Steven Walker

May 26, 2009


My work for Shock of The Used is fundamentally a kind of research examining the bric-a-brack, nostalgic or recycling-based inclinations I initially had in response to the theme. Doing so through scientific and philosophical concepts, I want to re-examine the mundane day-to-day act of throwing out the old, obsolete or dead.

Creating work with one eye on the scientific systems at work under the surface, it has surprised me that the cold, logical thinking about the project has brought out a psychological or emotive response.  Using found and used objects as a base for drawings or assemblages has revealed a contradiction in the scientific approach in developing my ideas; lending a human story or imagined personal history because of the retrospective nature of the used objects from which I have worked with to make a balancing assemblage and drawings.  Developmental works have consisted of an object and a claim made about that object. The work’s identity fluctuates between its materiality and some cerebral construct hovering around it.

In Isaac Newtons’ ‘Law of Conservation of Energy’ it states that new energy can never be created, and existing energy can never be destroyed.  It can only be converted from one form to another. Our cars convert the energy that holds the atoms of gasoline together into movement by breaking those bonds with a controlled explosion. All the energy from the movement of the car goes into moving us and all the air around the car. Our bodies run on energy, and our bodies can be converted to energy by other living things when we die.

Biologically we are essentially a programme, commanding cells which eventually malfunction, from which new ones are cloned in their place.  Finally the butterfly effect of this constant malfunctioning and cloning corrupt the programme and we mix back into the elements around us.

I’m both fascinated and amused by science’s dogmatic determinism: the belief that any event or action, however complex – a repair mission for the Hubble telescope, a disposable Ikea picture frame insert – arises from hydrogen atoms bashing together during the Big Bang.


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