I’m Pulse Exhibition
Solo Exhibition – The Suter, Nelson – July 2013
About a year ago (July 2012) I was mentally prepared with idea and motivation to begin working on a joint exhibition at the Millennium Art Gallery in Marlborough. As I turned the door handle to my studio to start making the work, a completely different idea flashed into my mind. That work is on these walls.
I can't say I understood it, but the image was so clear that the making of it was unavoidable.
The first pulses came out of the kiln and ideas of brain impulses started to present. Thoughts of the big bang theory being like a brain impulse - all at once and never at all – expanding and contracting in upon itself. Creating this place of light, expressing itself in time, where energy finds substance in matter.
The work developed a little more and the pulses took on ideas of populations: Populations of cells or of people, repeating patterns (and behaviours) in the microcosm and macrocosm. How I am made up of a collection of cells each of which is its own little universe, busy doing what it does by its own impulse.
A block of forty pulses achieved a Merit at the 2012 Portage Ceramic Awards and 125 were shown at the Millennium Art Gallery, but I really wanted to see the work uninterrupted, having a space of its own and to experience the feeling of being immersed in it.
Late 2012 I approached The Suter hoping they may have a space for me in 2014. Much to my surprise and elation I was offered a choice of two spaces mid-2013, requiring a huge amount of work in a relatively short time as the installation required 700 pieces and was achieved in just under 2500 working hours.
What follows are some of the thoughts contained within the work. But because the work arrived to me as it did, I don't feel I will ever know it. It has led me to thoughts, ideas and theories and I expect will continue to do so.
Some vibrations are so tiny that trillions fit on a pinhead while others are so large they encompass a planet and our range of perception too narrow to consciously acknowledge them, but at either end of the spectrum they travel through us, and maybe influence us.
We each have our own distinct vibrational identity.
We are a frequency and move within our own narrow band depending on our mood.
We resonate with some people and not so much with others.
Some people give out a "weird vibe".
We tune into people.
We are transmitting and receiving vibrations/ information constantly.
Energy is in constant motion.
Subatomic particles behave differently when observed than when they are not. They also behave differently when light is placed on them.
Subatomic particles can be in more than one place at the same time.
They can go back in time.
They can change the past.
We are made up of subatomic particles.
Where do I keep my emotional memories - the emotional resonances which affect me on a cellular level? Do I have the ability to influence my cells through my thoughts?
As a child I seldom cried. Recently I was having a massage and the woman was massaging my (heart) side. I said to the woman "I think I'm going to start crying." I cried for about half an hour – without any particular thought attached. The experience made me realise that I hold my emotional memory in my body, not my mind.
If there is a finite amount of matter and a finite amount of energy in the universe then am I a recycled collection of matter and energy which was once part of something else?
And, do the atoms from that matter contain any old memories?
I can shift my awareness around my body, placing it in my hands, in my feet, anywhere. I can also place my awareness outside my body, with loved ones, people or places I know.
If I charge my awareness with a conscious thought what can I affect?
One moonless night, I was lying out on the lawn with a friend gazing up to the stars.
It is often mentioned on such occasions that the light which we are looking at may be from a star which no longer exists. On this occasion those words resonated differently ... I thought, similarly then, any word, deed, action or thought is an energetic vibration leaving me that goes on into the cosmos forever. Like a ripple and that all the space in the universe is filled with a mesh of vibrations, carrying ideas and thoughts, past present and future.
I have a stethoscope.
When I can't sleep, sometimes I get it out and listen to myself.
One night I was fascinated with a background sound in the middle of my chest – not my heart – it sounded like blood pulsing through my veins – strong and regular, but when I took the stethoscope off I realised it was my husband's snoring.
After my initial disappointment, I liked the idea of sounds resonating within and through me.
Another night I was listening to various parts of myself and was amazed that the loudest place I could find was not my chest, or my stomach, but my head.
The earth sounds amazing through a stethoscope.
I like standing barefoot on the planet – my legs and ribcage being like a tuning fork – receiving and transmitting vibrations through Mother Earth and connecting with every other living thing connected to the planet that's not wearing shoes.
There is energy and there is matter and then there is a life force that connects the two and makes it "go".
A long time ago, perhaps ten years, I was talking with a friend in my gallery when a woman swept in. She didn't look at me to catch my eye, but started working her way around the room, lifting each pot, looking at the price and banging it down. I found myself becoming more and more agitated by her behaviour.
She came to the last pot and almost in slow motion picked it up, turned it over, looked at the price and muttered "tsch, tsch tsch". She then returned the pot to its approximate place with a fairly solid bang.
By now I had become completely distracted and my blood was about to boil. I excused myself from my conversation, turned to the woman and said, "Excuse me madam, what are you tsching at?"
"Your prices. It is very expensive, for very ordinary pottery."
"Perhaps you should go to Briscoes." I responded boldly.
"WHAT DID YOU SAY!!!?"
(now in sheepish tone) "Perhaps you should go to Briscoes."
"BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU SAY. WORDS ARE VERY POWERFUL THINGS. WORD WILL GET OUT ABOUT THE PLACE."
It was such a fabulous event I had to write it down.
About three minutes later another woman who I had never seen before came into the gallery. She loved my work and remarked how reasonably priced it was.
So, I decided that the first woman's message had nothing to do with prices, but everything to do with words. The statement "words are powerful things" is one that I think about on a daily basis.
I decided that the woman was an angel and that I would only really take note and hear that message presented the way it was.
Including sound with the ceramic work became more and more pressing – resonance – had to be an integral aspect of the exhibition as I am also becoming more aware and interested in my own resonance. The sounds are all my own voice.
My husband and I were travelling around the Catlins and came across Janice Wilkes who had a little crystal shop at Nugget Point. When I stood inside I felt as though the room was rocking; like being on a boat.
Janice and I chatted a bit and she invited us in for a cup of tea. In her home it felt like a pulse coming up from underneath the house. I noticed a large crystal singing bowls and commented on it. She said that she used it for sound healing. I hadn't heard of that before and fascinated asked if I could have the experience.
My husband went off to look at a nearby lighthouse and Janice explained that she would use the crystal bowls, the Native American drum, some tuning forks and channel sound. I had no idea of what channelling sound meant. She said that if it got too much for me at any point, I could stand up and because she would be in a trance was to loudly and clearly say "STOP STOP". She held out a handful of crystals for me to pick one.
I knew I was going to love it!
I lay on the floor clutching my crystal and the sounds started, filling the room, moving around the walls, over and through me. Then she started channelling sounds. I had never experienced this before and I found it difficult to hold back the laughter. There was Native American singing, Chinese chatter, Egyptian wailing. I thought how much my friend Toni would love this too. I went below my ego to a place where I could absorb all that was being offered.
I loved it.
I loved it all.
It made me feel very happy.
The next night we stayed with my sister and her partner who were holidaying in the McKenzie Country and I related the whole experience in minute detail .. mimicking the sounds, but, as I did, I realised that they weren't Janice's sounds, they were mine.
Several years ago we adopted a litter of three little wild kittens, had them "fixed", fed them and gave them a warm home. One of the kittens wasn't very well. Winter was coming and we were going on holiday and so invited a friend to house sit for us.
When we returned home to a very cold winter Little One had hardly been seen by our housesitter. One frosty morning I saw her; her hip bones and ribs showing. I picked her up carefully and put her on my knee. Poor little thing, she was so light, there was no weight to her. Not sure what to do I observed her for a while. She had obviously developed a habit of coming up for water and then finding a sunny place to lie. I decided my involvement would become obvious if needed (and rely on the words a vet said to me a year or so earlier when I took a chicken in to be put down, "Fran, if I ever have to be put down, I'd rather be put down a day too late than a day too early. Pick up your chicken and go home.")
A day or so later I woke up, turned to my husband and said "Little One's dead".
We went in search of her and found her underneath the chicken house. I carefully picked her up and was surprised at her weight. She was heavier.
I decided that matter wants to return to matter – (down) not tensioning against gravity with its energy which wants to return to source (up) and that while we are alive we are held in suspension between the two.
There is a culture of the collective - that the collective also behaves as one organism.
I love watching large flocks of starlings in the evening when they create amazing unified moving shapes. Like a dance. It looks like pure pleasure of no longer being the individual. A sense of being a part of a whole, even though they would only experience it from the inside and wouldn't see the amazing spectacle that I have sometimes had the pleasure to witness.
I was watering the garden one sunny afternoon and the hose was on a fine mist. A rainbow appeared within the body of droplets and I wondered at the fact that we live in a rainbow.
Years ago I made large while holey vessels which glow like lanterns when natural light is caught in them. It gave me a clue as to the energy in natural light.
My body is made up of cells, atoms and subatomic particles. Most of which is space. I like the idea that energetic light is caught in them. I also like the thought that because a very large percentage of my body is made of water I also split the spectrum and hold a rainbow within myself.
This installation is made up of 700 pulses.
Initially I had decided that it would contain somewhere between 500 and 800, but I became more fixated on the number 700 and that was the number I was determined to achieve.
During the making of the work I had become very aware of numbers. 222 had kept appearing on the clock, phone numbers, temperatures etc. Having finished the making of the work decided to Google the significance of the numbers 700 and 222.
There were 275 pulses on the long wall, 222 on the back wall and 203 on the floating wall.
The colours relate to energy and matter.
Red relates to blood, or to the matter of us, our organic nature and emotions. The black and white is the on/off – oscillation – vibration - polarity: Both signifying purity; white signifying pure energy; and black, the colour of the void - of possibility - the space that facilitates creation.