea of something being under surveillance, coupled with the notion that something
might be wrong. Why this surveillance from such a great height? It is a safe distance for the one
who watches. Then I remembered the destruction that had taken place, just minutes away from my home.
The aerial images of buildings and cars set alight, and rioters surging through the streets, anonymous
from this point of view. London's Burning.
Appendix 1: Extracts from C.G. Jung, Commentary on the Secret of the Golden Flower
The wise Chinese would say in the words of the I Ching: When yang has reached its
greatest strength, the dark power of yin is born within its depths, for night begins at midday
when yang breaks up and begins to change into yin.
The ‘enclosure’, or circumambulation, is expressed in our text by the idea of a ‘circulation’.
The ‘circulation is not merely motion in a circle, but means, on the one hand, the marking off
of a sacred precinct, and, on the other, fixation and concentration. The sun wheel begins to run;
that is to say, the sun is animated and begins to take its course, or in other words, the Tao begins
to work and to take over the leadership. Action is reversed into non-action; all that is peripheral is
subjected to the command of what is central. [...]
Thus the circular movement also has the moral significance of activating all the light and all
the dark forces of human nature, and with them, all the psychological opposites of whatever
kind they may be.
If viewed correctly in the psychological sense, death is not an end but a goal, and therefore
life towards death begins as soon as the meridian is passed.
Et sic in infinitum (and like this to infinity)
Utriusque Cosmi Maioris scilicet et Minoris Metaphysica, Physica, atque Technica Historia (The Metaphysical, Physical, and Technical History of the Two Worlds, Namely the Greater and the Lesser)
The primordial darkness of the universe at the moment before creation.