Metropolis Experiment, 2-17 June 2017 at AirSpace Projects, Marrickville.
Metropolis Experiment is part architectural model, part mad science: the whole city is a laboratory. But instead of shiny stainless and gleaming glassware in sterile white surrounds, we are presented with rusty tripods and salt crystals that creep up and over everything, corroding as they go. In Metropolis Experiment something has gone horribly wrong: it’s a ruined model city, a metaphor.
Metropolis Experiment is my third recent body of work which responds to the vivid prognostications of JG Ballard’s 1962 post-apocalyptic sci-fi novel, The Drowned World. View the first here and the second here.
What links these works is the image of the ruined city, an image Ballard conjured so evocatively in The Drowned World.
Thanks to its scale, Metropolis Experiment draws on the conceptual qualities of architectural models (as well as ruins) in order to make a point. As theorists are fond of pointing out, all ruins simultaneously embody both the present and the past.
Meanwhile, architectural models are inherently aspirational. They embody potential, physically manifested, but not quite realised. They represent the future. As a ruined model city (a combination of both) my artwork adds a third temporal stream: the future already devastated.
Metropolis Experiment is a premonition, a warning.
Metropolis Experiment II is actually part of a larger work, Metropolis Experiment, which will be shown at AirSpace Projects 2-17 June 2017.
This sculpture is the unholy love child of an architectural model and a chemistry trial gone horribly wrong: it’s a ruined model city, a metaphor.
Metropolis Experiment is part of my third recent body of work in my Mapping The Drowned World project which responds to the vivid prognostications of JG Ballard’s 1962 post-apocalyptic sci-fi novel, The Drowned World.
This the fourth map I’ve made as part of my Mapping The Drowned World project, inspired by JG Ballard’s novel The Drowned World.
Maps are always staking a claim or making a point. Far from being an endeavour of pure science, they are political and cultural tools. They frequently represent power and the domination of both people and places.
Maps are artefacts deeply embedded in the cultures that make them and the conditions of their time. And my Drowned World maps are no exception.
In my Drowned World series of drawings I transpose a predicted ocean level rise of 70 meters on to maps of the world. These artworks picture planetary geography re-shaped in a way that echoes Ballard’s science fictional vision of The Drowned World, but they are also grounded in the real.
This map took approx 25 hours of drawing, August – December 2016
The time-consuming nature of these works is a deliberate strategy which points to our complicity in creating our current climate crisis.
This catastrophe did not just happen: it took centuries of dedicated labour, ruthless exploitation of the natural environment, manic consumerism, and blatant disregard for the consequences of our actions to reach this moment in time.
The Buckminster Fuller projection was created in 1943.
Post-Premonistionism 2 is a sequel. It is my second sculptural response to JG Ballard’s novel The Drowned World. This work was installed during the group exhibition I coordinated, Mapping The Drowned World.
Thanks to its scale, Post-Premonitionism 2 draws on the conceptual qualities of architectural models, as well as ruins, in order to make a point. Architectural models are inherently aspirational. They embody potential, physically manifested, but not quite realised. They represent the future, while ruins ellicit a temporal slippage between the past and the present. But as a model city, my artwork adds a third temporal stream: the future already devastated.
Model cities are conventionally displayed so that the viewer takes a ‘god’s eye view’ like a triumphant ruler surveying his domain. In my work, the ruined city is positioned at eye height, precariously balanced on salty peaks of vaguely anthropomorphic volume, emphasising our complicity in creating this ruined future. Like Ballard’s novel, my ruined city is a warning.
Installation shots from Mapping The Drowned World. Six artists responded to JG Ballard’s novel, The Drowned World
Mapping The Drowned World
Coordinated by Tracey Clement
8-31 October 2015
READ the ‘Mapping The Drowned World’ catalogue on ISSUU.
See my Drowned World maps in the group show Future Stratigraphy, 6-29 October 2016, at SCA Galleries, Sydney.
The Eckert projection was created in 1906. My map took approx 21 hours of drawing, February – June 2016
This the third map I’ve made as part of my Mapping The Drowned World project, inspired by JG Ballard’s novel The Drowned World.
WATCH Tracey Clement create Drowned World: Bonne Projection. 30 hours of drawing compressed into 2 minutes.
This map is part of my broader PhD project, Mapping The Drowned World. It is the second map I’ve completed.
JG Ballard’s post-apocalyptic novel, The Drowned World was written in 1962 during the Cold War, yet it reads like a prescient vision of our current climate crisis.
As a bridge between the end-of-the world fears of the recent past and current anxieties, The Drowned World is a potentially rich source of inspiration for contemporary artists.
In the group exhibition, Mapping The Drowned World, six Australian artists respond to thought provoking themes and imagery from Ballard’s novel.
Mapping The Drowned World
Coordinated by Tracey Clement
8-31 October 2015
Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney, Balmain Road, Rozelle
Hours: Monday to Friday 11am-5pm; Saturday 11am to 4pm
Opening night: 7 October 6-8pm
‘Soon it would be too hot.’
This is the first line of J.G. Ballard’s sci-fi novel, The Drowned World.
My current PhD research is driven by the key question: In what ways have contemporary artists responded to Ballard’s novel and what issues do they raise?
With this in mind, I have invited 5 Australian artists: Gosia Wlodarczak, Jon Cattapan, Janet Tavener, Roy Ananda and Kate Mitchell, to join me in making artwork in response to imagery and themes found in The Drowned World (TDW).
This group exhibition, Mapping The Drowned World, will be held at SCA Galleries: October 8-31, 2015.
Opening: Wednesday, October 7, 6-8pm.
Written in 1962, during the perpetual slow-burning crisis of the Cold War, The Drowned World reads like a prescient vision of climate change.
As a bridge between the post-war apocalyptic fears of the recent past and current eschatological anxieties, The Drowned World (TDW) is a potentially rich source of inspiration for contemporary artists.
The work in progress above is my second response to this novel. The first can be seen here.
Big isn’t always better
Plastic City represents the annual consumption of one individual. The miniature buildings are made from every plastic container I bought during 2010; they were stored instead of recycled.
The vaguely sci-fi style of the mini city’s ‘architecture’ is an invitation to think about the future. Plastic City embodies a number of timely questions about the types of cities we want to live in, sustainable practice in urban environments and personal responsibility.
Visitors should leave asking themselves, “How big would my Plastic City be?” In this case, bigger isn’t better.
Plastic City highlights the fact that recycling is not enough. We need to choose items that aren’t heavily packaged. We need to use less and re-use, not just recycle.
Plastic City was constructed on site over a week at Articulate Project Space, June 19-24, 2012.
The public were invited to visit during the making process and helped to ‘recycle’ the work at the closing event.
In 1+1+=1, I have taken these drawings and reinterpreted them in embroideries (one of the several traditional “women’s work” skills handed down to me by my Mother) and digital prints.
I have also animated three of the drawings using very simple techniques including the construction of handmade flip-books and praxinoscopes.
1+1=1 was a solo exhibition at James Dorahy Project Space, Sydney.
Photos: Embroideries photographed by Richard Glover. Flip-books, praxinoscopes and installation shots by Tracey Clement.
The target is an almost irresistible graphic image. All those concentric rings create a mesmerising visual vortex, drawing the eye dead centre, sucking you in. No wonder the target is a perennial favourite of both pop artists and marketing gurus. The target is also an iconic symbol of man-made violence.
The targets in Paper Trail are part of my ongoing project which explores the toxic legacy of the Enlightenment: the dangerous notion that it is both possible and desirable to dominate nature.
Using a razor blade, outlines of vines and vermin are ‘drawn’ onto ready-made targets, then allowed to spiral out. Breaching the picture plane and occupying 3D space, these organic forms embody nature’s vitality and patient omnipotence.
Paper Trail was first shown as a solo exhibition in 2008, at Peloton, Sydney. In 2009, several of the works were showcased in the emerging artists exhibition, Off the Wall, Art Melbourne, Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne. They were exhibited in 2009 in Tracey Clement: Recent(Hard)Work, Elements Art Gallery, Perth, WA.
Photos: Richard Glover.
Post Premonitionism: What do you do when you have already seen the future? In 1962, JG Ballard’s book, The Drowned World, was a prescient warning; wilfully ignored.
Forty five years later, the causes may be different, but we seem to be spiralling into an ecological melt-down straight out of Ballard’s vision. What do you do when you have already seen the future? Apparently nothing.
In Post Premonitionism, fragile steel structures seem to mimic the skeletal remains of an abandoned city. Twisted, rusty and ephemeral, they eventually will disintegrate completely, vulnerable and helpless against nature’s inexorable power.
I have transposed Ballard’s premonition of The Drowned World on to the reality of Australia; salt takes the place of water in a continent characterised by drought.
Post Premonitionism was a site-specific installation at Groundfloor Gallery, Balmain in 2007. It was my second solo exhibition with the gallery.
Photos: Details 1, 2, 4 & 5, Richard Glover. Details 3, 6 & 7 & installation shots, Tracey Clement.