New Box for New York

Recent projects present the chance to develop further both Hand Werk and Make Do Type. I'm designing variants of Make Do for a typographic setting of six poems which discuss daylight saving and the seasonal clock change to come, for the New York Times Op-Ed section. More on that soon. Shown here is prototyping for a new Hand Werk box, in conjunction with –and to be shown in– Partners & Spade's store on Great Jones St., NYC., thanks to the continuously inspiring Andrew.

Shown is the base layer, with a wider palette of materials, including raw hide leather and hardwoods; more acute use of naturally varying thicknesses to force where pieces double stack as a corrective to bring about an even height. Also to make sense of the two directions which had evolved without my ever standing back; the stacking or permutational and the tool– or gamepiece– like.

The box is longer, to house both these pieces and the petri dish as used in an earlier variant. The dimensions partly come from this envelope, a found, horded element to be included. I picked these up 12 years ago, during my time in Brussels. The colourtone, thin stock and proportion registered then and do now.

The box itself went through several stages but the consistent aim was to have an external akin to the internal. So a plywood inside-out structure, with no clear top or bottom. The one-two-three-four jointing came after numerous experiments with finger joints but this held the right balance of clean and odd.

So there are tallies and harmonies in stacked heights and slots throughout.

Also use of silicone rubber, as a plug, a stopper, a band, a brick.

The end piece, shown in the top image of the post and again here, dictates moments where an interior piece has to slot flush into the apertures. So it becomes a key for, a swatch of, the substances therein.

I have always (and I really mean always) loved Le Corbusier's Chapel of Notre Dame du Haut (1954)(via), specifically its rhythmical window compositions. Certainly aware of this when designing the apertures, with cryptic alignments. The next stage will be a small unbound bookwork of granular endpaper-prints, to sit atop the stacking pieces.


By, With and Of: Stair Chair

A little chair, originally intended to go in a small, dark room at the end of the corridor, with a stairway that abruptly stops. The motif is based on the moment a poppy ruptures overnight and the petal unfurls; a silk parachute.

The base artwork here, with the back. Wanted this composition to give space to the motif above but think now that I would have liked to live with it a while longer and given the abstraction some more locale, more inflection related to its partner image.


By, With and Of (Interlude)

Georges Perec: I put a picture up on a wall. Then I forget there is a wall.

I no longer know what there is behind this wall.

I no longer know this wall is a wall.

I no longer know what a wall is.

From Species of Spaces and Other Pieces (1974-1993; translated 1997 by John Sturrock).


Berlin: By, With and Of (1)

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.