A living potential expressed through the combination of inanimate elements.
Within autonomous sculptures this happens devoid of human contact.
This quality is expressed in contact with a human through the ancient principles and techniques of puppetry.
The inanimate gains living movement through connection and direct physical contact with the human puppeteer.
The multifaceted rhythmic of a living person, never still even when still is transferred to a thing.
The observer’s perception is altered.
We are experts at detecting “livingness” from “non-livingness”.
My thoughts on this;
This has come about due to our development and survival as a species over millennia.
We need/ed to know if a thing in the corner of our perception is/was alive (therefore a potential threat) or not alive.
This has been instrumental in our survival within countless scenarios.
I do not believe we can mentally “chose out” of this.
It is hard-wired into our total being.
In experiencing puppet theatre we ride this ancient perceptive attribute;
We experience joy and elation in the mental knowledge that the puppet is not alive all the while unable to switch off the deep innate feeling that it could be.
The puppet is both a potential threat and not a threat in the same moment.
In my development of sculptures which communicate a sense of their being alive I exploit the tension, holding and release of materials to express “livingness”.
I prefer to not rigidly join one thing to another and instead chose dynamic and fluid jointing techniques found within the tradition of puppet design.
Although the initial drive may originate from an electric motor, the character of the moving is a composition of certain selected materials and objects, each contributing their unique way of holding and releasing.
These dynamic assemblages are an orchestra of these things expressing the desired feeling/s through tension, release, movement and sound.
Below is a detail from the sculpture Bow Down and Very Low - 123 developed for Ingrid Pollard.
A living breathing stillness is observed here in the subtle pulsation of spring steel saw blades.
Perhaps these materials are experiencing physical waves of remembering as to how they arrived here and then onward to continue their dance.