Rob has just embarked on a research led PhD. He opened his lecture with some challenging facts about cats and toxoplasmosis, continuing with his work responding to site and collaborations.
He referenced land artist Robert Smithson, famous for his work Spiral Jetty, 1970, and Robert Hobbs, American art historian and curator. Smithson’s work in a chalk quarry inspired Rob’s collaboration with Charles Danby to discover the actual site of the work Chalk Mirror Displacement 1969, which had been wrongly attributed to Oxted in Yorkshire, when Oxted is in Surrey, a journey they recorded on a dual film. He referred to Timothy Morton’s work exploring the interconnectedness of object-oriented thought and ecological studies and Rosalind Krauss’s book Sculpture in the Expanded Field.
He highlighted the fluidity of his work, where different elements are regrouped for each exhibition, and the use of a rotating projector to cast shadows to interfere and blur the edges. More recently he has set up the collaborative Field Broadcast with Rebecca Birch, where by use of Rob’s software, they are able to broadcast live streaming of events, blurring the role of artist/curator/fund raiser/technician, evidencing the interconnectedness of everything. His most recent collaboration with professor Neal White of Bournemouth University, who is the director of Emerge, the Experimental Media Research Group, is part of the Office of Experiments, and uses a feonic speaker and radome panel with seismic data to produce sound. Rob referenced Morton’s ‘hyper objects’ (objects so massively distributed in time and space as to transcend localisation), made visible through a technical mediator.
Recently Rob has set up the Expanded Studio Project in Cambridgeshire, where artists have been randomly selected to work in pairs with fellow artists from the Primary Studio in Nottingham. With this in mind he set us collaborative tasks.
To be honest Rob’s practice is way outside my experience, fascinating and mind-blowing all at once. What I will take away is the idea of collaboration, something that had not occurred to me before. How it would work and with who, I have no idea, I will just be open to the possibility.