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time drift



burnt aluminium foil

dimensions variable

Time Drift

“Time, like mind, is not knowable as such. We know time only indirectly by what happens in it, by observing change and permanence, by marking the succession of events among stable settings, and by noting the contrast of varying rates of change.”

The material used in this artwork was an unintended by-product of the charcoal making process. Aluminium foil was used to wrap the wood as a simple solution to creating an oxygen free environment. Foil was used simply because it was readily available and could survive the burning process. During the unwrapping, I discovered that the paint or varnish on the furniture had left their mark on the foil. The destruction transformed the coatings and left them as residues burnt into the surface of the foil. Here, by staying open to the accident, process had given me traces of time in visual form. The colours were not just browns and blacks from burning, but iridescent greens, blues and purples. The transformation had produced its own abstract images and forms.


The foil was delicate and came off the furniture in fragile pieces. It was another transformation from the shiny, straight-sided machine manufactured rolls to delicate organic shapes, it seemed as if the metal was returning to a more natural state despite human interventions either in its manufacture or the burning process.


As with the ice screens, the foil has been reconfigured in several versions. In a first display they were assembled and hung together on a wall to make one large piece. In thewall installation, each piece was loosely fixed and the edges could flutter in any draught or when people walked past. As more burnt foil has become available, the artwork has grown and developed. In later versions, the pieces are installed to hang freely from the ceiling so the artwork is three-dimensional and the individual pieces can move in any air current.

I wanted the viewer to be able to not just look at this piece but to have an effect on it. The traces on the foil invite the viewer to inspect them closely and see the

traces of time. The viewer’s movement will be enough to cause some gentle movement in the installation, perhaps just a flutter, so it will not be static. Time passing will be made

visible in another subtle way.

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