Our current project, Two Sites with a Similar Problem, examines vestiges of modernist thought in architectural form, problematized and articulated by ceramic elements, embroiled in an archaeological/catastrophic story line. Here we invoke the shamanistic presence of Prince, Mies van der Rohe and Frank Lloyd Wright and other walk-on characters. We put them in complex conundrums vis-a-vis their habitat, designs, ideologies and stardom. In between exploring our respective landscapes, measuring tectonic plate movement with home made astrolabes, we had both seen “The Man Who Fell to Earth”, and questions like ‘too much or not enough Ziggy?” popped up effortlessly. We both had our pet theories about pop culture and especially pop music: John was sure Bowie was channeling a young Prince, and I was fixated on Hendrix and his obsession with astral planes and the colour purple. I think John and I both liked the problem that Bowie made for himself…. how to construct the ultimate pop idol within the theoretical problematics of modernist architecture underscored by Diderot’s encyclopedic foundations?
Our quest with “Two Sites..," is to arrive at new narratives and morphologies for ceramic practice through poetic interpretations of mind/body/nature problematics with clay materials as agents of deconstruction and revelation. We have researched and engaged landscape, architecture and pop culture in an attempt to expand traditions and tendencies of ceramics defined as or by objects of a comfortable range of scale, aesthetic and context. Through the invention of fantastic interactions and the interplay of personalities, we attempt to script new narratives that show materials (clay, ceramics) are equal characters in our stories. in the current work, natural disaster functions as an unknown guest…like an unnamed Greek god, who intervenes, surprises and brings change.
So now we both say that collaboration is some kind of labyrinthian game, a series of tunnels like those dug into Tora Bora, or the ones dug in the sides of Gibraltar, which by the way, have everything in common, yet none of the same attitude. As Neil recounted these two thoughts to John mixed with recent ruminations about Ziggy, Purple Haze, Paisley Park, tsunami’s, asteroids, and sea level rise, the conversation for our current work, Two Sites with a Similar Problem, was catalyzed. Although not the monolithic promontory of Gibraltar, ours is a set of fixed interests that we always believe is different but they never are. It’s like reciprocal breathing, one breath, continuous sound, then sleep, somnambulism and one-on-one hoops...