Great Expectations (2015)
Single screen video with sound
Oak fragments [salvaged from the top and bottom newel posts of an antique staircase, Whitstable, Kent]
70cm x 60cm x 100cm.
Great Expectations, continues Chodzko’s exploration of the remote and intimate connections between people, across time and space, by focusing on a historical narrative relating to a collection of tools, a tool chest and the actions surrounding these objects enacted between a father and son.
Chodzko speculates on how we might be able to break with continuity (at least the expectations of continuity) through becoming embodied, stuck within an object, in order for it to carry us forward in time, concealed, until ‘the right time’ for us to reappear. Great Expectations is a proposition about stepping back in time in order to move into the future, paralleling this process with a very particular instance (performed by the making of a tool chest, in 1796) of how to receive, honour and yet subvert a gift (and the expectations carried with it) by transforming this chest into a spaceship or time machine.
In 1796, a set of 200 cabinet making tools were given as a gift from a father to his son, in Chatham, Kent. Benjamin had responded to his father’s generosity by using the tools to make a beautiful cabinet to store them in, then never used them again. For Chodzko the act is the perfect symbol of acceptance and rejection between child and parent. Now housed in the Guildhall Museum, Rochester, Kent, these tools finally speak (and bicker) their story and their revolutionary plans for the human race.
Part historical document and part science fiction, Chodzko investigates the surreal exchanges between tools and art objects, museums and homes, parents and children, the digital and tangible, in a video work, that has, also, apparently, accidentally produced an object, “Ark-Eye”, a byproduct of its ‘screen’ materiality. A body which exists somewhere or other, just out of reach of the video. A wooden ‘sculpture’ that has crash‐landed from the tools’ digital universe into ours.
“An Eye if placed at five Feet above the Surface of the Earth or Sea, sees two Miles & a Quarter every way: but if it be at twenty feet high, it can see 5 3/4 miles.”
(writing found on the reverse of the Seaton Tool Chest inventory, written by Benjamin Seaton; a quotation from An Introduction to the Use of the Globes, and the Orrery: As Also the Application of Astronomy to Chronology, by David Jennings, 1766)