Like This (2013)
Black and white mulberry trees, bamboo, cup
Silkworm cocoon stereoscopic image (1905),
Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster image (Reuters) (2011),
and retouching ink.
Like This is part of a series of works, including Desert Island , We are Sorry and The Quarantine Ship in Adam Chodzko’s major exhibition at Raven Row, London, We are Ready for Your Arrival , 2013, which unfolds as a series of events that arise from the apparent failure of a 60′ palm tree to arrive in time to be the central part of the exhibition.
The installation explores the materialisation, through objects, texts and images, of the processes of artistic creative production; its expectations, ambitions, coincidences, irrational leaps and failures. The manifestations of these experiences are then paralleled through references to environmental transformation and collapse.
Like This acts as a turning point, via what Chodzko describes (in an accompanying lecture, Ooze II) as a cinematic edit, created by the break in floor levels to gallery spaces on the 1st floor of Raven Row. It explores the notion of damage in relation to ideas of splitting, duplicating, combining, mixing and dividing, fertility, growth and sterility alongside ambiguities as to two and three dimensionality. White and black Mulberry trees were grown above the skylights in the open atrium above Desert Island shackled to a system of bamboo pipes apparently tapping into their trunks to extract and mix their saps and lead this combined fluid through a hole cut in the window glass of a sash window to ooze (potentially) into a disposable coffee cup which sits on a window ledge, poised, Ready for Your Arrival. Figures of two nuclear radiation monitoring scientists appear as scenic flats in the atrium, their images taken from a photographic dyptich that hangs in the gallery. These framed works incorporate this Reuters image documenting the surveying of the Fukushima nuclear disaster but here places this pair of observers of environmental catastrophe next to a pair of babies sitting in two mounds of silkworm cocoons, an educational stereoscopic image from 1905, depicting aspects of the silk industry. The ‘babies’ are in fact the same child, split to create the illusion of three dimensionality, the scientists have been similarly split, and duplicated in the exterior sculpture, whilst the bamboo spout that protrudes into the gallery space seems too assertively three dimensional, unable to cope with the architectural restrictions of the gallery spaces and therefore ‘violating’ these boundaries. Silk production (sericulture) involves cultivating silk worms on white mulberry leaves then boiling them alive, something the Red Palm Weevil in the works below might be taking revenge for. The buildings of Raven Row had previously been used by Huguenot silk weavers and traders in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.