Today’s Pop is Becky. She was unable to leave Newcastle (see her last blog). One of the boys in the plaid shirts (of yester week) dragged her out of the club by the hair – true northern cave man style – and deposited her in his artists squat further down the river Tyne, whilst singing Jimmy Nail in an attempt to woo her. It worked.
I was led by my Newcastle friends to the Baltic to meet young artist Ben Jeans Houghton who told me all about his work installed in the Duck for Mr Darwin exhibition. I decide to give him THEPOP.COM’s quick five.
How did you get involved with the Duck for Mr Darwin exhibition?
Baltic curator Alessandro Vincentelli and Exhibitions Co-ordinator Laura Harrington contacted me and spoke about an international group show that was being curated, focusing on Darwin’s Legacy.
Tell us a bit about the thinking behind your work?
Since childhood I have explored my environment, collecting things from back lanes and skips. I have always had a sense of communion with objects and my understanding of the world has been greatly informed by this fascination. On The Ark And I is a durational installation that questions our understanding of the world through classification. Objects are stripped of context and chronology, instead grouped by colour, creating an Ahistorical order. To me a red paper clip, speaks of elements, invention, ingenuity, industrialisation and immutable forces. It is a symbol of so much beyond its clear and simple function. It is this potential universe of referents and connotations present in all things that endlessly fascinates me. Darwin’s base search for interconnections and understanding of the world, through his collection and dissection of the world around him, is what I find so compelling about his search.
Why is it important to you to be so interactive with your work? Do you think this interaction is a sign of the times (where we communicate constantly?)
For this exhibition it was important for me to embark on a journey, through time with no predetermined conclusion. My interaction with my archive has always been part of the process. Using the form of the exhibition to caption part of an ongoing process interests me. I have always wanted the chance to engage with everything I have collected in one place for a period of time and I have been lucky enough to do so. I hope in some way it has prompted visitors to view aspects of their relationship with the world that surrounds us in a fresh way.
The second piece Dear… is a participatory postal piece that invites the public to send any object to the gallery for display as part of a new archive. In an age where communication is becoming more and more digital, virtual solutions to correspondence out way pen to paper a hundred fold. Darwin was a prolific letter writer and was said to have sent over 10,000 letters in his life time, many of which were stretching out a hand of inquiry, relying on the kindness and generosity of people of whom he often had no acquaintance, to provide him with samples from which he could work.
The piece mirrors this process and calls for a physical interaction from the public, inviting further thought and consequent inclusion. I have received all kinds of objects from all over the world. Some have been labelled or appear with letters explaining their significance to the person who sent them. When the objects are displayed they are void of explanation, stripped of this often deeply emotional significance. Within this piece it is the idea that any object can be charged with importance, usually in a very personal way, that is invisible without explanation, that fascinates me.
I was so impressed by Ben i wrote to him to ask for a picture of his brooch (yes notherners are progressive) and he sent me the cheeky snap above. Boys in booches who make great art.
Thats where its at!
- POP 118 Sunday, 4 October 2009
- POP 163 Sunday, 22 November 2009
- POP 070/ Sunday, 9 August 2009
- POP 079/ Wednesday, 19 August 2009
- POP 080/ Thursday, 20 August 2009