Karen Gill, 2020, Degree (excerpt), punctuation, Preston, UK
(2 x jpeg images)
This is a text based piece that draws from my work as a practitioner within the field of the Void. ‘Degree’ uses an extract from my dissertation to explore our notions of the Void as a language in relation to the present social and economic situation. It is the offering of a relic of contributions to a future of uncertainty.
‘Degree’ accesses the Void on a more personal level to investigate the precarious nature of stability and balanced mental well being during this time. Structurally, the document is intact and holding form, but it is incomplete, unstable and we are unable to apply context. We are unsure of what it offers. This disruption and breakdown of visual communication challenges our notions of expectation mirroring the current challenges we face along with varying levels of communication disruption.
Much like the fractious text sitting suspended within the digital world, we too are suspended in a liminal state.
Within this context, the Void manifests as a structural breakdown seeping from from its visual format into the intimate space of the audience. The presentation of this work in digital format allows for further feelings of disruption, isolation and detachment to be present while viewing.
Mute and Unmute are a reference to the new way we are all talking to each other over one of the many available online platforms with every conversation interjected with frequent requests to follow the now well established etiquette and mute your microphone if you aren’t speaking which leads to equally frequent requests to unmute when people can see your lips moving with no sound coming out. An alarming number of people seem to find it necessary to preface whatever they say with the unnecessary ‘I am just unmuting myself’.
The Art of Conversation is a slightly more manic reflection on what feels like an endless stream of back to back, day in day out video conference calls.
Lockdown love is a wistful reflection on being separated from a partner who is somewhere else and finds themselves in lockdown love too.
The current situation might have compelled us to stay in, but might have also made us shift our focus from the outside to the inside as well. This is a time to get back in touch with ourselves. The idea behind my sculpture is to inspire a change within. One way of getting there is by practicing yoga. Yoga has known to be a posture based physical fitness and a stress-relief technique. However, it also has a spiritual core. Although some yoga practitioners are only there for the physical challenge, others are looking to find something beyond themselves. They seek to experience energy within and without, to gain spiritual awareness and find their center. In this sculpture I wanted to express stillness in motion. Stillness of the mind while the body is in motion. I created the figure during yoga in crescent moon pose. The figure was simplified into minimum elements in order to create a sense of silence. The same silence practitioners experience during yoga sessions as they let go of their thoughts in order to be completely present in every posture. If you keep your attention focused completely in the body, you will be rooted within.
This sculpture describes a person in an ongoing process of transforming into a rainbow as a symbol of peace. The idea behind it is to inspire a change within. I think in these challenging times we might have a substantial need for peace. We need to remember that inner peace is a matter of choice and it should be our top priority especially now. This is the time to get back in touch with ourselves. No outside goal could ever make us feel complete. I chose to express this concept by creating a person in a kneeling position while his hands are pressed together in front of his heart in a gratitude gesture. I wanted to create a position that will express both humbleness and of turning the attention inwards. I believe gratitude is a key element in achieving peace. Being grateful gives us peace of mind and makes us appreciate the beauty of life so much more. It can be as easy as saying thank you, so simple and yet so genuine. In order to emphasize this view, I created the rainbow not as a whole, but piece by piece, each one reads ‘thank you’. Each one of us is a piece on the path to peace and our inner change will echo around us and create a ripple effect. We might be just a few thank you’s away.
The current situation might have compelled us to stay in, but might have also made us shift our focus from the outside to the inside as well. This is a time to get back in touch with ourselves and understand that everything we’re searching for is already within us. We just have to start taking responsibility for our lives. As Gandhi said “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. I believe that in challenging times we should do our best to quiet the mind and listen to our inner voice. The idea behind my sculpture is to inspire a change within, of awareness to the present moment. One way of getting there is by meditating. Outwardly, it seems simple, just a cross-legged sitting position. However a yoga practitioner is aware of the complexity of this pose. A complicated posture doesn’t have to be of a physical challenge, but a mental one. The mind could twist, move and struggle before it calms down. I wanted to express this inner intricacy in my sculpture by a combination of curves and lines that intersect to form the figure. Yet there is a sense of serenity that is created thanks to the color and the overall flow. This flow means being liberated from our thoughts. Only in the stillness of our mind we can listen to our inner voice and get in touch with the power of here and now. We can never know what the future holds, we only have this moment to be in tune with ourselves.
Medium: paper mache with metal wire on a wooden board