Posted on Format Gallery

In Stone Appreciation: Booth, exhibited at Camberwell Space, London, participants were invited to experience the challenge of making, communicating and collaborating through modelling a clay form. Two small screens on top of the booth showed a sequence of images of a free-standing erratic boulder.

Working in collaboration two participants at a time were allocated 20 minutes to discover if, and how, it was possible to model a likeness of this complex natural form from a clay block, without seeing what they were doing or speaking to each other. A camera in front of the booth filmed the modelling process and when finished the soft clay forms were presented in a damp store/vitrine before new clay forms made by the next round of participants replaced them at the end of each week. Meanwhile a video of the modelling process ran continuously throughout the month long exhibition.

Feedback from participants indicated that they had found that this unspoken form of negotiation, through modeling clay, had been both strangely intimate and absorbing. The process had also revealed frustrations and rivalry and it soon became apparent that participants from different backgrounds responded to the task in very different ways. Meanwhile those who had not previously met reported that they developed a sense of connection and camaraderie. All participants spoke of a strong sense of shared ownership, pride and fascination in the form that resulted, no matter how ungainly or how little it resembled the boulder that had been the catalyst for their work together.