KIAN BENSON BAILES DISCUSSES HIS SCULPTURAL AND DIGITAL FABRICATION METHODS.
I became interested in identity politics in second year of my Visual Arts Practice degree at IADT Dún Laoghaire. Terms like ‘appropriation’ had begun to penetrate the pop culture sphere, which caused me to evaluate the work I was making in terms of my own cultural perspective. My practice has become an extension of the types of socio-political commentary that have become increasingly prevalent throughout the internet via social media and the public sphere. The internet is a particularly pertinent platform because it offers itself as a vehicle for research, while also providing its own kind of spatial interventions.
Historical art movements such as Arte Povera encapsulated ideologies regarding art and the everyday, defined by Italian art historian, Germano Celant, in terms of people against systems. The system he speaks of falls in line with many concerns regarding present and future assimilation and commodification of queer bodies. When Celant states (with regards to art production) that “each of his gestures has to be absolutely consistent with his behaviour in the past and has to foreshadow his future”, he highlights a tendency towards defining intangible ideas, people and gestures relative to historical contexts – a concern widely shared by queer theorists.1 Such concepts resonate with my own interest in making and are particularly relevant to postmodern notions of the everyday, whereby computers and digital spaces have become primary models of communicating and recording, generating vast archives of personal data – uploaded to clouds and easily accessible from anywhere that has an internet connection.
For me, the repositioning of these historical narratives inside a queer framework has become interesting, based on a capacity to subvert and to create new narratives. Where queer theory practices see understandings of the term as relative to history, it is constantly being defined and redefined as that narrative progresses. The type of assemblage techniques that underpin my two-dimensional research and digital collages, echo the same process interests found within my sculptural assemblages. Compounding the two approaches has expanded my ideas about image deconstruction and reconstruction. Judy Chicago’s installation, The Dinner Party (1979), is a pointed reference for my work, based on how the piece wrote a new historical narrative by placing a certain value on kitsch over the aesthetic object. Documenting the process of making a physical sculpture and deconstructing it through collage techniques; reconstructing and printing this form as another physical object – this amounts to an aesthetic investigation of how we read images and objects. It also questions whether the documentation of process embodies the transience of queer culture more apparently than a finished artwork. Continue reading “Spatial Assemblage”