At Arms Length:
A Residency Project at Atelierhaus Beisinghoff
“Let’s build a bigger telescope so we can see things more up close, further away from where we really are,” sings musician Michael Franti in his song Water Pistol Man. These lyrics returned to me when I began thinking about the work I might make during my current residency at Atelierhaus Beisinghoff in Rhoden Germany. As a sculptor my work has often been concerned with human constructions of space and place and how we make meaning from our relationship to the world around us. Lately I’ve come to ponder the way that industrialised cultures increasingly seem to experience the world via virtual mediums. I wanted to explore what this might mean for the way we view the world and our place in it. To this end, I decided to buy a pocket field microscope to take to my residency and find out what happens when one views common objects through a lens such as a camera, telescope or in this case a microscope. I have discovered that privileging the visual sensory experience over other senses and viewing objects in isolation removes them from their context, making it difficult to understand how they relate to us and we to them. Through the lens of the microscope a flower or feather may look beautiful but it will certainly appear alien because it no longer has any context. From my field studies I made a series of drawings that later became etching plates and have now further developed into a series of colour prints called At Arms Length.
These works will be exhibited, at Atelierhaus Beisinghoff upon completion of my residency and also in Australia later in the year. For further information about my work please visit my website www.racheljoyartist.com