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Textual Intervention into the BRC/CRF, Guys Hospital Tower, London
commissioned by the Guys and St Thomas’s Charity 2011
self adhesive vinyl, box framed lasercut acrylic works

I have always been fascinated by words, by the roots of language, how Greek and Latin suffuse our understanding of the world especially in the sciences. After looking at various non-textual forms of visual representation of the research at the BRC/CRF I decided to make an artwork about medical terminology and nomenclature. I have always wanted to do a linguistically based artwork and this was the perfect opportunity. I have composed many text works on computer but had never shown them. They consist of palindromes constructed out of words that interest me thematically, at that time words to do with stylistic change, for example classical and baroque.

The installation consists of framed laser cut acrylic word diamonds and also vinyl palindromes based on sequentially, structural proteins, (applied to connecting spaces)neurotransmitters, (applied to meeting rooms) and DNA bases and amino acids applied to offices and patient corridors.

I am interested in the slippage of language from the fixed semiotics of a known word to the calligraphic aesthetics and suggestibility of a random string of letters. For this commission I deployed Greek and Latin suffixes and prefixes of medical terminology pertinent to the research occurring at the BRC/CRF, helped by input from senior researchers, into wall based word diamonds and palindromes cut from 10mm acrylic sheet  and also applied as vinyl signage to the internal windows so that there are two systems of linguistic meaning occurring in the space. The window mounted vinyl flows through the space on the same datum line in bands of repeating palidromes four letters high so that the transparency of the window is disrupted by text that moves from almost recognisable medical language to almost nonsensical associations.

The word diamonds are works in their own right, framed and separate from the wall, operating on the boundary of the calligraphic and the semantic. The font, Gill Sans has a classical modernist monumentality and calm.

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Plenum (Moon/Mind/Matter), Skyway 10, Torun Poland

Plenum (Moon/Mind/Matter)

Simeon Nelson in collaboration with Rob Godman and Nick Rothwell

architectural projection

Gravity Dance, Skyway 10 Art and Astronomy Festival, Torun Poland

curated by Mario Caeiro

For Toruń’s Collegium Maximum, Simeon Nelson conceived and developed a dynamic light projection inspired by the recent discovery of water and ice on the Moon. The piece came out of the artist’s fascination with the fundamental processes of nature and is based on a series of his drawings that attempt to depict states of matter at very small scales.

The projection onto the facade of the Collegium Maximum took the transformation of water from solid, to liquid and gas as its starting point. The ice in some moon craters is only 25 kelvin; when the sun hits the temperature rises dramatically transforming the ice to liquid and vapourous states. The projection cycle of Plenum (Moon/Mind/Matter) starts as a perfect grid of dots arranged in a crystalline matrix, new dots begin to appear forcing the surrounding dots apart so that after 15 minutes the entire grid is pulsating, swaying and liquefying with particles popping in and out of existence. The top layers of the grid begin to disintegrate into a gaseous state shooting off in seemingly random trajectories so that the projection runs a full sequence from a frozen state of absolute order through increasing entropy to a state of complete chaos.

Plenum (Moon/Mind/Matter) questions the separateness of the points so that they are perceived as a field of events rather than a collection of separate entities just as what we perceive as physical bodies in the cosmos are manifestations, concretions of the created order held in dynamic balance with each other by gravity, electromagnetic and nuclear forces depending on what scale they occur at. In terms of the implications of quantum theory these fragments popping in and out of existence could be said to be a system containing all possible worlds, latently waiting to manifest.

Plenum (Moon/Mind/Matter) plays out as a creation myth, a meditation on the relationship between the created world and creator. It can be read on material, cognitive and spiritual levels. Its crystalline grid is a plenum from which phenomena with increasing levels of complexity and freedom grow. The imperfections could be seen as self-awareness and autonomy awakening out of a universal atman, or alternatively, out of the pre-human lesser cognition of animals. This intelligence, this autonomy, this free will is our gift to use for good or ill and the calamitous history of humanity is the price for that freedom. The created order of the natural world is also necessarily free so that evolution and higher life forms like us can come into being and become creators ourselves. The laws of nature have provided the conditions for us to exist that include plate-tectonics, dynamical weather systems, tsunamis, tornadoes etc. Creative freedom cannot exist without risk. There cannot be the freedom to grow in conscience without the freedom to be evil.

The work was developed in close collaboration with Rob Godman and Nick Rothwell.
Rob Godman is a composer, sound designer and programmer. He is Reader in Music at the University of Hertfordshire. As well as creating generative, responsive and interactive installation audio works he regularly performs live, focusing on a transparent relationship between technology, audience and performer.
Nick Rothwell is a London-based composer, performer, media artist and programmer. He has produced sound scores for several choreographers and interactive media systems for the Vienna Volksoper, Ballett Frankfurt, TECHNE (Istanbul), Kinetica and Wayne McGregor|Random Dance at Sadler’s Wells. He is currently touring with a laser-controlled responsive soundscape for Eddie Ladd.
Robert Godman and Nick Rothwell aligned the soundtrack and animation sequence to the same code so that there was a perfect mapping of sound and vision. The projection occurred in real time, being non-linear and self-generating: each cycle had different outcomes determined by the code parameters.

Torun is a beautiful medieval city in North West Poland and is the birthplace of Nicolaus Copernicus. The Skyway festival is curated by Mario Caeiro and is forms part of Torun’s bid to be European Capital of Culture in 2016.

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Paratekton at Ryan Renshaw Gallery, Brisbane



T +61 7 3666 0350 F +61 7 3252 8003
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List of Works

review of Systems of Romance

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Paratekton at the Melbourne Art Fair 4-8 August 2010

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Paratekton (open sculptural system)

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!
Empower Labour!
Meaningful Production!

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.

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Cryptosphere in Objet Perdu, Plataforma Revolver, Lisbon

Cryptosphere (open sculptural system)
modular plywood components

Installation views at Objet Perdu, Plataforma Revolover, curated by Mario Caeiro

Plataforma at Artecapitale

Though the formal economy of Julião Sarmento seems not to be related to the ornamental dimension of a work which literally fills the eye, it is not so different to Simeon Nelson’s praxis. Cryptosphere [2008-2010] is, like Sarmento’s, a rhetorical reaction to the social constructo. It departs from an examination of a historical asset – the monumental collection of early modern maps of the Royal Geographical Society – to relativize, through a design exercise, a puissant cultural heritage which constitutes the graphical sum of world representation. The production of Cryptosphere resulted from an artistic residency lasting 15 months in the RGS, including much debate with scholars. The result is the ironic compaction of sequential philosophical and cultural mutations inherent in Western cartography during a period of more than a thousand years. It is a commentary on problems of the representation of space, for instance about the absurd localization of mythical places – El Dorado, Eden, Utopia, Hell. The piece is to a certain extent an anti-object, the sum of all withheld and hidden information in a given system .

By exercising the ornamental, the modular and a scientific beauty, Cryptsphere rejects in its kairotic rhetorics any superfluous elements, in order to counterpose to the vanity of cartography a cryptic modality of drawing and the conventions of western sculpture. Arguing for the validity of ornament (filtered out by minimalism) and the validity of art in the exclusive territory of science, it is about an interdisciplinarity which high culture hesitates to accept. Nelson’s cognition, just as Sarmento’s, is a shot into the dark…

excerpt from Mario Caeiro catalogue statement

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Crystalline Theory of Consciousness

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