My experiments show a strong ‘drift’ in ‘proprioception’ as the experiment progresses, this is the Sense which allows us to be able to know where our body or parts of it are. I asked people to locate the position of their index finger under a platform after embodying a clay object. And also draw their hand blind afterwards.
The experiment shows how reactive and plastic this internal sense of body position and shape is.
As an art student, I became interested in the transformative power of the gallery and the simple mechanism of the plinth, literally elevating an object placed upon it to the status of art. I wanted to explore how these mechanisms affect the way people look at things and behave in the gallery. Artists are in a unique position, being able to play with assumptions and expectations, a certain state of perception, one assumes on entering the gallery space, a readiness to look closely and absorb. Potentially reading meaning into things they would otherwise consider banal.
‘Plinth [with unseeable object]’ 1998 is probably my oldest if not the first, conceptual work I made at art school, but the ideas around it still resonate deeply with my practice. ‘Plinth [with unseeable object]’ was aparadoxical device that was able to display an object, whilst also being able to automatically conceal it if anyone entered the room or approached the plinth.
I found this idea amusing, but the more I thought about it, and the more people said it would be too difficult to do, the more appealing the idea became. At the time I was studying sculpture and making kinetic work with mechanical and motorised elements. Enjoying this new found access to electrical and mechanical parts and metal working tools, this became my first real engineering problem. It was also my first plinth, made on a budget from cheap chipboard. It took days of sanding and repainting to get it perfectly smooth. To this day I still spend hours making the most perfect plinths possible, the idea being, that ultimately the plinth becomes invisible, highlighting the work on-top, while in reality, the plinth is as important to the work, as the object placed upon it.
I devised a mechanism with a motor, a series of sensors, relays, and timing mechanisms, to open a hatch, through which an object could emerge. A movement sensor ensured that when anyone entered the space the object would rapidly retract, only to emerge later when no one was in the space. Perhaps on entering the space, one might catch a glimpse of movement, something retracting, or hear mechanical click and whine as the mechanism concealed itself.
I took dark pleasure in watching from a distance, people standing next to the plinth motionlessly waiting for something to happen, to see if it was possible to trick the movement sensors. The mechanism ensured that you would not see the object unless you waited motionless for 15 minutes, and no one else entered the room. The hidden object; a shiny abstract aluminium form chosen purely to gleam and capture attention from a distance.
Obviously many people walked past the work, perhaps perceiving only in a peripheral sense, the absence of a thing, or a space unoccupied.I took away an important lesson from this work; what began as a simple investigation into the dynamics of the gallery environment and a technical challenge, led to a realisation of the subtle power of what is not shown. And how the viewer can unwittingly interact with a system and become part of the work, becoming an active participant.
What seemed like a rebellious act for me at the time, is a recurrent theme in art history; the archetypical void of nothingness, the absence of material objects; a powerful undercurrent in conceptual art, making the viewer reflect on their own role in the experience and perception of the work of art.
In making this work I developed an interest in working with the environment of the art gallery, using this more like a laboratory of experience. Currently, in my research, I want to investigate this area and explore this notion of ‘perceptual art’, artists working with pure experience, and illusion; work that is activated through human behaviour and interaction. A discussion I hope to elaborate on through this blog.
Below I have listed some key works, early predecessors which built foundations for a movement towards more intangible, immaterial and sensory artworks:
See also posts on Somaesthetics See post on ‘Unseen by the artist’ [Lost work] 1999 Key historical works on the theme of nothingness:
Marcel Duchamp’s ‘Air de Paris’  ‘Ampoule of Parisian ether’, Robert
Rauschenberg’s White Paintings
John Cage’s silent music piece 4′33″ 
Yves Klein’s aura-infused gallery space .
Chris Burden concealed himself within a gallery space on several occasions for durational performances. The simple suggestion of a creative presence, substituting for the work of art itself.
Andy Warhol’s ‘Invisible sculpture’ [an empty plinth]joke on the commercial art world perhaps?
Marina Abramovich, James Turrel’s light works, Tom Friedman’s ‘1000 Hours of Staring’
10/2012– 01/2013 Enki [Solo show] Kapellica Gallery, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Enki experiment 5 Possibly the final showing of the ENKI project
ENKI is a series of experiments in bio-interfacing between humans and certain types of Electrogenic Fish .. Ultimately this is achieved through psycho-acoustic audio and visual entrainment as a means of modulating human emotional state. During this process, bio-electrical activity is monitored and used as a means to create a feedback loop between organisms. The research aims to study the interaction between tiny bio-electrical fields of both species [human and fish] specifically the way in which these fields modulate and the means of controlling them. It also aims to discover if it is possible to create a harmonious state of interaction that can be of benefit to both species, no matter how different.
Enki – 2005 2009 The ENKI project was developed through an Arts Council, International Artists Fellowship, Pepiniere programme, Paris, with Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) France in 2006. Since then it has been continually developing. It has been shown in the UK Europe including, Dutch Electronic Arts Festival, NL, CAAC, Seville, Spain 2007. International Festival of Art /Science /New Technologies, Prague, the European Forum for Emerging Creation Luxembourg and Spectropia08, Riga, Latvia. Most recently in 2009 ‘ENKI Experiment 3’ was commissioned by Arts Catalyst for the show Interspecies.