A new series of sculpted forms, drawings and film works created to explore notions of Continual Combustion and Continuous Exhaustion and highlight our anxieties concerning our relentless and aggressive consumption of fossil fuels.
In an extension of core ideas within the previous large scale internationally reaching and influential Migratory Projects (Australia/Denmark/Scotland) involving the use of vehicle engines as a destructive force. The works focus intimately on the issue of our continued use of fuel, oil and gas consumption and the growing presence of anxiety and evidence around climate change and carbon use.
Radiators, coolers, dissipators, architectural constructs and engine references all form the basis of these totemic sentinels to our cultural and current ecological breakdown. These quietly violent works aim to create an iconography of exhausted forms.
The works in the series manifest as metaphor to our continued obsessive drive for a forward moving contemporary culture with very little regard for ecological accountability or sustainability.
'If we can see our culture as an engine, it is the most direct and best metaphor we have. Engines constantly consume, burn and exhaust as they continually move forward. Our houses, buildings, cities and circuitry are all engines. There is still very little we do on a daily basis that does not involve burning or consuming fossil fuel resources’.1
Pieces in this new series pull from both historical and contemporary domestic industrial and modernist forms observed while in Scotland, North America and Canada recently.
The works were pushed further by witnessing the riots, incendiary destruction and civil unrest that erupted in light of the political and economic breakdowns that swept the UK throughout 2008 to 2011 where Sunley Smith also directly experienced the affects of cultural breakdown and its exponential paranoia first hand.
In an attempt to work more mindfully and in the interests of ‘treading lightly’ the new incendiary object works are notably produced ‘off-grid’ using only a small generator as power source. (Also essential to the experimental production methods of these works was to record how much power, fuel and resources were used in their production).
Quietly brooding and somewhat disturbing in physical presence, these delicate hand crafted works, sculpted and rendered by controlled combustion are an embodiment of the breakdown of industrialised culture and a visualising of our continued relentless consumption of fossil fuels and cultural entropy unfolding on an international scale.
Films: Continual Combustion / Continuous Exhaustion
Propane Gas Flame, Oxygen Acetylene, Steel & Copper, Family Camry – Drag Work : Toyota Camry, Diesel Truck, Diesel fuel, Tungsten Lights, Petrol Generator, Steel chain, Earth, Rocks.
(DVD & Audio 4:3)