PLIABLE (Norwich University of the Arts Degree Show)
various fabrics, rice, flour, sugar, Polystyrene balls and fastenings.
“Even the hand has its dreams and assumptions. It helps us understand the innermost essence of matter. That is why it also helps us imagine [form of] matter”. (Gaston Bachelard)
Ruth Harris creates an immersive environment where the audience is encouraged to participate by manipulating the space. Developing from previous work specifically for the audience of the blind and visually-impaired, her practice now focuses on the sensory elements of touch and sight. She uses a range of soft and smooth fabrics to form multiple hanging ‘pods’ filled with various substances to create different textures and weights. Fastenings are attached within the pods’ seams, allowing the viewer to participate by connecting and reconnecting them carefully. Her installation challenges preconceptions, as sight is usually the dominant sense. Harris attempts to question whether touch before sight can enhance the viewer’s experience.
Palpable was a temporary installation. In this space was lots of fabric pods made out of a variety of materials such as lycra, PVC, suede, fluffy jersey, silk jersey and satin. All of which were filled with different fillings of flour, sugar, rice and polystyrene balls. This gave all the pods different textures and created sensory feelings when touched. The space is immersive, and intriguing. The viewer is encouraged to come into the space and play, touch, feel whilst connecting and reconnecting the pod using the poppers and the hook and eye fastenings. The viewer can manipulate the space in whichever way they please.
Haptic and Optic
An exhibition called Haptic and Optic was work that was made for a specific audience of the blind and visually impaired. A collection of braille influenced pieces placed in the audiences location of the NNAB, Norwich and Norfolk Association for the Blind. Making work specifically for the blind and visually impaired but also aesthetically pleasing for the sighted. This exhibition run over a couple of days in the centre and had a rang of people see and feel all the works. All the work can be felt by the audience, challenging the element of touching artworks in a gallery/exhibition situation. Art for the blind and visually impaired is a very rare thing to see in a gallery space and this is why Haptic and Optic was an unusual but also rewarding exhibition for all involved.
When I first started thinking about the concept of making art that was for the blind but also aesthetically pleasing for the sighted, I decided to experiment with materials. This started with using braille paper and manipulating it, casting it in clear plastic. I thought about different eye conditions such as cataracts, tunnel vision etc, which could translate with the materials being used. This developed into more sustainable materials such as plaster, aluminum and bronze. Creating works that became valuable and unusual to be touched for the blind. Doing this caused value of the works, as braille is not normally printed or read onto plastics or metals. The blind and visually impaired can recognise value through touch as it is their main source to understanding the world around them.
through research and development into material and knowledge caused the purpose of making these work came to surface. I have challenged the fact of braille dying out and is not being used as it should or as much as it should anymore, causing the blind community to not be as independent as they may like to be. I also challenge the lack of people knowing braille as it is a silent unspoken language that is ignored. Making art out of braille is a ignorant statement of how society today has no input into keeping this language alive.
No Working Title
"What happens in No Working Title: 10 year two students are selected from each institution involved. Each student is paired with another from one of the other colleges. With their own practice at the centre of the process, each student devises a set of instructions that enables their partner to make a piece of work. The instructions take many forms and are sent by various means, including email, mobile phone, post and Facebook. On receiving their instructions, each person carefully follows the specifics of their partner’s request to make the work. Communication is limited to the issuing of instructions only. After a two-week period of realizing the works they are all packaged for transport to London where partners and works meet for the first time. A critique / debate surrounding this pop-up exhibition is chaired by an international curator. For students and staff alike, it is a challenging process that calls into question important issues around provenance, control, duty and ego. It encourages a dialogue about art in which ideas are primary and are communicated and interpreted through verbal and non-verbal language." - No working title http://www.noworkingtitle.co.uk/about/
British Art Show 8 Takeover
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