Joseph Strang (He/Him)
Recently I have been trying to think about the production and dissemination of familial and institutional memories and how fictions can effect the felt experience of a particular space.
My work is a speculative process of learning, writing and repositioning that attempts to explore how an embodied research process can bleed into everyday life, proposing that it is here, in the immersion of one’s conditions, that research transforms from an investigative impulse to the constitution of new realities.
I am interested in using writing to create spaces and objects that are defined by their semantic flexibility and thus operate in conflict with the contexts in which they are situated. In unraveling the binding that holds together a space and its named positions, histories, and memories, I hope to create a polysemic ‘thing’ that is neither real nor imagined, and thus poses a challenge to any previously understood notion of what said space could potentially be.
The Graveyard/The Students
The Graveyard/The Students exists symbiotically as both a written script and a sculptural presence. Inside the space is a set of six, white MDF walls that would usually act as studio dividers and separate the art school classrooms into individual workspaces, the walls appear to be falling inwards and it is unclear as to how they are supported, if they will stay up, and what rules they are adhering to. There is a light source emanating from inside the walls and small cracks allow the glow to escape into the dark space. The walls are surrounded by dark, ghostly figures, with speakers for eyes, that call out to the space longingly with the words of the written script.
We are told by an omniscient narrator that what follows (in the script) “(…)Is a transcript of an attempt between three students to conduct what is understood to be a ‘group crit’. In doing so they (the students) find themselves attempting to work out a context, definition, and a history for what they are seeing, and become unsure of their separation from the object and space in question. The students fluctuate between addressing one another and addressing the individual who has selected them. It is unclear the role this silent authority fulfils, but one assumes it is not dissimilar to that of a tutor or person of influence within the institutional framework.”
In attempting to work out where they are and why they are there, the students decide to tell stories about the space, and begin to imagine new memories that might piece together a history for the space and object hidden within. However, in doing so, the students quickly become unable to distinguish between themselves and the space, and become one with the work. The speakers, ghostly, black, and stuck in a repeating cycle of telling the same story, are – we assume – what remains of the students: a ghostly manifestation of what happens when fictions become part of the felt experience of a space.