For the ‘Heads & Tails’ – “show-within-a-show” last week, I intended to show a new, at-site-built work, attempting to create an atmospheric audio-visual installation work built using the new barbed wire boat sculpture with a pool of water. As I started building the square shaped, 2.65m x 2.65m wide pool, I felt confident and sure I would finish it in time, also feeling good about cooperation and curation as a team to create an atmospheric, dim, interesting exhibition space. Well, as we started to fill the pool with water, we noticed a leak – the PVC pond liner had probably ripped in multiple different places and the water was leaking into the space. Luckily, my show mates helped me to clean up and empty the pool, only leaving a puddle in the middle after noticing the leakage had stopped. This all happened on the day before the show, so the piece at the show was improvised, reconstructed version of the original vision. I do, however think, that this version ended up being better than the original idea I had, which would’ve been a clean, formal, symmetrical shape. The work it ended up being was breaking away from that formality and stiffness, still capturing the original feeling of the work. So, surprisingly, I was happy with it – through failure and accident and non-controllable disasters the work developed into something I could be proud of. And that is something completely new and unknown for me, but in a very good way.
A very similar chain of events happened with my 2nd Interim show work ‘Ghosts’. This work was completely made in 3 days; improvising, testing structural options “on the fly”, compromising, erasing, re-building and reforming – only with a vague visual and spatial image on mind. I felt that now before the degree show was the time for risk-taking, ambitious, insanely hard work and just letting anything to happen at the building/exhibition site. As with my previous work ‘Epilogue’ last week, the final outcome of ‘Ghosts’ wasn’t what I planned; I intended to show the work in a dim or dark space, with similar moody atmosphere as last week with ‘Heads & Tails’- show, with sound and with a film projected inside the ship. For curatorial reasons, the space was decided to keep quite brightly lighted, removing the option to use film with the work. Also, as a last-minute decision I decided not to use sound, just trusting the simplicity of the object without added elements of spotlights, film or soundscape.
Making of ‘Ghosts’
After coming home today, I remember the silence at the Aral Sea – the haunting void of sounds and life when I was standing there, surrounded by the endless landscape of salt, sand, seashells and dust, and ‘Ghosts’ in its final form is a some-type of a manifestation of that void – even in its non-perfected form.
The title ‘Ghosts’ refers not only to the subject of the work; the silent, rusty corpses of old Soviet fishing ships and the dusty, crystallized seashells scattering the salt deserts of the Aral Sea, the ‘ghosts of the past’, but also, the name refers to the scavenged parts of my previous works, other people’s ditched works and found scrap metal used to making of the object – the material remains of abandoned ideas, ghosts.