“I am desperately in need of the bricks All we need is bricks, PLEASE.”

Barbara Hepworth, 1968 Barbara Hepworth, letter to Michael Brawne, 26 February 1968, Tate Archive TGA 965/2/2/65/220.

Documentation of my U3 show, titled ‘For a second I felt I knew something’ (title taken from J.G Ballard’s Vermillion Sands):

Installation images can be found under ‘Installations

Works can be found under ‘Selected work’  

Please also see Proposal for unit 3 show

Working with curator Tom Heatley on ‘For a second I felt I knew something’:

The decision to bring in a curator for this show met several criteria. It helped a personal departure from a zone of making work, into a zone of presenting work - through a controlled distancing from that which I had recently been involved in making*, it fostered a long-awaited collaboration between an admired friend and myself - with whom I have been discussing practice for many years and with whom I plan to make future collaborations, and it steps in the direction of how I wish to continue as I transition out of the University’s programme - working with curators, seeking out collaborations, and opening up to circulating my work in new and informative ways. 

* Duncan Wooldridge said something in a crit that really stuck with me, which was along the lines of... now we are here looking at a work, presented, now we are in a mode of critique, lets no longer think about its intentions or what It is meant to be doing, but rather what it IS doing right here right now.

... Inviting a second pair of [informed] hands to curate my work feels like a crucial step in this direction. I say this because having my work curated is not something new to my practice, but I knew that working with Tom there would be a certain energy and understanding in the collaboration that really is the fruition of many years worth of conversations and shared research. In this way, we were able to play out the game of the work in a process that felt very present, with the knowledge that we were both in tune. Working with Tom, I became seemingly able to treat the works as if they were another's - which I found extremely liberating and which led to fortuitous reactionary experiments such as the combination of 3 separate works into 1 larger work, titled ‘Knights Ascension’ as well as the combination of ‘PVP (Player vs Player)’ + ‘Yellow brick from the yellow brick road’.

‘For a second I felt I knew something’ represents the power of an idea as it is transmitted through plural minds, an idea that is encouraged to germinate, and in this way, the exhibition itself became a natural extension of the work and ongoing research.
As we discussed the show Tom and I realised early on that we had to play the work like a game, to take on the embedded and yet somehow still unknown instructions that presented themselves through my physical and written research and coax them out of hiding through further assemblage and experiment.

This game formed the basis for our collaboration, formalising elements found within the works themselves and extending them into the exhibition space.

Playing the game:

The organisation of the Tarot, the function, world-building, and self-supporting order inherent in a deck of cards/ card games inspired the initial playing out of works as components of a wider game in ‘For a second I felt I knew something’. However, using games as an allegory is not something new in my practice, it has remained a constant since my debut publication E2-E4 (2017), in which I used the game of chess as an allegory, or microcosm of physics, which I term as a series of hidden oppressions governing an illusion of complete freedom. 

As I have previously catalogued works as pieces on a chess board, here the Tarot has informed a play and positioning of work corresponding to what could be thought of as the 4 cardinal points, or 4 houses of the tarot. Within this new structure, importance arises between left/ right, higher/ lower - corresponding to receptivity/ activity, of the heavens/ of the earth. If we were to think of chess as a 2-dimensional game, the Tarot could be thought of as 4, or 5-dimensional (considering the 5th element, the human soul, is formed between the conjunction of the 4 cardinal houses). Curating these separate but together works, what became an aim for Tom and I, was not only for the process of installation to function as a game for us, but for the finished presentation to, in turn, provide a game for an audience.

As you can see on the right-hand wall, a central work [Cycle 1, 2022. (x4 Oracle cards, transparency, & various nails on painted sideboard), 63x64x3.5cm] is accompanied by a work to its lower left [Imperial City’s most wanted, 2023, Photo-transfer & marker on calico, in strip-wood artist’s frame, 57.5x52 x4.5cm] and upper right [Apple in Cadmium red #1, 2023, acrylic on canvas 50x40x1.5cm] - representing houses of the Pentacles and Swords respectively. The wall itself, a complete rectangular space, is the space-time fabric which we can use to delineate the position of these points. The works, within the frame of the project, are therefore inviting of a reading in line with the attributes of these houses (read Jodorowsky’s ‘The Way of Tarot’)... or at least we are simply made aware that their positioning is the result of a playing through, a process of infinite shuffling, re-evaluation; with the works themselves to be considered as cards, whole unto themselves but also infinitely recontextualising themselves within the games they are designed to facilitate.

As a bid to encourage participants to delve into the symbology inherent in the work, I produced a partial lexicon mapping out some of the symbols present. This accompanied the list of works (all of which have intentionally leading titles) and Tom's curatorial introduction to the show, which were made available as physical handouts.
There was no instruction given as to what the lexicon was for or how it should be used, with the intention that it remain a slightly elusive text only comprehendible in conjunction with the physical show itself as well as Tom’s more traditional introduction. 

As well as the symbology of the tarot, within the lexicon and throughout the structure of the installation we come into contact with symbols such as; the Apple, Cadmium red, the Knight, Stargate, the Rainbow, Games/ to Play, and the Pyramid. 
Such symbols are present in the works themselves but through processes Tom and I embarked on, they extend into the formal presentation of the works and even evolve the works themselves. This can be observed in the decision to rotate ‘Apple in Cadmium red #3’ so that it appears to have fallen (making reference to Newton and the apple’s connection to modern physics), as well as the combination of the before-mentioned individual works into collective objects. In the case of ‘Knights Ascension,’ this forms a new hierarchy between 3 previously separate works which now come together to present a diagram of spiritual reincarnation.

Coming back to the symbol of the apple (as it is such a multifaceted one) we can see how details in the positioning and installation of the work dictate its reading. the apple comes through most strongly in this installation for its links to knowledge, from the rotation as a nod to Newton, to the positioning on the right-hand wall corresponding to the house of honed intellect (Swords) within the tarot, and in turn alluding to its use in other uses in esoteric knowledge such as alchemy. This primary playing-through of the work as a collective entity, and the placements and new combinations formed out of this process directly informed the lexicon handout which was produced the night before the show, and which in turn temporarily pinpoints those new combinations as communications to a wider audience. 
I observe in this that the process of organising and displaying the works itself edited down the information being transmitted ‘right here right now’. In this instant, the works temporarily decoded themselves as we played through them, much like cooking a recipe on the fly.  This is a process both Tom and I were intentionally setting up, and one that now we can observe to have been prosperous in the growth and function of the work, while not pigeonholing it whatsoever.

The key to this function when working through installation is to consider appropriate formalising techniques which facilitate this play, much like preparing to make a meal without a strict plan, but ensuring you have all the ingredients and equipment you will need to see something through.

Formalising techniques:

As part of my proposed collaboration with Tom, we agreed that several studio visits prior to the installation would be necessary. On the first visit, we went through the work I had stored at the studio and discussed what I did and did not consider to be finished. Some works, such as ‘Ophelia at the airport, 2022’ (which coincidentally was not part of ‘For a second I felt I knew something’ because it was being shown at the simultaneous Camberwell end-of-year exhibition at Wilson Road) had details that we agreed needed finishing slightly, be it, in this case, a strip-wood frame to cover the chip-board edges, or in other cases such as with ‘TV_2023 (Pole Star)’ a removal of yellowed varnish and small paint touch-ups.

In the weeks leading up to the installation date I worked on making such finishing adjustments, which also included fitting flush hangings to several works, and experimenting with plinth design for free-standing works. This was a period of really appreciating and thinking about the future of material congruities in recent works, be it in types of timber, colours of paint, or elements such as the diptych.

Speaking with Tom after a failed plinth experiment I was producing specifically for ‘TV_2023 (Pole Star)’, I had the idea of buying up more London Commons bricks (which I have used in ‘Ophelia at the airport, 2022’) as well as collecting several concrete blocks I had found around Camberwell and painting them white.
Remembering a last-minute raising of the aforementioned work in my U1 December show, through increasing the number of bricks that the work was balanced on, I realised that just having enough bricks could in this case foster a system of on-the-fly presentation that was both easily changeable and created a visual congruency - that would both give freedom to presenting the works and also tie them formally together.
I realised this system of plinth building would work anywhere and more than that, it encouraged an intuitive playing within, and in reaction to said present of future hypothetical exhibition space, allowing us to plan a game for a yet-to-be-known location.

Tom reminded me of Barbara Hepworth commissioning white breeze blocks to be manufactured for her use in building plinths. There is a modular quality to these which I find particularly inspiring, for all the reasons stated above. When I do move into a studio of my own I plan to expand my collection of bricks.


Through these brick structures, 5 works developed new relationships in the process of installation. ‘TV_2023 (Pole Star)’, ‘Para vooç‘, and ‘Peckham lobby‘ formed a triangle across the exhibition space, all sitting on or held by London Commons bricks. Side by side the latter 2 emulated each other in their different, but similar emittances of light - ‘Peckham lobby’ in the fact it is made up of a transparency on a lightbox, and ‘Para vooç‘, initially designed as a wall hanging work, becoming a screen through which light could shine, propped up by bricks and catching the natural light coming in through the window.
Looking across and down from the bench which situated these 2 works, a path was formed between ‘Peckham lobby’ and ‘TV_2023 (Pole Star)’, both facing each other across the room as if to suggest some relationship between the golden yellow star and the projected light of the lightbox.

To the left of ‘TV_2023 (Pole Star)’ sat the combination of ‘PVP (Player vs Player)’ + ‘Yellow brick from the yellow brick road’. The yellow brick sat on top of a pyramid of London Comons bricks, which itself sat under the elevated diptych of ‘PVP (Player vs Player)’. Similar to ‘Knights Assencion’ the communication of these two works, as formalised through the brick plinth system, expresses some sort of journey upwards, a new spiritual hierarchy forms between the two works, forcing them into a new material harmony, which itself is a consequence of the game of instaling, and indicative of the playing-card-like multiplicity of such works.
Avoidant of ‘resolving’ such works I don't intend in the present to spend much time deciphering what they have become, aside from documenting the result for possible future speculation. I suspect that the next time they are shown they will resolve in new forms, but perhaps their ‘reading’ if you will, is a game for other observers. I am presently content with observing these works as playing-card-like organisms and enjoying their subtle changes in play as would one observe a bee hovering around flowers.

‘For a second I felt I knew something’ Curator’s introduction and Artit’s bio handout:


 list of works:

Lexicon handout:

The fruit of immortality, the fruit of the tree of life and of the tree
of the knowledge of good and evil; “of a unifying knowledge which grants immortality or of a disjunctive knowledge which initiates the fall”1 the AppleTM of technology monopoly, “A key to knowledge”2 or a gatekeeper, the apple eaten by Adam and Eve, the apple of the song of Solomon, “image of the richness, sweetness and savour of the word of God”3, in Celtic folklore “the apple is the fruit of knowledge, magic, and prophecy”4

“Rainbows are both intermediaries and pathways between Heaven and Earth. They are bridges used by gods and heroes when they travel between this Earth and the Other-world. [...] In Norse legend, the bridge Byfrost
was a rainbow, as was the Japanese ‘floating bridge of heaven’ and the sev- en-coloured staircase down which the Buddha returns from heaven [...] It is a place of passage. [...] In ancient Greece, the rainbow was Iris, swift-footed messenger of the gods. It was also in more generalised fashion, a symbol of the relationship between Heaven and Earth and gods and mortals - a form of divine speech.”11

Marking a bridge between two worlds, the rainbow is used as a symbol
in Stanley Kubrick’s last film ‘Eyes wide shut’ (1999) for the gateway to
a secret world. The rainbow as a symbol also has links to Freemasonry, Druidism, and the MK-Ultra mind -control program. Within the 7 colours of the rainbow we see the spectrum of light, that is to say the very blueprint of all visual information.

Games/ To play:

The Abbot/ L’Abbe E. Bertrand is quoted in La Symbolique maçon- nique (1953):

“The symbolism of the apple is derived from it’s core, formed in the shape of a five-pointed star by the compartments which hold the pips... This is why adepts have made it the fruit of knowledge and freedom [...] ‘to eat the apple’ meant to them abuse of the intellect to gain knowledge of evil, abuse of the senses to lust after evil and abuse of freedom to commit evil [...] the inclusion within the meat of the apple of the pentagram [five-pointed star] symbolises the entanglement of the spirit in the flesh”5

Games are simulations of life... Of movements under the oppression of physical limitations. The rules of a game dictate that game’s own physics, mapping out the parameters of what is possible, which in turn provokes
the specifics and nuances of play (in this way we can observe a microcosm which helps us contemplate our own realities and our relationships to them). Designing a game is essentially the activity of selecting a number of rules

Cadmium red:
Symbolism of the colour red is often split into two categories, of bright/ active/ male, and of dark/ receptive/ female. Cadmium red seems to
sit between the two. Both emanating centrifugal...“diurnal [...] tonic, stimulating activity”6 as well as “[...] nocturnal, female, secret and, ultimately centripetal [force]”7

to move among. We can view the compartmentalisation of Art practice into specific mediums as the forming of other microcosms, and the orchestration of various games to be played.

Within an opaque surface of Cadmium red, we experience a still breathing... an inviting and expelling... of traffic lights and of wombs, death, rebirth, and the cycle of life, lust, ecstasy, and horror. Cadmium itself is a natural element, toxic to organic life. Found in paints as well as in batteries and tobacco, it can cause death in high doses.

“Games are a symbol of struggle, against death [...] whether fighting or risk-taking, play-acting or obsessed, games are a universe in themselves in which the individual has to find his place whether he likes it or not. [...] As in everyday life, games associate within a predetermined setting notions of wholeness, of rules and of freedom. [...] Games tend to replace anarchic relationships with a degree of order and to make the transition from a state of nature to a state of civilisation, from the unpremeditated to the predeter- mined.

A figure of honour and chivalry, a knights ideals “may be summed up as utter devotion to beliefs and undertakings to which the whole life
is dedicated. They find expression in total rejection of the corruption
of the outside world”8 The knight is a servant of their cause, their knowledge, internal world/ strata of devoted consciousness... In this way they could represent the entrapment of a spider in it’s own web. Regarded as one of the court cards in the Tarot, the knight is symbol
of ambassadorship, setting forth from the castle walls as a pilgrim of a house of knowledge, a migrating seed. The knight here is held not from physical travel, but in their fate alludes to the limits of intellect, of a fully realised knowledge as precursor to an inevitable emptying. ...“The ideal of knighthood might degenerate in the directions of power (the Teutonic Knights), wealth ( the Templars) or unreality ( Don Quixote)”9 ... A loop completes a revolution as the knight will surely be reborn as the symbol of a page [or fool], who through some process has become emptied of all and is yet a symbol of inspiring full potential.

“Stargate Project was a secret U.S. Army unit established in 1978 at Fort Meade, Maryland, by the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) and SRI International (a California contractor) to investigate the potential for psychic phenomena in military and domestic intelligence applica- tions. The Project, and its precursors and sister projects, originally went by various code names – ‘Gondola Wish’, ‘Stargate’, ‘Grill Flame’, ‘Center Lane’, ‘Project CF’, ‘Sun Streak’, ‘Scanate’ – until 1991 when they were consolidated and rechristened as “Stargate Project”.

Stargate Project’s work primarily involved remote viewing, the pur- ported ability to psychically “see” events, sites, or information from a great distance.”10. It was the inspiration for TV sci-fi series ‘Stargate SG-1’

However, games allow the depths of the unpremeditated and the most private reactions to external constraint to come to the surface in obedience to their rules.”12

Gerhard Adler writes in Études de psychologie jungienne: “To play with something implies a surrender to the plaything, the player endowing, to some extent, the object with which he plays with his own libido. As a result, the game becomes a magical activity which brings to life... To play is to build a bridge between the imaginary and the real through the magic workings of the libido. To play is, therefore, a rite of passage and prepares the way for adaptation to reality.”13

Pyramids are symbols of ascension, integration, and convergence, tombs that hermetically seal, and propose to transport simultaneously. Functioning in some ways similar to a Rainbow, a pyramid is a bridge a gateway, and
a direction of passage. A meeting place not just between life and after-life but also between combating knowledges, “[...] the world of magic linked to funeral rites designed to preserve life indefinitely or to ensure the pass-
ing to an existence beyond time; [and] the logical world of geometry and architecture.”14

The step-pyramid, or Ziggurat represents a hierarchy and puts a distance between mortals and gods. In this same way, the pyramid may also represent a corrupted, oppressive lineage of power.
Floors of a ziggurat become guarded, and are smaller in footprint as they rise from the ground to heavenly territory, manifesting visually an exploiting elitism that has coined the term ‘pyramid scheme’. The eye of Providence on the United States dollar bill sits atop a pyramid setting such a scene for modern Capitalism, in which money has become a god-head, with power and influence filtered down through echelons of wealth as sacred communi- cations would filter through priests.

Imperial City:
Imperial City makes reference to the capital city of 2006 open-world RPG video-game The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, a fantasy game in which players can choose their own fate as they navigate a larger battle of control not just between opposing military forces (of order and rebellion), but of the under- world (oblivion) too. Imperial City is home to the Emperor of the Imperial Legion, a figure of the ruling establishment in the game. The palace in which he resides, and the city itself bares resemblance to ancient Greek and Roman architecture its columns and domes.

Imperial city resembles centripetal force, one entity maintaining a far reach- ing control over distant lands. A symbol of oppressive influence, forced control, a corrupted and parasitic pyramid.

Pole Star:
“In symbolism worldwide, the Pole Star plays a commanding role as the absolute centre around which the whole firmament revolves for ever [..] the whole heaven turns around this fixed point which simultaneously evokes the motionless First Mover at the centre of the universe. The positions of the stars themselves are fixed by their relationship with the Pole, as is that of sailors, nomads, travellers and all those who wander across the emptiness of land, sea, or air. In many parts of Europe and Asia the Pole Star is called pivot, hub, navel, life-center, gate of Heaven, umbilical North Star. The star is also connected with the mystery of birth. [...] [In Julius Caesar] Shake- speare compares human constancy with the ‘Northern Star’.”15

The Pole Star is described in Introduction au monde des symboles:
“[...] The centre to which all things relate, the First Cause from which all things emanate, the force which sets all things in motion and the leader around whom the stars turn like courtiers round their king [...] the preserva- tion and government of the universe.”16

The Pole Star “constitutes the fifth obstacle in the Shaman’s upward path and consequently corresponds to the 5th heaven [...] the Chukchi imagine that the opening in the sky providing passage from one world to another lies close to the Pole Star [...] All worlds [...] are linked the one to the other by openings lying close to the Pole Star. Shamans and spirits use them when passing from one world to another”17

In Hinduism, an Avatar is the manifestation of a deity in physical form. Meaning ‘descent’ it denotes that a higher or more powerful entity sacrifices certain attributes as part of this process, embodying a lower form for pur- poses of spiritual communication and occupancy of an alternate realm.
The term Avatar is used in western culture to describe a virtual character that one is often able to customise in their own image, and which is used to navigate virtual realms from social media platforms to online video-games.

11,12,14,15,17 Chevalier, J., Gheerbrant, A. and

Buchanan-Brown, J. The penguin dictionary of symbols. London, 2008

5 Boucher, Jules, La symbolique Symbolique maçon nique, 2nd edition, Paris, 1953

10 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stargate_Project

13 Adler, Gerhard, Études de psychologie jungienne, Geneva, 1957

16 Champeaux, G. de and Dom Sterckx, S (O.S.B), Intro duction au monde des symboles, Paris, 1966