Unthought
Corban Estate Art Centre, December 2020 – February 2021

 

Photographs: Sam Hartnett 2021

Through playful, pseudo-scientific exploration, I pay a careful attention to the transformative potentials of the material copper. The process of electroforming attempts a small act of reparation, allowing the copper to return to a self-organised state through my mediation. This act opens up a space to think about the devastation caused by extractive mining, how resource extraction fuels colonialisation, and how we, as humans, are intimately connected to everything around us.

In Unthought, an electroforming tank holds a bath of blue electrolyte copper salt solution, an anode which is the source for the metal, electricity, and a cathode for the newly produced copper object.  Copper ions move invisibly through the blue liquid, building up on the cathode slowly over time.

Also working at the atomic level, the electron microscope uses electrons to focus on the new copper object; moving over the surface and forming the image we see in the video. The surface of the copper is revealed to be deeply fissured; fanning out in shapes that seem organic rather than metallic. The imagery references the sublime, revealing through careful attention a materiality that is more complex, more interesting, more evocative than originally perceived.