By gifting my artwork, I am gifting my labour and the intangible value of creating an art object, which can also be seen as gifting of myself. The reciprocity I am interested in is an engagement with the work by the co-workers by means of dialogue and further emergent processes. Through this process the conceptual meshwork continues to expand and the material nature of the artwork moves from physical art objects to dialogue, as an alternate material form of artwork. This change in materiality occurs in the relations between the giver, receiver and the object as they become entangled. In the context of this project, artwork is gifted between humans within the mesh.
The gift is utilized as a catalyst for social relations between humans within the project. There are two forms of gifting
- Gifting of physical objects
In the office space
The purpose of ‘gifting’ is to evoke a ‘potential for a different economy’ as described by Erin Manning in ‘Thought in the Act’ by Manning and Massumi (2014) (p104). To engage the co-workers directly, a set of gifts were created. These objects were derived from the negative spaces remaining from the summer solstice intervention. The sun lit shapes that penetrated the sphere onto the wall were traced.
These tracings were then increased or reduced in size to an average common area, flattening any hierarchy. The material used was raw milled cedar a construction material familiar to this group of co-workers. The gifts brought nature into the office, both as a natural material by texture and smell and by their ‘ephemeral made static’ form as a result of the shadow and light projection.
I ‘gifted’ the hand made, hand sized objects to the co-workers with an explanation by email of their origins and that they were a gift to the co-workers. I informed them that I would photograph the objects in situ, after which they could be removed (to home/the bin/ wherever).
One co-worker drew on her gifts and kept them among her work. Gradually others took part in refashioning the gifts. The co-workers became the artists.
The intent of this intervention was to engage in new forms of knowing for the artist and the co-workers in relation with the objects and each other. This intervention increased the range of interconnectedness of the meshwork developing as a result of Anthropocene Interventions. This process of heightened aesthetic and material awareness can be understood through Estelle Barrett’s ideas on ‘emergent processes’ whereby ‘knowledge occurs as material process through interaction and action’ (Barrett 2013, p64).
The gifting as part of ArtCOP21 takes the relational development of the meshwork beyond the interactions occurring in the office space into a broader community. I took part in the cultural festival called ArtCOP21 which was arranged in conjunction with COP21 the Environmental Conference held in Paris in December 2015. The event/action expands Anthropocene Interventions beyond the site of the office into the public arena. This has the potential to expand the mesh of relations of information around Anthropocene Interventions.
I gifted objects to people in Paris during the COP21 conference in the streets, in cafes and on trains. The event/action I organised comprised the gifting of new ‘things’ that were palm sized, laser cut laminated bamboo. The shape was a tracing of the external shadow, cast by the marquette of the larger sculptural object constructed in the studio back in Melbourne.
I explained the project to people hoping they would accept the gift, view the website and upload a photo of their gift in its new home/site using #antint and @artcop21
This gift emerged from the process of development of the Anthropocene Interventions sphere.
The maquette of the sphere was constructed and a light source shone onto the suspended maquette. The outline shadow of the maquette was traced and this line becomes the edge of the laser cut object. The text attempts to engage humans with the project through social media.
2. Gifting of labour and time
Throughout Anthropocene Interventions I and moving forward into Anthropocene Interventions II, I continue to attend the office to make and install artwork. My role has developed into that of artist in residence, however there is no financial transaction. I do not pay to be there and am not paid. I provide all my own materials and install at my expense.
My research continues to question the relationships that develop as part of the mesh between the gift, the artist and the co-workers.
Barrett, E & Bolt, B 2013, Carnal Knowledge: Towards a ‘New Materialism’ through the Arts, I.B.Taurus, London, New York.