Category: Mapping The Drowned World

Metropolis Experiment

Tracey Clement, ‘Metropolis Experiment,’ 2016-17, rusty steel, salt, laboratory glass, cotton, dimensions variable (max height 200cm). Photo T. Clement.

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.

Tracey Clement, 'Metropolis Experiment,' 2016-17, rusty steel, salt, laboratory glass, cotton, dimensions variable (max height 200cm). Photo T. Clement.

Tracey Clement, ‘Metropolis Experiment,’ 2016-17, rusty steel, salt, laboratory glass, cotton, dimensions variable (max height 200cm). Photo T. Clement.

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

Tracey Clement, ‘Metropolis Experiment II,’ 2016, laboratory glass, salt, rust, dimensions variable (max height 100cm).

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.

It is also my third model city. The previous two are: Post-Premonitionism 2 and Plastic City.

 

Drowned World: Buckminster Fuller Projection

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.

WATCH Tracey Clement create Drowned World: Buckminster Fuller Projection.

Post-Premonitionism 2

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Tracey Clement, Post-Premonitionism 2, 2014-15, salt, rusty steel, cotton, dimensions variable, max height 1.8m.

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.

READ the ‘Mapping The Drowned World’ catalogue on ISSUU.

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.

Mapping The Drowned World installation

 

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Tracey Clement with Post-Premonitionism 2 in Mapping The Drowned World, October 2015.

Installation shots from Mapping The Drowned World. Six artists responded to JG Ballard’s novel, The Drowned World

Exhibiting artists: Roy Ananda, Jon Cattapan, Tracey Clement, Kate Mitchell, Janet Tavener and Gosia Wlodarczak

Mapping The Drowned World
Coordinated by Tracey Clement
8-31 October 2015
SCA Galleries
READ the ‘Mapping The Drowned World’ catalogue on ISSUU.

Drowned World: Eckert Projection

WATCH Tracey Clement create Drowned World: Eckert Projection.

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.

 

Drowned World: Bonne Projection

Post-Premonitionism 2: work in progress videos

Post-Premonitionism 2 is part of my broader Mapping The Drowned World project in which I respond to the vivid prognostications in JG Ballard’s novel, The Drowned World.

READ the catalogue for Mapping The Drowned World, the group exhibition I coordinated for SCA Galleries, 8-31 October 2015.

Each of the salt cones in Post-Premonitionism 2 takes about 3 months to construct from start to finish.

Tracey Clement, 'Post-Premonitionism 2,' work in progress, 18 Feb 2015.

Tracey Clement, ‘Post-Premonitionism 2,’ work in progress, 18 Feb 2015.

The first step is to make a cone from a flat sheet of fabric.

Tracey Clement, 'Post-Premonitionism 2,' work in progress, 18 July – 27 Sept 2015.

Tracey Clement, ‘Post-Premonitionism 2,’ work in progress, 18 July – 27 Sept 2015.

The cones are then strung up, the steel structures are stitched in and the whole thing is soaked with super-saturated salt solution.

This timelapse was shot without a tripod so things move around wildly. This version is all about the buckets!

Tracey Clement, 'Post-Premonitionism 2,' work in progress, 18 July – 27 Sept 2015.

Tracey Clement, ‘Post-Premonitionism 2,’ work in progress, 18 July – 27 Sept 2015.

This version is slightly steadier and concentrates on watching the rust develop.

Tracey Clement, 'Post-Premonitionism 2,' 2015, salt, rusty steel, cotton, dimensions variable, 36 units, height 80-190cm ea. Courtesy: the artist. Installed over 2 days, 3-4 October 2015.

Tracey Clement, ‘Post-Premonitionism 2,’ 2015, salt, rusty steel, cotton, dimensions variable, 36 units, height 80-190cm ea. Courtesy: the artist. Installed over 2 days, 3-4 October 2015.

125+ kilograms of salt crystals were added to the sculpture in this installation.

Click HERE for more info and more work in progress stills.

READ the catalogue for Mapping The Drowned World, the group exhibition I coordinated for SCA Galleries, 8-31 October 2015.

Drowned World: Petermann Star Projection

Post-Premonitionism 2 installation video

Mapping The Drowned World: October 8-31, 2015

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.

Exhibiting artists: Roy Ananda, Jon Cattapan, Tracey Clement, Kate Mitchell, Janet Tavener and Gosia Wlodarczak

Mapping The Drowned World
Coordinated by Tracey Clement
8-31 October 2015
SCA Galleries
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

READ the ‘Mapping The Drowned World’ catalogue on ISSUU.

Beatrice Dahl: JG Ballard’s Hidden Heroine?

Beatrice, as we find her in the novel, reads like a character custom built to be played by Karen Black in her 1970s prime.

Beatrice, as we find her in the novel, reads like a character custom built to be played by Karen Black in her 1970s prime. Graphic by Peter Burgess.

I am presenting this paper at the annual Science Fiction Research Association (SFRA) conference at SUNY Stonybrook, NY, June 25-27, 2015.

Abstract: JG Ballard is not known for his sensitive or nuanced portrayal of women. Yet in this paper I will pose the question: If we re-examine his classic 1962 novel, The Drowned World, can we find a powerful and admirable female character in the form of Beatrice Dahl?

In order to answer this question I will read between the lines of this canonical Science Fiction text to expose Beatrice’s hitherto marginalized history and liminal strength.

I will carefully mine the actual text for clues, then, using a strategy employed by both fan-fiction and post-colonial literature (see for example Peter Carey’s Jack Maggs and The Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys), I will write an imaginary chapter into the existing plot framework of The Drowned World in order to reveal the complexity of Beatrice’s character.

Read my complete ‘missing’ Chapter 3.5  here:

The Penthouse Pool_Tracey Clement

 

Mapping The Drowned World: Work in Progress

Tracey Clement with TDW work in progress, 2014, salt, rusty steel, cotton, dimensions variable.

Tracey Clement with M-TDW work in progress, 2014, salt, rusty steel, cotton, dimensions variable.

‘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.