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‘ Down In the Basement ‘
September 5, 2010, 7:26 pm
Filed under: Emilie Collins

As an artist currently interested in the field of site specific art, residencies strongly appeal to me as they involve an engagement with a given space, culminating in a response which can take many forms. The whole appeal of site specific art to me is the unpredictability of the result, each artist responding to a place in their own way, developing their own train of thoughts and possibly revealing or highlighting something different about a place, or raising an unusual or unspoken issue.

I tend to base my ideas upon a direct reaction to a place pushed further by research and experimentation, usually going with my first thoughts or feelings, which, more often than not, prove themselves to be the most effective.

A previous residency took place in the botanical glass house in Roath Park, where I suspended an average of one hundred and ten glass beads from the plants throughout the place. The work raised concerns with the preservation of natural resources as the conservatory is a place where many people go to observe tropical plants that are subjected to extinction. It was inspired by water, our most precious resource, which is abundant in the tropical forest under the form of rain and used abundantly in the conservatory to nourish the flora.

Working in such an overwhelming place as the conservatory called for a subtle intervention. By creating raindrop shaped glass beads and suspending them to the plants, my aim was to create such a piece as an intervention which would encourage the public to ponder/reflect upon the preservation of natural resources – whether water, plants, etc…- as tiny drops would condensate upon this ‘static rain’ of glass beads.

‘ Down in the Basement’ conjures up images of a creature or spirit lurking in the shadows as the basement; as a generic term in the collective unconscious; bears strong connotations to childhood fears or anxieties. True to form, The Basement in Milkwood is an ambiguous place as it is at the same time located under Roath’s friendly, community orientated gallery whilst being cold, damp and seemingly cut from the exterior world.

My aim is to create a piece of work that will follow and enhance this ambiguity to make the viewer both amused and uncomfortable whilst raising questions about our relationship to fallen hair, ‘ others ‘ as well as the value and function of everyday objects.

Many thanks to Sands Hairdressing & Beauty for their help

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