This proposal is for a piece of public art for Belfast. It was commissioned by Household, a curatorial collective who support the production of contemporary artwork and who carry out active research into best practice models for the commissioning of public art.
exquisitely carved marble statues falling out of the sky
Temporary installation, Waterworks (unrealised)
"like exquisitely carved marble statues falling out of the sky, one after the other." - Physicist Freeman Dyson, describing Paul Dirac’s equations predicting the existence of antimatter.
"I am always waiting for the moment when the picture plane is behind me, and at last I am through the looking glass." - TJ Clark, The Sight of Death
There are doppelgängers of our own atoms. There is an unobservable reality where something is hidden and untranslatable. In this landscape we have found a place to reflect on classicism in art and physics, and consider the problem of observation in quantum mechanics.
From the top lake at the Waterworks in Belfast, you can look across an island to a backdrop of Black Mountain and Solitude football grounds. The topography is understood through Euclidean geometries and has the planes, sight lines and dramatic narratives of a baroque landscape. It is a space activated by secular rituals of sacrifice, gesture, and meditation.
exquisitely carved marble statues falling out of the sky is a temporary floating structure on the top lake at the Waterworks Park in north Belfast. As people walk around the lake, the structure cuts a smooth black ellipse through the surface of the water. At one point on the circuit the viewer can step down to a jetty where, from this view point, the elliptical dimensions foreshorten to form a perfect circle, punching a black hole through the vertical plane of the landscape. Inspired by the environment, it is rooted in principles of classical composition and highlights the pastoral and painterly qualities of the site.
The project is rooted in the idea that, at a quantum level, what we see when we look at an object is fundamentally different to what it is when we’re not looking at it. The piece strives towards this impossible ‘observation without seeing’, and aims to create a point of departure from observable reality, however brief and illusory.