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Updated: Oct 22, 2021

The TATE papers no.18

I keep coming back to this piece of writing.

A few months ago I begun obsessively building model houses as a way of uncovering memory, this interest peaked with my most recent piece in which I recreated a detailed model of my childhood family home without the aid of reference photos (the model is available to view here: )

In Morris' essay she talks about distant memories of her grandmothers house and having various building plans made from memory to be joined together in an effort to have an accurate drawing of the house that would complete the lost parts of the memory. I began to really relate to Morris' story when she concluded that having a somewhat accurate blueprint of the house got her no closer to feeling she was revisiting the memory. It was not the house itself she wanted to remember but her presence within the walls. She continues on to describe ways she would troubleshoot different drawing techniques to map paths and actions - many of which are automatic drawing techniques borrowed from surrealist methodologies as well as using high tech recording devices and machines placed on her body to record actions and movement.

Documentary photograph of motion capture studio

I'm considering where I go from here, the model houses are built and all of the excitement that bubbled up during their making fizzled once they were finished and they ultimately became a large, fragile item that I had nowhere to store or display. If their worth was in the making and not in their existence then perhaps it is the act of playing with memory rather than building stuff that is igniting sparks for me.

So now I'm here.....

How can I record my (or a) presence within a space without centralising (or even featuring at all) the place or the person?

I could look at Susan Morris' ways of mapping movement, but that is a movement or presence that is happening in the present or future. I'm interested in the lingering ghost of a presence come and gone, and to recreate that would be empty. Yet I keep coming back to her paper and am endlessly fascinated by the intricate black and white drawings mapping that very thing.. we keep coming back to things...

Installation shot of Susan Morris: Untitled Motion Capture Drawings, Art Exchange, University of Essex, 2012

Anyway, sometimes I consider that the concept of somehow capturing a ghost of my own presence may be not only self serving but anticlimactic and a bit of a dead end, I don't know how far my interest in distortion and recovery of memory goes beyond my own, and that's the ugly truth I guess. On the other hand my own experiences are a good place to start and once those itches are scratched who knows what will open up? I mention this because I'm aware of centring an autobiographical narrative in my work, not that I'm for or against it, I'm just currently hyper-aware of it. I don't want to only make art that is inherently pointless outside of my own internal investigations.. or is that all art?



Morris, Susan. "Drawing in the Dark: Involuntary Drawing." Tate Papers Autumn 2012, no. no.18 (2012). (Accessed 18/08/2021)

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