Following on from my last two posts (Goethean Observation: Pilgrims of the Wild, 1935 and Empathy/Exchange: 668 grams) I have begun a collaboration with artist Lucy Gresley. Lucy took the weight of the book – Pilgrims of the Wild – and weighed out three pieces of clay at 668 grams. She then fired the clay and sent me the image below with the weights of the pieces post-firing.
I hadn’t considered the idea that the clay would lose weight, but that lost weight is what interests me the most, especially given what I’ve been trying to do with this piece.
This piece is about empathy and in particular the ability to empathise with someone who is long since dead.
With history, the past is revealed to us through objects (like Lucy’s bowl); fragments of the world to which they once belonged. Much of that world is of course lost to us – the ‘nowness’ of what was then the present – and yet it‘s that we need to somehow ‘reclaim’ in order to empathise with a past event and the people who experienced it.
With the bowl (ii), 225 grams has been lost, and that lost weight can be seen as representing that vanished part of the past which made the past the present; it’s ‘nowness’.
So how can I respond in turn to this missing 225 grams? That will be the next stage.