Paratekton (Para – beside, tekton -the structure, gk)
Neo-Neo Gothic Project
laser-cut plywood modules, dimensions variable depending on installation
development shots of this new contextually responsive system that I am developing for shows and commissions in London, Portugal and Australia.
Urban Fragment, Collyer Bristow Gallery, London – 26 May – 25 August 2010
Systems of Romance I, Mossgreen Gallery, Melbourne Art Fair – 04-08 August 2010
Systems of Romance II, Ryan Renshaw Gallery, Brisbane 18 August – 04 September
Paratekton (open sculptural system) has a large element of play in it, I described it as a Scalectrix for grownups designed by Augustus Pugin to a friend the other day! It is part of my Neo-Neo Gothic project updating the 19th century Neo-Gothic and Art and Craft aesthetics of Pugin, Morris, Jones and Ruskin with their utopian socialist programmes to the 21st century.
The ways in which Paratekton goes together are almost infinite, the randomness is part of the meaning as is letting go some of the authorship and sharing the possibility of creating a virtual infinitude of possibilities with the audience.
I am working on some boxed smaller kits with some straights, corners and ornaments. These could start simple e.g. an infinity loop and have some more numerous kits with more possibilities as well.
Ruskin in Art and Life argues passionately for empowered labour, meaningful and personally fulfilling production and a life free of slavery. Simone Weil in her experiences as a young factory worker was outraged at the system of quasi-indentured labour she encountered in pre war France where workers were tied to machines all day stamping out the same element, having no creative, moral or intellectual engagement in what they were doing.
At the other historical end of this liberation struggle for a proletarian paradise which was so dystopian in its most extreme manifestations my Neo-Neo-Gothic sculptural systems are demanding a meaningful productive life for all humans and animals involved in the system of production and creativity that characterises the evolving society that we are constantly creating, destroying and recreating.
Re-racinate the Deracinatariat!
Go back to the creative source and start the processes of meaningful production and enquiry at pre-school.
Paratekton is an ‘entelechic’ structure that is sufficient for its own purposes. Entelechy, ‘in-end-having’ is Aristotle’s term for what it is to be; the inner drive, principle or purpose.
In esoteric religious traditions the inmost soul of things, persons and entities is taken to be that which remains unchanged during the process of transformation which characterises a thing’s fleeting manifestation in the world, hence when Gertrude Stein says “a rose is a rose is a rose” I take it to mean that a rose is a rose is a rose whether bud, pollen, bloom or withered seed head. The changing phenomenal manifestation of the rose is not the substance (standing under) of the rose. So with my sculptural systems I am trying to get beneath their ‘thingyness’ and think of them as a process, a system. You might wonder whether sculpture is the best medium for such an apprehension, I do to! But there is a wonderful reassurance, solidity, concreteness in this thinginess which can only contain a glimpse of that elusive effulgence at the base of reality. Paratekton is a river flowing through and underneath its vegetal nodes which could be seen as its phenomenal events. It is a carrier wave, a message carrying signal. It is not a thing, it is an event, a process of becoming, or it is a thing that lays its own substance (in the original Greek sense of that inner unchanging property that stands under illusory appearance) bare, it could be stripped of events and would be unaffected. The soul, or substance of a thing could be said to be topological, containing the properties of form within it that are prior to and will remain invariant during the distortions and transformations of the thing’s existence in the phenomenal world.