This Fall I was at a fancy party where some guy passed out cold behind me. He was standing there, and then just fell over on his face.
It was one of those incidents where you hear a loud crash, spin around and it takes a few seconds to decipher what you’re looking at… before you panic and try to help. In that moment, before reacting, all I could see was this mysterious fleshy blob draped across the furniture - and I’m not proud of it, but I just stared at him for a second, surprised at how strangely this resembled my sculpture.
A philosophy teacher told me this process is called “recalibration”; the space where your conscious mind draws a blank while your unconscious kicks into overdrive sorting through your senses and past experiences. M. Andrieu would argue this is the moment you see things for what they “really are”, the closest we can come to an objective experience.
But my brain landed first on an aesthetic approach, and only after triggered a medical response. I fear that through making sculpture I’ve actually conditioned myself to be removed from reality entirely - to see the world around me as a set of images and objects with aesthetic and conceptual attributes, devoid of real relationships, desires and needs.
stretch·er (strĕch′ər) n.
1. A litter, usually of canvas stretched over a frame, used to transport the sick, wounded, or dead.
2. One that stretches, such as the wooden framework on which canvas is stretched for an oil painting.
3. The mark of the intention to help someone, and the failure to help them beforehand.