Tropical Ocean (Crit Exhibition Outcome):
The whole concept of this work came form the idea of projecting the ideal onto that which was certainly not itself ideal. The idea of “dead statues” (a statue, which has lost its original significance and become reduced to a museum object) and the idea of the loss of function of objects also influence my practice.
I decided to take the generic, readymade, object of the sink and strip it of its function. Which got me to think about where does this occur in the world already? The answer of course is in Showrooms. Where these pristine, idealistic, fake rooms are erected in order to project onto you what your bathroom could look like, if only you were willing to pay the extortionate price tag that is oh so conveniently missing from the display. The objects in these showrooms have no purpose other than to sell. They are not functional and often poorly fitted into the space not made to last. What I was trying to achieve is to not only strip the sink of its primary function like these showrooms do, but also to take away this secondary function formed by showrooms by making it undesirable and un functional.In order to achieve this I wanted to effectively create a non idealistic, showroom set up, that looked poorly installed and dirty, the kind of set up that no one would ‘ideally’ want in there home. Everything I installed was not made to last, I took short cuts like backing the tiles on hardboard and using non waterproof sealant.
I did not install a tap and plugged the drain with everyday disposable towel. I wanted to make it look like a half arsed attempt at construction that was not finished and just left. To highlight the fact the sink did not hold its function, I poured a disgusting brown liquid ( Dr Pepper) into the sink and allowed it to stain the basin and drip onto the floor. I wish I had made it more disgusting and undesirable, growing mould and maybe even creating a foul smell. Tropical Ocean is the shade of paint used in this installation. I wanted to matched it to the generic bathroom colours around Uni, I took a few swatches and ended up matching the colour to this. The colour is bright and garish, a colour that should/could only be used in bathrooms. the cool tones of the paint make the room unwelcoming and harsh (contrasting to the clinical, bright, white of the sink.) The name of the paint ‘tropical ocean’ however suggests the colour is exciting, bold and playful which given a different context it could be.
The attention to detail became important, everything had to look purposeful. The finish although made to look shabby and poorly installed had to be planned and elements like the silicon filler where necessary to cement its reality. This was also important with the projection, the set up of the projector needed to be considered, I did not want to simply place the projector of the floor or on a ‘studio white’ plinth just for the ease it would create. I wanted the projector to become part of the work so I painted and tiled the plinth in order to attempt to make it look like a fragment of this fabricated bathroom. In retrospect I should have hidden the projector inside the plinth itself.
The video itself is very monochrome, boring and uninspiring, in contrast to the function of the showroom sinks that seek to inspire home-owners to create likenesses to these scenes in their homes. The speed of the video was important to me I wanted the image to be still long enough for the viewer to recognise the subject but not long enough to take in the whole image. By repeating the same 20ish images over and over I wanted to simulate the repetition we see in these showroom, the same items displayed over and over in different combinations and with trinkets and accessories to dress them up. I feel there should have been more consideration in the video element when it came to framing, the plug hole in each image shifts position, I think there would have been more impact if I had framed it so the plug as constantly in the middle of the frame ( like David Batchelor’s Found Monochromes) as this would have emphasised the idea that these ‘showrooms’ where so similar and banal. There was potential also for sound, I had intended to add the occasional dripping sound, that would contradict the absence of a tap. However I did not want there to be too many elements to the piece as I thought that might distract for its purpose.
The piece itself consists of two elements that if one of which were absent the overall experience would not be the same. The video animates the object of the sink framing it and creating distance to the piece. The projection creates a barrier that the viewer does not want to step over and distort the projection, stopping them from interacting with the sink. I am not sure weather this is an element that works, I like the intrigue that it causes but I don’t know weather some of the impact of the object is lost by reducing it to this 2D ‘screen’ for the projection.