Mahogany, Imbuia, Pau Marfim, Hakea saligna, escutcheon pins
Sandton Art Gallery, Johannesburg
The organisers of Art and the Internet suggested that I make something that can be touched, -something that came out of my experience with blind people and their response to the many sculptures I had made for their indulgence and management. These sculptures took me to a number of places all over the world in the last year. I felt tossed about like a small pebble, -one flung backwards and forwards across the big pond. The information hinted at in Art and the Internet is likewise ricochetted to far-away places to touch base with people, -very often the same places where I also touched down. To incorporate the blind I decided to use the traditional wooden discus as theme. Apart from the fact that it is tossed about, it is a hand-held object that feels good to the touch as it fits snugly into the palm of the hand. Across its surface I embossed the memory of my own travel-routes and labeled them in Braille.
In the days before the cleft stick and relayed messages we were able to say things to each other only if we were within earshot. We broke our news by being a stone's throw away, and at that distance it was necessary to shout.
The ancient Greeks epitomized their dream to be able to toss things very far by throwing the discus in an athletic event that still forms part of the modern Olympics. A discus is made air-borne by its lenticular shape, -it looks like a lens. In Latin a lens was originally a 'lentil', that disk-like little bean that we throw in the soup. The word is now applied to the lens of the eye and many optical lenses as receptors or transmitters of information. The lens has become a processor of intelligence and information. It is a kind of glorified 'smartie', it vaguely looks like a discus, it 'sweetens' us up and makes us 'smart'. Today's advanced computer disks and satellite dishes enable us to hurl our discus very, very far, -and still, we understand every detail perfectly clear in all parts of the universe.
These disks and loops suggest an explosion as well as implosion, an evolution as well as involution, a giving and receiving of information. They are unique 'eyes' given to the world to look at us; and for us, special 'eyes' to see and know the rest of the world. The lens of our own eye is supported by neural and vascular networks. Homeopaths can tell our state of health by scrutinizing the veins and nerve endings on the eyeball and iris. Likewise, in global communication it is neural paths, trajectories, intersections, coordinates and calibrated graticules that help us to see 'eye to eye'. Marshall McLuhan said that electric circuitry is an extension of the central nervous system. Because of this we 'meet' with the rest of the world in our lounge or study for an aggregatio mentium, a get-together of minds, thus becoming both entangled and liberated by the webs and networks of our own intent.