small art

Curator Danielle Hakim interviews Cassie Broad, Julie Burleigh, Eugene Carchesio, Gareth Donnelly, Clementine Edwards & Kenny Pittock

small art, Mailbox Art Space, January 2017, installation view

small art, Mailbox Art Space, January 2017, installation view


When curating this exhibition I selected works based on two limitations: that the artists already made small scale artwork and were Australian. Because of this, the artworks presented at Mailbox in small art are stylistically, materially and conceptually very different.
I spoke to the artists about the works they made for this show and smallness in their individual practices, below is an edited selection of their responses.



DH: Can you all tell us a bit about the artwork you chose to present in small art?

CB: I had recently moved into my own house with my partner when I was asked to be a part of this show, and was looking through photographs taken on our phones of the first few months living together, and really enjoyed the beautiful moments these photos represented, so I decided to produce some paintings using these images. I always use snapshots from my personal archive in my work rather than taking new photographs to paint from because I enjoy the randomness of the compositions. I get very emotionally connected to the spaces or places within my life so painting only the backgrounds from photos- removing people from the images -for me is a way of paying homage to a particular memory. 

JB: Nothing to See Here was first shown in a solo exhibition at the Dolls House Gallery in Preston, curated by Sophia Cai. I had previously been making free standing dioramas but this gallery, an actual dolls house, had four rooms so I didn’t have to make my own walls and floors which allowed me to make small-scale objects to fit into the 'rooms'. I have rearranged some of those works here at Mailbox in a series of related scenes. The work addresses the domestic environment and how it reflects and extends sensations of chaos and disorder, peace and stability.

EC: These works were on my table awaiting a purpose … i asked them if it was ok if they were shown in a mailbox space and they had no problem with that.

GD: The works are from a 2002 series “Tiny Paintings” at the time I made the works I was interested in the physical limitations / parameters of painting.  And by “painting”, I mean the traditional components...a stretcher, canvas, and paint.  I was interested in how I could use those basic elements to create something that extended painting into the realm of sculpture or object, in that it was about the physical properties rather than the content.  At the time I also did “Stretched out Painting” and “Gigantic Painting”.  With the “Tiny Paintings” I was also interested in the point at which painting almost didn’t exist.  It was a bit of a play on the “death of painting”.

CE: These works were originally wearable pieces (two necklaces and a brooch) but at mailbox they take on the function of sculpture as the necklace cords were removed and you can’t see the brooch backing.

KP: I knew wanted to respond to the gallery's previous life as an actual set of mailboxes and at the time I was thinking a lot about mailboxes because I'd just moved into a share house where we have a "No Junk Mail" sign on the letterbox, which was kind of upsetting me because I love junk mail so much. I didn't wanna ask my new housemates if we could take the sign down though because I'd just moved in and I didn't wanna rock the boat. So I guess that was the starting point, although if you look at where the work finished up you probably just see a silly pun about snail mail.(An update on the "No Junk Mail" situation is that the people who deliver pamphlets in my area don't actually pay any attention to 'no junk mail' signs, so my house has both a no junk mail sign and lots of junk mail, everybody wins, and I never had to mention it to my housemates.)


DH: Has smallness always been a focus in your practice? Why? 

CB: For the most part yes. I have worked large scale before, however I enjoy working small scale for a number of reasons. For one thing I like being able to manoeuvre the board in my hand when painting – I feel most comfortable painting this way, rather than on an easel. I also feel the nature of the works are much more intimate and softly spoken when they are smaller. Like they are a little snapshot of a moment, rather than a large grand statement.

JB: Part of my practice is making functional ceramics (eg plates and mugs) so I already work on a small scale. I started making abstract sculptures out of the off-cuts left over from making functional pieces, as it felt wrong to 'waste' them! It kind of went from there. I started making abstract scenes that were reminiscent of stage sets, quite minimal and almost Beckettian. I will often incorporate miniature versions of my functional ceramics in these scenes, and use similar colour schemes.

EC: Not having studied art I made work at home at a desk for myself. I guess that meant I didn’t have the pretensions of scale. For me a matchbox was a space equal to a room. A portable room.

GD: While not always the focus of my practice, I do tend to favour the diminutive.  I think it is the intimacy and immediacy of small scale works that I enjoy.  I feel that so much contemporary art (particularly art that is shown in the state gallery system) is about spectacle, or the “blockbuster”...that big is better.  Go into any state or commercial gallery and see how many works are “small scale”.  You’d be hard pressed to find much under thirty centimeters in size.  Why is that?  I’ve always been drawn to the smaller but no less grand statements made by small scale, intimate art works.  

CE: I came to art via jewellery so really, my practice has (pardon the pun) grown from the small. Brooches are a big thing in the jewellery world and not a big thing anywhere else in the world. They are little sculptures. Very impractical to wear (they snag on things and tear stuff), very good to look at. The intimacy of the small scale attracts me very much. 

KP: I make a lot of 1:1 sculptures, my hope is that at this scale it kind of heightens their Trompe-l'œil effect, but also on a practical level it allows the sculptures to be arranged in any combination which makes it a lot easier to form larger installations. But probably the main reason I mostly work on a 1:1 scale is so that I'm able to discreetly insert the artworks into the "real world", in places like supermarkets and bookstores, which for me is usually the most exciting part of the work.


DH: When I think about the struggles involved with being an artist - time, money for materials, storage space, transporting work etc it seems to make sense to work small- is economy part of the reason you work on a small scale?

CB: Time is one reason why I enjoy working small scale – not because I don’t have enough time, I just get impatient and bored if I spend too much time on the same painting, and so I always enjoy the quick turnaround, just so I can have that variety when creating.

JB: Economy is a part of it, ceramics is rather an expensive medium sometimes. But also simply the size of my kiln dictates how big I can go. I've always been attracted to making small objects however, so it's not a problem! 

EC: economy is not a consideration - just dumb luck - I have just done what I have done.

GD: Yes, definitely. There are so many things that interest me about small scale works, both the production and in the experience of them. All of the things you mentioned are correct...except for maybe time. I know small scale works can often be as painstaking and difficult to make as something 1000 times larger.  Even if I am doing works that are larger, it is still usually governed by what I can fit in the car (with the seats down).  If art is about ideas, why is it necessary to have that idea manifested through large canvases, fabricated sculptures or large digital prints that cost hundreds of dollars to produce?  In a way I feel like artists that work predominantly in small scale have to work even harder, and not just to be seen. I feel that small works have to have a strong conceptual basis, there is certainly less to hide behind.  

CE: Gold and silversmithing is a very expensive student pursuit. That said, I’m deeply practical, so the fact that I can pack down a solo show into a Tupperware tub and store it in my cupboard (I don’t have storage issues) makes me very happy. 

KP: Yeah I think that's very true. For the most part I'm limited to using materials that can fit in my car, and likewise I can't really make ceramic pieces that are larger than the kilns I have access to. But having said that, even though I work relatively small, I make a lot of work so I still struggle with negotiating storage space,. Whenever I walk through a national gallery I always think about how some of these great artists must have had such incredibly accommodating studios.


DH: What is the biggest work you’ve made? What is the smallest?

CB:The biggest work I’ve made isn’t actually that big now that I think of it. It was a work I painted in art school. Its largest side was 1.5 metres, so compared to some artworks it is still quite small. It now sits in our bedroom at my in-laws house next to the beach, as it is a painting of my partner surfing.

JB: The smallest is a tiny pin-head sized miniature pill. My kiln shelves are 30cmx30cm, so the largest work I've made was a 30x30 abstract 'scene'.

EC: My pattern based work allows me to cover large spaces - sides of buildings even… These mailbox works are among the smallest i suppose. Then there are the ‘sound’ works which are ‘invisible’ (if that counts).

GD:  The blue monochrome was the smallest stretcher I was ever able to make (1 x 1.2 mm) once I’d done one Tiny Panting (and I can’t really remember why I started), the challenge became how to make an even smaller one. I do enjoy playing with scale so I have worked in larger formats, making both larger paintings and sculptures.However, the previously mentioned “Gigantic Painting (2002) was about making an “oversized” painting, rather than a “big/large” painting. The idea was to make a painting as if the tiniest painting had been enlarged over and over again. So while it only measured about 1m x 1m, the surface was grotesquely thick with giant brush marks.  The stretcher itself was incredibly deep with giant staples on the side.  

CE: My graduate work was a two-meter arch spelling out ‘Hi I’m Clem’. Each letter was made with dozens of little resin brick-trays that I filled with trash and treasure. The smallest work I made was a golden burr – like the little burrs that get caught in dog’s fur at the park. I cast the burr in gold and made it into a brooch the size of my pinky finger nail. 

KP: Last year I made a life-size sculpture of a vending machine, titled “31 dinner options while waiting for the last train home”. The machine itself is a sculpture, and then it's also full of 100 individual ceramic sculptures. The smallest work I've made, I'm not sure, maybe ceramic sprinkles. Or ceramic sculptures of the red stuff on a bbq Shape.

 

Souvenirs for the Unwitting

Eruption on Mount Pele by Georges Méliès, 1902 (Public Domain)

Now, it is of some concern to us to know that the earth holds within itself similar forces, on an incomparably greater scale. For instance, the explosion which occurred at Krakatao, at five minutes past ten, on the 27th of August, 1883, according to official evidence, was heard at a distance of eighteen hundred miles, and the puff of its air-wave injured dwellings two hundred miles distant, and, we repeat, carried into the highest regions of the atmosphere and around the world matter which it is at least possible still affects the aspect of the sun to-day from New York or Chicago. Do not the great flames which we have seen shot out from the sun at the rate of hundreds of miles a second, the immense and sudden perturbations in the atmosphere of Jupiter, and the scarred surface of the moon, seem to be evidences of analogous phenomena, common to the whole solar system, not wholly unconnected with those of earthquakes, and which we can still study in the active volcanoes of the earth?

S.P. Langley, The New Astronomy (Cambridge: Riverside Press, 1889), p.185-6

Heathen

A Smitten Kitten radio review by SYN FM - 27 July 2016 

I had never been to the Mailbox Art Space prior to their current exhibition, Heathen. Of ‘Heathen’, the promotional shots of the works gave me the impression of huge canvases filled with extravagant, thought provoking watercolours.

After getting mildly lost in my own city looking for a gallery space on flinders lane, myself and a friend realised that we had to go up a flight of stairs tucked away at the 141-143 Flinders Lane Pawson House heritage building. 

The stairs were choked with people talking and drinking wine. We were late – I figured that people must have already gone in and come back out to discuss the exhibition.

Pushing up the stairs apologising, looking for the door to the gallery, jostling almost everyone, we began to get funny looks. We followed the eyes of a few patrons, turned and beheld a set of 18 1930’s mailboxes, the kind you have in an apartment building – lots of about 15x10cm boxes, crammed next to each other, with glass fronts.

Within these tiny boxes were not the vast canvases of traditional galleries that I had expected, but miniature works by Belle Bassin, Valentina Palonen and Anna Parry, with work from the curator, Mitchell Brannan’s, private collection, interspersed. It is one of Melbourne’s smallest gallery spaces.

To quote the exhibition’s description, the theme of ‘Heathen’  is ‘mysticism, the numinous and the unknowable’, the goal ‘to explore ways of knowing that are beyond rationality and empiricism’.

Parry has included the watercolours, Palonen the intricately detailed sculptures, and Bassin the photography and digital media.

 Parry’s watercolours are a kaleidoscope of colour, which with inspection seems to shift like sand in the wind before your eyes, solidifying after moments into new forms. Acorns turn into hearts which turn into crystals, pomegranate seeds are in fact perhaps precious jewels, seaweed like tendrils lurk blue like veins. Organism meets mineral meets the abstract, in which a darkness of spirit and light comedy of visual play meet.

Palonin’s contributions take the form of mixed media sculptures. Her works that that drew me the most were a series of disembodied hands holding objects. To call these sculptures intricate would be an understatement – the detail is so incredible, accurate down to the fingerprints and tiny creases of the skin.

 The hands are painted green on the fingernails, yellow on the fingers, and purple on the palms, implying that each hand might belong to the same owner. Each hand interacts with an object – one holds an acorn, another a seashell, another a rock, another a crystal. As I interrogated the pieces, I began to mime the hand gestures the sculptures were set in. 

Some have the knuckles facing away from where the face would be, delicately holding the object, indicating that they had perhaps just picked the object up and were observing it, curiously. Other hands gripped their objects hard, possessively, tightly, so that it was obscured from view. I began to see the hand less as a dumb tool, but as of extensions of our mind, of our curiosity, able to display love, hate, ownership and fear as clearly as if these emotions had been yelled.

Bassin’s digital photography and one minute video installation are perhaps the most difficult to interpret in the exhibition. She employs seemingly simple patterns of undulating line in black and white, which spiral and throb the longer one observes it into a headache inducing maze of complexity. It is not an optical illusion, it is more interesting than that, but I can’t help but compare the effect of Bassin’s use of shape and time in her still images with the Penrose infinite staircase.

Fascinatingly, the artists were not given the theme of the exhibition – ‘mysticism, the numinous and the unknowable’ to work to – the pieces were curated by Mitchell Brannan, picked from artists who had, prior to the exhibition, pushed their work to answer the questions of ‘Heathen’s theme. This is intriguing, as there are some startling similarities and parallels in the works, all the more interesting due to the fact they were not established by communication between the artists. The motif a heart, acorn, shell or crystal shape appear in each artists work. Each holds significance to the unconscious.

The shell, indented with the infinite spiral pattern, which surfaces from deep beneath the ocean to be viewed by the person. The ocean has over time consistently been used as a metaphor for the unconscious mind in art and literature. 

The acorn, symbolic of rebirth, or the circle of life. It is also suspended oddly in time, a snapshot of what might one day be a mighty tree, it also stands in for the child or the embryo from which we all began, either within our parents or our ancestors at the dawn of time.

Finally, the crystal, brewed deep below the ground by forces untold, becoming something wonderfully, staggeringly beautiful, but is for the most part likely never to see the light of day. It is highly symbolic of the innermost workings of the human mind, and perhaps hints at why so many crystals in the images the artists provided oscillate between seeming both organic and mineral, heightening the metaphoric tie between object and abstract.

All said, I had a brilliant time at the Mailbox Art Space, and I can highly recommend the ‘Heathen’ Exhibition. It’s running until the 30th of July. Check out extra details at www.mailboxartspace.com.au, which will also treat you to a digitla copy of Anna Parry’s watercolour ‘Sacred Geometry’. 

Written by Jim Thomas

Heavy Majestic

Heavy Majestic curated by Jake Treacy Katie Jayne Britchford, Seb Brown, Danica Chappell, Catherine Evans, Ria Green & Aliça Bryson-Haynes, Alicia King, Pip Stafford, Vittoria di Stefano, Jake Treacy, Jocelyn Tribe May 4 - June 4, 2016 at Mailbox Art Space, Melbourne.

Videography by Jake Treacy.

John Brooks - To Sheila

Filmed in Iceland and completed in Melbourne, the following videos extend upon the theme of To Sheila, where John Brooks uses art to document a place, a time, an experience. The sculptural blob stacks in the exhibition at Mailbox are reimagined: fluid Icelandic visions mesmerise and encapsulate how a static object can be imbued with memory.

John Brooks, Temporary Blob Stack 7 & 9, 2016

 

John Brooks, Temporary Blob Stack 13, 2016

 

John Brooks, Temporary Blob Stack 16, 2016

Jessica Alice & Esther Anatolitis - INDEX-SYSTEM

An email conversation between writer Jessica Alice and artist Esther Anatolitis on her exhibition INDEX-SYSTEM. 

Esther Anatolitis' INDEX-SYSTEM 

Esther Anatolitis' INDEX-SYSTEM 

 

Jessica Alice: Hi Esther, congratulations on INDEX-SYSTEM, I found it so evocative and I'm 

excited for this conversation! 

I told you in a text response after opening night that this work made me feel like I was 

invited into your mind palace – that the mailboxes created this sense of voyeurism into an 

internal geography and it felt intimate. Did it feel this way for you too, in both the larger 

scale of developing INDEX-SYSTEM the project, and in the process of curating its public 

exhibition?

J

 

Esther Anatolitis: I'm so glad it evoked so much for you! And I too love a good 

correspondence. So stimulating to think through our work within the contexts in which we 

create our work, connecting with one another among other compositions, other words. (I 

have a fifteen-year handwritten correspondence with a past collaborator, now a close 

friend, and our letters appear in INDEX-SYSTEM.)

Your very first question here has been preoccupying me for a little while in fact. I was quite 

unprepared for the intimacy that the work conveys, and yet it's been the one response that 

people have felt most compelled to make. You're right: the framing of the mailboxes, with 

their dark woods and subtle spotlights, make for quite the voyeuristic experience. You have 

to peer right in, and even then, you're not quite sure what you're seeing. 

 

What I hope the most is that the work will be approached as a text: for interpretation, for 

connotation, and indeed, for reading. It's more of a guide or a set of tools than an insight 

into my mind... and yet that's a response I am taking seriously. I delight in the unexpected. I 

actively find ways to generate what I can't yet imagine.

 

That is perhaps one way of understanding how INDEX-SYSTEM as a whole works for me,

e.

 

Esther Anatolitis, INDEX-SYSTEM, 2016

Esther Anatolitis, INDEX-SYSTEM, 2016

 

JA: The mailboxes are so unassuming yet powerful in their ability to imbue this feeling!

Perhaps another reason for your audiences’ feelings of intimacy with the work is that our 

own practical systems are rarely made public. Mine, for instance, is embarrassingly 

shambolic! When I look through my work I have to wade through a digital pile of scattered 

pages. By sharing yours however, you demonstrate system-making as more than a good 

organisational habit, it is this creative tool – structure creates opportunity for reflection, 

joining and making additional threads.

And reflection is often treated as a final step in a process, or outside of an activity, but I see 

it as integral to your work. How has it become such a significant part of your creative 

practice?

J

 

EA: Ah now this is interesting... It's true: we do tend to shy away from our own process 

ephemera as a detritus of the work, an unwelcome byproduct, an embarrassing 

incompleteness. And yet completeness rarely asks as many questions as the open, the 

unresolved, the hastily written – and the long forgotten. Most people hate the sight of their 

own handwriting; I love the textures that my handwritten words make across the page... I 

am about to start the next volume of my stream-of-consciousness journals – the twenty-

third since 1999 – and I prize each one of these as writerly objects, as textual textures, just 

as much as what they contain. 

I have been working on a project called INDEX-SYSTEM since the late 1990s. It began as a 

metadata system for marking up unresolved ideas such that they could be shared with 

others. Back then the question was: How does collaboration happen, and in particular, how 

does it happen across disciplines? The year I spent at the Bauhaus was very much an 

exploration of this question. If we come to a collaboration with ideas already resolved, then 

they risk sitting there inertly as self-contained objects, rather than coalescing with others. 

Between that period and now, having created sole and collaborative work in short film, 

experimental sound, public programming, live art and text, a critical mass of my own 

thinking had begun to emerge. The system part of the INDEX-SYSTEM only came to me late 

the year before last, and then I spent last year creating the first iteration of the index, which 

remains an open project of course because I keep making more notes, mind-maps, 

drawings, paintings and object collections as I work.

 

I had always been a writer – I had always experienced a profound sense of presence and 

communion and dazzlingly animating potential in writing, most particularly in working with 

my hands – and I write every day. I create the conditions where I can experience the 

duration of forming meaningful sentences, and as I experience myself doing this – watching 

the words appear, hearing their sounds and seeing their forms – I am stimulated and 

inspired. I think some of this is about having English as a second language: I see letters and 

hear words in parallel to understanding their meaning. For this reason, I am enamoured 

with the work of Joseph Conrad, or Jacques Derrida, or Jorge Luis Borges: writers who 

clearly delight in working beyond their first language. This lifelong learning is a joy to me: 

that I will continue to discover new things about each of the languages in which I work and 

communicate and make work, because none of them are native, and therefore the structure 

and the meaning is always a live negotiation. The reflection is not a matter of choice,

e.

 

Esther Anatolitis, INDEX-SYSTEM, 2016

Esther Anatolitis, INDEX-SYSTEM, 2016

 

JA: That idea of a negotiation of meaning brings me back to the items in the mailboxes: the 

measuring instruments in particular as literal tools, and the boxes like an organisation of 

semantic fields or even brain hemispheres!

It also makes me think of your performance at the opening of the exhibition, where you 

thumbed through a cardfile box and rearranged items. I love this enactment of process, not 

only of how one may make practical use of her index system, but of how creativity and 

learning are occurring on (what I imagine as) a physiological level. (Have you ever seen that 

video of Bjork explaining how televisions work??)

Writers in particular strike me as averse to the incompleteness of ‘process ephemera’, as 

opposed to other artistic communities, and perhaps because of this we struggle against 

isolation. Do you think that’s true? Could an interdisciplinary and collaboration approach be 

something that’s missing?

J

 

EA: [Googles "björk television"]

[GLEE]

 

It's true: as writers we tend to overlook everything that's not a pen and a paper, or a set of 

fingers and a keyboard, when we consider the elements of our practice. There's the 

isolation of writing, which is not generally something that can be performed, but there's 

also the lack of a messy paint-splattered studio, or piles of recording and editing technology, 

or sets and costumes long forgotten in a corner. In performing the sorting and displacing, I 

wanted to set my own hands very clearly as part of the exhibited work – which was why, on 

opening night, I started off talking about how writing is something we do with our hands. 

The measuring instruments, the writing tools, the gloriously polished celestite which seems 

to glisten more the more it is handled, the slightly crumpled paper with notes written clearly 

in haste and on the first loose sheet found, and of course, the index cards themselves which 

exist at the scale of the palm. I learnt quite a bit in those moments of cramming into the 

final mailbox, and I'm excited about what I'll learn as I deinstall and set the objects back into 

their boxes or locations.

 

I've long had a practice of drawing an item out of the objects box at random, drawing it to a 

high level of detail, using the duration of that process to rethink the object's meaning, then 

writing about it, and replacing it in inevitably a different place in the alphabetical scheme, 

responding to what has now been evoked for me. This is one of my constructive disruption 

exercises, but the book in which I draw and write them is fast becoming a work of its own.

 

Not all writers are interested in collaboration, but writing itself is essentially 

interdisciplinary. It is interdisciplinarity. It creates meaning, never anew, always in context, 

never in isolation, always alone. Solitude is a powerfully constructive force in my life,

e.

 

Esther Anatolitis installiing INDEX-SYSTEM, 2016

Esther Anatolitis installiing INDEX-SYSTEM, 2016

 

JA: This correspondence is itself performative – soon it will be made public in the format of 

an interview – but the process of its composition is solitary and as private as letter writing. I 

find this tension so interesting (and enjoyable!), and it somehow alters my experience – I am 

more aware of process, of the way we exchange ideas.

You will be a keynote speaker at Performing, Writing in 2017. What is it about performance 

that changes writing/the writer?

Ja

 

EA: Oh I know... Isn't this delicious, this writerly parallel to our relationship. And soon there 

will be readers, with their own responses. 

I'm keen to start thinking about Performing, Writing. It's a very generative proposition I 

think. Performance requires a certain style and register of writing, but writing for 

performance is just one aspect of the symposium. Performing writing is something we rarely 

do, and something we always do, except that we undervalue the banality of the professional 

writing that occupies most of the working day for so many of us. We need to take a more 

deliberate interest in what we actually produce each day: the writing we render disposable, 

the meaning we create, the words we choose. Banality is woefully underrated, and yet it's 

the daily practice than can be most transformative.

I would very much like to stage a writing performance of scale: a critical mass of solitary 

writers working in the public space. Now that I have written this, it will happen – such is the 

power of the written word. From 4:00-6:00pm on Thursday 21 April on the front lawn, front 

steps or front anything of every library in the country, with the largest group outside the 

State Library of Victoria as the City of Literature's finest escape the Wheeler Centre for the 

afternoon. Hey spread the word, dear reader, because this is totally a thing now, and I will 

make the Facebook event, which will entrench this public action onto our consciousness,

e. 

 

JA: Marvellous! Coincidentally, I'll be in Berlin at the time and will be glad to act as an 

international participant.

You mentioned that you delight in the unexpected – such as the development of this writing 

performance and, earlier, that common experience of intimacy. Has the act of exhibiting 

INDEX-SYSTEM challenged your assumptions in other ways about the project? Has it created 

new discoveries?

J

 

EA: Oh yes. Yes it certainly has. One of my closest friends saw it on the weekend, and 

because he knows me so well, he was straight into reading it as a text. He looked closely at 

the sequence, starting with PRESENCE to INTIMACY and THE POLITICAL, as being both civic 

feminist and also personal. He also remarked on three clear compositional elements that 

were a genuine surprise to me: Firstly, the recurrence of circles and spirals in the Super 8, 

the measuring tapes, the small woven piece, the celestite sphere. Then the references to 

the line, to drawing the line, in the writing instruments, on every index card and especially 

the blank one, and of course in the neatly incomplete blue line. And finally, the hand of the 

writer, on every handwritten card, but most distinctly, on the crumpled piece of notepaper, 

whose shadows mark the hand's absent presence in creating the paper's form, as well as its 

meaningful marks. 

 

Before exhibiting INDEX-SYSTEM, my process of accidental discovery around it was to 

choose volumes or objects at random and re-read or draw – and it was just that: a process. 

By creating a composition or a sequence, and then offering it for interpretation in a public 

space, accidental discovery has become both accident and discovery. And yet, it's my work. 

And so this is at the very heart of why experimentation turns me on so much. The sense of 

discovery that emerges in recomposing the known, the seemingly known, within a system 

seemingly self-contained, seemingly logical. Language is endlessly open, reconfigurable and 

manifestly non-indexable,

e.

 

Jessica Alice is a writer, editor and broadcaster from Melbourne. View her writing and work at jessicaalice.net