Memories of Venice

"Intuition is neither a feeling, an inspiration, nor a disorderly sympathy, but a fully developed method." (Gilles Deleuze)


Inspired by the Brazilian artist Lygia Clark and her artworks featuring relational meshes, moebius strips and moving bodies, the artist locates the basketball mesh as a canvas upon which to explore a program of research-creation.

The mesh is actually a symmetrical grid whose striations link together at every knotty intersection. The immediate intuition is to cut it vertically down one side and lay it flat on the table, before giving the half-twist-and-reconnect required to form a moebius strip. The basketball mesh has now become a moebius mesh.


Since the mesh is mass-produced in Taiwan with fibres made of synthetic nylon, the act of reconnection is accomplished by melting the severed ends together with a disposable butane lighter. Most cuts are treated; the ends are charred; bits of hot liquid nylon stick to the artist's fingers. The air is toxic.

Consider this intuitive operation to have been a stainless steel incision and cauterization inflicted upon a moebius topology that recognizes scant distinction between subject and object positions. Consider it to have been surgery.


The artist acquires a second mesh canvas upon which to experiment. This time, however, the intuition is to take a spool of brightly coloured thread and begin to wrap it around the synthetic nylon fibre. Around and around, always in a clockwise fashion around the girth of the mesh.


The artist stays in one segment of the basketball mesh, between two knots, for an indeterminate number of revolutions until it is felt time to move on. The thread is then wrapped around the knot and into the next segment, and so on until that particular spool is exhausted. Another colour begins and the psychogeographical drift through the segments of the mesh continues. The surgical cut is not permitted.

Sometimes the thread is wrapped loosely while at other times it is pulled tight, perhaps too tight. Interesting patterns of coloured thread and synthetic fibre begin to emerge. The girth of the meshwork is transformed with every turn, while trails from the end of a spool hang loosely in suspension. At other times the different coloured threads blend together, the beginning of a new colour overlapping where another had previously been.

As the process continues to unfold different techniques emerge, each with their own unique outcomes: thicknesses begin to grow; strategies to anchor a thread are developed; tensors attempt to leap across the chasms separating the various mesh segments. The architectural platform around which the threads are bound modulates its shape in reply. The relational tempo is slowed down dramatically, gesture becomes more pronounced. Consider this intuitive process to have been shibari.


The artist has the sense that the first piece remains incomplete. A long piece of brilliant ruby thread hangs from the second. Part of this excess is cut off with a pair of scissors and snipped into smaller segments, which are then tied into tiny tourniquets just above those cuts on the first mesh that remain untreated: brilliant ruby red bows complete the first sculpture. The severed thread on the second sculpture is not cauterized, meanwhile, its trauma remaining open-ended instead.


One response to Memories of Venice

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  1. sportsBabel » When is Finitude? says:

    [...] is fatigued. Et is fatigued by the very weight of its relational basketball meshes. But this weight — the weight of communication — is also a weight we enjoy bearing from [...]