“Space is a fundamental aspect of the mind” John O’Keefe, Neuroscientist.
Spatial thinking is key to several functions of the brain and influences abstract thought such as imagination, planning and recall of memories.
Where Am I? is an installation inspired by the process of cognitive mapping used by the brain to enable us to navigate the spaces we live in.
Suspended between the ceiling, walls and floor delicate organic shapes connect and overlap one another. Taught threads carefully orientate each individual piece within the structure. Much like our memories, the temporary materials - masking tape, wire, flesh coloured paint and latex – may change or perish over time. Different treatments of the materials reflect different aspects of our mind's behaviour; our thoughts or emotions are sometimes covered up and sometimes revealed; the use of stitch references the way we embroider our cognitive maps with unreal phenomena; in places the intertwining threads get tangled or tied in knots; and loose ends hang in the air, lost threads to be gathered later. A spool of thread reel is left on the floor suggesting a momentary interruption in a process and in the same way, the work encourages the viewer to pause and reflect.
The temporary cognitive maps we construct for ourselves influence our behaviour so creating a reciprocal relationship between our physical environment, our brain and our mind. The viewer can move into the space and view the work from different perspectives. As they move they sometimes cause subtle vibrations and oscillations in the fragile forms. Projected light casts shadows of the work on the fabric of the building and the viewer’s own shadow joins the shapes that are stretched and distorted by the angles of the walls and ceiling.
The process of making the work played a valuable part of developing the idea behind it. Although the component parts remain the same, each arrangement is reliant upon the space in which it exists and is therefore unique. The artist and helpers navigate in and around the work in order to build and grow the structure in situ. Care must be taken not to damage the delicate arrangement although its materials and make up offer an adaptability to the making process, enabling the artist to review, rework, modify and change her mind.
Please click play to view a time lapse video of the 4 day build of the installation.