What ever happened to the heroes? 2016

Elam Grad Show


This project involves choosing and gathering together objects, often quoditian and familiar. Potentiality is key; an object embodies its potential possible futures, with those futures held either explicitly or subtly within itself. Here, objects are unfolded, unrolled, unwoven, undone. The original ‘use value’ of an object is questioned and transformed. An object’s tendancies are allowed to become apparent; the weight of an object, the way it folds, sits, hangs; the way it inhabits the space it is in. Elements and processes such as gravity, electricity, heat and osmosis all become materials in the work. The object is respected as vibrant matter 1

There are a number of key concerns that act as an armature for this project. Firstly, the ideas around new materialism, specifically the power of things in and of themselves. Secondly, the environmental mess we find ourselves in, and how changing our perspective towards the non-human might offer some alternatives to approaching this issue. Thirdly, in respect to art making, the importance of the idea of thinking through making.

The expanded field of new materialism has in part manifested itself in a renewed interest in, and a return towards, the object. What I hope to achieve in my work is to provide a space for reflection on the qualities of the objects I present; their own agency and tendancies. Through encouraging contemplation of these objects I hope to allow a sense of possibilty to open. Perhaps this expanded understanding of objects and materials and our relationships with them, might lead to a deeper consideration of the non-human actants in our complex world.

My project What ever happened to the heroes? is titled in reference to Hito Steyerl’s 2010 e-flux article A thing like you and me. She discusses particular changes in subjectivity in which we are happy to see  ourselves as objects, rather than fighting for the right to be ‘subject’. She uses The Stranglers song No More Heroes which asks what has happened to the Lenins, Trotskys and ‘Shakespearoes’ of the world, and she contrasts it with Bowie’s We Can Be Heroes in which our own wants and desires mean that ‘we can be heroes, just for one day’. What ever happened to the heroes? is a lyric from No More Heroes.

1 Bennett, Jane, Vibrant Matter. Duke University Press, 2010.