Emily Simpson is a multidisciplinary British artist from Manchester. She recently received a First Class Honours degree in Fine Art at Leeds Metropolitan University. Emily will be residing in Tartu during the month of November 2015.
My practice exists as a methodology, as an approach dealing with possibility rather than product. The notion of an ‘art object’ as an end result is negated, the work’s outcome resides in potential. This potential exists within a state of ‘inbetweeness’, between order and disorder, probability and improbability, knowing and unknowing. I employ a set of ‘rules’ to achieve this tension, and entropic space where ‘self’ is removed from production, where meaning and function dissolve, where notions of a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ outcome disintegrate. However the reception of these rules become as elusive as the works themselves, they are approached with a purposeful air of ambiguity, allowing a push and pull between incident and purpose, between whimsy and discovery. The rules are allowed to be rewritten within the process of writing, or not if the case may be.
This transitory moment is then held within the ‘work’, the fleeting becomes momentarily formed for interpretation. This formation may be as a residual object, such as a sculptural stack of papers created by the act of transferring a clump of charcoal from one sheet of paper to the next until no more remains to transfer. The object here is in relief from the event, existing only as a trace, a suggestion. This suggestion may be formed by accident also, such as a page listing the ‘surprise’ fine incurred after failing to return my accompanying reading to the library. This involuntary hoarding of knowledge suggests the realization of the divulgence between meaning and interpretation, language and perception.
With my time spent at Tartu I would transfer this methodology to the residential time frame, using the temporal and physical space as perimeter, in an indirect direct conversation with my surroundings. The ambiguity inhabited by the works processes and production would be therefore be inhabited by the self also due to my immersion in unfamiliar surroundings and people, allowing a ‘frame’ of uncertainty for the work to create itself within. The work could therefore take on any form, be that sculpture, film, text, drawing, an event, a journey or a confusion of the above, existing in direct response to my surroundings and experience.
I set myself the task of navigating my way to the studio by following a selection of strangers, after a reluctance to return there upon that morning. The ‘following’ lasts for 45 minutes, approximately the amount of time it would take to reach the studio, although in hindsight this is a number more like 30. Notions of Vito Acconci’s famous ‘Following Piece’, or Dirk Gently’s lesser known navigational methods spring to mind. The goal is not to reach where I am intended to be, but rather where I am needed to be, to allow myself both removal and possession of control. I must follow each stranger until their pursuit is either an impossibility, or until they no longer serve to interest me, until my feet ‘pull’ me towards another, where reason inhibits chance. Along the journey I find myself entering a Post Office, reminding me I must buy a mother’s day card for that Sunday, before coming full circle and ending in a Library, whereby I sign myself up to the library system and check out two books.