How We Enter a Cave I (Materiality) [2016]

(for the publication Apparitions: The Appearance and Disappearance of London Art in the Marble Cave of Gadime, 2016)

“Two bats flying with preternatural precision / from unseen alcove to unseen alcove, alerted / to change by the sound of our voice and footstep. The cave continuing to change / using one of the longest measurements of time / available to our eyes. And in this slow drip morphology / we cannot find a fixture to hang our work / against. We hang our work against / the giant / image of chaos / in / the secretive motions of rock. / And as a consequence the work feels still / calm apparitions floating on the earth-tide.”

“So the cave is intractable?”

“No, surprisingly not. It works with sympathy and support / standing / still with its protective curlicue. It felt homely in some ways.”

“I appreciate a simple gesture.”

“And it is. Even through the encrypted crystalline structures, there is a simplicity, both meditative and clear. So clear that it starts to open the darkness to us, the inside one and the outside one. A leveller, that’s what I’m getting at, compressed blackened truth, like carbon. And in that completeness an acceptance within the elements, you find your thoughts sit on the surface, patterns of light on a slick of oil, drifting on the sea.”

“To be a thought you have to lose a body.”

“And as your body dissolves you are taken in by the thought that doesn’t necessarily hold on to a body. This thought is unpredictable and develops its rhythm without recourse to the order of sense, or at least the limited sense of the body. It confuses remembered sensation, it’s not empirically sound. Cut loose from our experience of reality by the slow structural engineering of tectonics, fusion and erosion, we end up in that vulnerable human place, found in oceans, or ill health, food deprivation, sleep deprivation, sunstroke, boredom, incarceration, aphasia.”

“We end up in the world of hallucination. Scratchy whispers, echoes, stale air, sulphur and unexpected temperatures, all leading halfway to spiritual misunderstanding, fear and frustrated sight.”

“And our own tongue speaks half inside and half outside of our mouths. The ear and the par-concious eye are left with gibberish. This cave-language moves too slowly for us and is not linear. So the dialogue must be taken in its entirety, slowly, a long exposure. Success in this space is well out of our hands, it becomes an embrace of the empty.”

“There is almost a definite contemporary mysticism, coming out of the atomic, and nature’s own constructions of form, way beyond our small concerns of time and energy.”

“Only two dialogues can be certain in here, the time of the cave and its overt structuralism. These condense any work into a flourish, and the condensed work dances across the structure…”

“A space is formed and we / come into that space, with our small systems of / time, our own energy. The scale is / distorted with the immense disproportions. We look at our work / against the cave.”

“…and beyond the two is a confusion of sensory ambiguity, and thought becomes surprisingly loud.”