“Trace II” (self portrait) 2012
Wood, steel, aluminium, brass, plaster, mechanical components, motor, pen
1.2 x 1.2 x 1.6 m
15 January – 24 March 2021
Trace II is an analogue drawing machine that alludes to scientific discoveries; physics, engineering, mathematics, cartography, and the experimental apparatus of science. The kinetic sculpture alludes to a time where the research of the polymath in art and science was intertwined.
A revolving plaster cast of the artist’s head is slowly deconstructed into a mathematical diagram that changes as time passes. The topography of the human face is dematerialised into an evolving drawing that embodies the differential undulations of the human anatomy. Trace II questions our notion of self and how through technology we have found different visual representations for the individual. DNA profiling, MIR, retina, fingerprint and 3d scans are all things that are conjured up by the meticulous mechanical process of the work. The map-like images are turned into a new form of three-dimensional representation that evokes a seemingly digital depiction.
Trace II is a generative work where the artist’s head becomes the code for a complex mechanical algorithm. The plaster head is the ‘source code’ for the analogue device whilst the mechanics and paper and pen refer to the hardware and screen of the system. Trace is a ‘Da Vinci – like’ 3d scanner that alludes to our advancing technology whilst it looks back in time, when technology was less alienating and closer to the human condition.
Trace II reveals hidden natural elements, patterns, and structures that exist in the surrounding world. The piece makes traces of these forces over hours and presents us with an event that is slowly unfolding over time, into an ‘act of creation’ where process, machine and drawing are one. The sculpture raises awareness of how both science and art are concerned with an understanding of our Universe, and how the peculiarities of objects of art and science can become blurred.