The first of a little series of posts on the exhibition now at Direktorenhaus, Berlin. The title, 'By, With and Of', comes from a wonderful book, Occasional Work and Seven Walks from the Office for Soft Architecture, by Canadian poet Lisa Robertson. Taken from a chapter on Eugène Atget's photographs of everyday Parisian interiors, thus:
"An item of furniture is a kind of preposition. 'By', 'with' and 'of' are material intuitions. 'Of' is a cupboard. 'With' is a table. 'By' is a chair'."
So it implies, for the purposes of this work, that which is subject (or indeed subjugate) to , the site. I've said already that the choice was to work with rooms which were not yet restored, with only a patchy diaphragm between the here and now and the then of the Mint's 1935 Third Reich birth and a DDR middle age.
'By', 'With' and 'Of' also imply 'Applied'. This is Room 204, with a heavy scent of the original building, in the panelling, window casing and wall patina. I wanted to think of the room as an organism with a story to tell but incapable of doing so. Recurrently through the rooms on this side of the corridor there are breaks in the panelling for doorways that have since been sealed. An epidermal scrub back to the plaster has revealed the join.
Elsewhere, a vent hole has been knocked through high on the wall and left as a chafed mouthpiece. So I have used these stopped up or ruptured sites for the work.
I've used leather, as a substance something between wood and skin. It was an early decision, to work it with the colourtoned, semi-porous plasterwork. The specific dimensions of this piece. a 'Stub', come from the metric 50cm x 10cm parquet floor modules; the height wedged to the height of the room. It is sequential, seen from the top down and slipping resemblance between a floor, a finger, a cigarette, a leg (secondarily a shin pad, a caliper) until it stubs its toe.
I have an image-memory of Delia Derbyshire, stooping over a console with a cigarette between her fingers. Looking again this image does not exist but it's there imagined and then came into this work as a motif. With the wish to acknowledge this as a bureaucratic building. A hand on a keyboard with a burning cigarette between index and middle.
The peg-board-pores were then open-endedly, skilfully worked with leather thread by Harriet Cory-Wright (photograph by Natalie Kay-Thatcher). The piece is non-definitive. It has allowance for further work and for re-configuration. Increasingly a factor in work of the last two years.
Components must sit between and slip definition. The original notion here was to hold found cigarettes but leaving them out frees other readings.
This pendulous tongue piece was worked through with Rosie Eveleigh, stitching and preparing the leather surface.
Elsewhere, discreetly, a concoction of sourced and made matter. Perching and bedding into the room, they developed to refer to monitors, keyboards and the perpendicular ergonomic between the functionary us and the screen.
Working lunch, eating while tapping.
Sections of the space such as this window slot, have placeholder works. They are sitting there in lieu of something more developed to come in what we hope to be a second phase of works early next year. Another post imminent but at this point it is essential to credit and thank the aforementioned Harriet, Rosie and Natalie, along with Hannah Whitfield. As the rest of the work is described in the next post, their technical involvement is even more apparent.