Material Uncertainty

WITH NEWLY COMMISSIONED WORK FOR EVA INTERNATIONAL 2018 ON THE HORIZON, MATT PACKER SITS DOWN WITH JOHN RAINEY TO DISCUSS THE TRAJECTORY OF HIS SCULPTURAL PRACTICE.

Matt Packer: Can you describe how your background in the medium of ceramics continues to inform your work?

John Rainey: Production and imitation are aspects of the ceramic discipline that continue to be particularly important within my work. However, my curiosity about how things are made, and my compulsion to physically produce things, predates my training in ceramics. For me, processes and skills feel very enabling. I have a need to constantly examine and improve on this technical capacity, which is what drives me forward. My interest in materials has always been broad, but I see my experience in ceramics as a good anchoring point that I can deviate from and return to. In a similar way to how people describe the process of learning languages, I think that my understanding of this material allows me to easily adopt novel materials. Continue reading “Material Uncertainty”

Mind-Controlling Images

MATT PACKER AND ALISSA KLEIST DISCUSS ‘SCISSORS CUT PAPER WRAP STONE’, A TOURING EXHIBITION BY CCA DERRY-LONDONDERRY.

LIKE many curators (and indeed, artists) we often develop ideas by thinking through references or historical incidences that have little to do with contemporary art from the outset. ‘Scissors Cut Paper Wrap Stone’ is a case in point: an exhibition that developed from our discovery of a science fiction novel written in 1994 by author Ian McDonald. The novel led us to understand a rich history of sci-fi produced in Northern Ireland, of which Ian McDonald is a part. He is one in a long line of authors dating back to the late nineteenth century that obviously coincided with considerable political, industrial and cultural change over the intervening years. Given the region’s difficult past (and equally uncertain future), it makes sense that a history of science fiction literature exists in Northern Ireland. With its characteristic conjuring of alternative worlds, new life-forms and imaginative re-workings of everyday life, science fiction might be described as an act of ‘cognitive estrangement’ that allows us to re-approach the conditions of our society.

Continue reading “Mind-Controlling Images”