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Making Spaces

making space 1-2

The drawing series “Making Spaces” notes the shift in my understanding that occurred through the domestic observations I undertook through my PhD Research in 2013. I had come to see how the interfolding of body and environment was dynamic, reactive and productive. It could never be a pure, pre-reflective engagement. Perception is always prewired in some way. Just as each photograph I took of my domestic life operated to construct a scene, each perceptual engagement with space operated to construct that space, making it into a particular space dependent on the intention and activity of the subject and the resources and conditions of the given space.

 

I saw these drawing works as indicating some of the processes that enable us to make the ordinary (almost invisible in their apparent un-remarkableness) spaces of our everyday worlds. I chose to draw on maps which were directly relevant to my ordinary life. The maps include the location of my children’s school, family daycare and my house. My previous year’s research into the operation of ecosystems, Warrnambool’s geology and indigenous understanding and connection to land combined with a deepened understanding of Colonisation’s material processes of naming, dividing, selling and “developing” land. This utterly changed the way I perceive the fixed, concreteness of urbanization, its infrastructure and the cultural practices it enables. I see these drawings as an interaction between the maps, the drawn image and the title. To me this is a way of grappling with the actual material reality of how it is that we shape land and resources in order to produce and maintain the homogeneity of contemporary urban life and the regular comforts this enables.

making spaces 3-4

making spaces 5-6

Consumer Tracking

Shopping Bag-by three

(as always you can click on this image to enlarge it 🙂 )

I began this series as part of my on-going observation of my domestic space. Between December 2013 and March 2014 I managed six substantial trips away from home, most lasted more than a week. Over this time I felt a disconnect of degrees with my “home space”, one of the interesting ways this emerged was in the reduction of ordinary items in my pantry and around the home.

As a mother…. (& as an artist not strictly locked into a formal 9-5 employment schedule) I am the one in our house who does “the big shop”: the bread, the cereal, the detergents, the snack foods, meat, canned food, fruit & vege etc. Usually once a fortnight I stock the cupboards, fridge and freezer so that the stuff we want is there (where our bodies are) when we want it. In not being home so much over summer this routine dissolved and our attainment of these items became a “seat-of-the-pants kind of affair”- you know, the kind of little shops you do to get the ingredients for tea and the toilet paper (or the whatever else its is you’ve noticed is running out) and usually a fistful of munchies or some other crap that you don’t really need.

All very ordinary and not very remarkable, but in this process of coming and going, and being home and away and home again I realised the significance of this ordinary consumption of grocery goods: the availability of the ordinary items that I use everyday in my “home space” creates the sense of stability and fixity – even, perhaps, domestic wellbeing….

The interesting thing for me was that sense of stability is dependent on the constant motion (of trips to the store- encapsulating economic exchange & the processes that produce the goods) of that “renewal”. & of course there is a whole dimension here which infers the impact our (varying degrees of/disruptions to) ability to “renew” our spaces has on our lives/relationships/wellbeing etc.

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On the morning that my youngest son began his primary school career the fly-by-the-seat-of-our pants consumerism finally let us all down: there was no sugar. Enough was enough. After I took my three amigos to school I went to my local IGA & bulk bought a bunch of stuff: cereal, sugar, lunch box snacks, cheese, ham, fruit etc.

In my haste I’d forgotten my green bags and found myself with a kitchen full of grey plastic regret. I decided that I would use those bags to record the contents of my shopping trip. I began with the bananas… Restoring our domestic stocks has taken numerous well thought out trips to numerous supermarkets, we reached a nice equilibrium last week before I left for another trip interstate…

These drawings are an interesting way for me to consider this particular intersection between myself and my environment. There is an amount of ethical illusion or contradiction in the the whole green bag thing that emerges in these drawings- reducing the amount of end-of-shopping-plastic in the bags I use to take the shopping home does little to impact the product packaging they contain, its subsequent “disposal” or the products lineage in the “food chain” that got it to the store….

hmmmm, food for thought (I know…)