Writing about work: 2. ‘Mass migrations, strange lodger’

Emma Davidson_Mass migrations, strange lodger

‘Mass migrations, strange lodger’ is a modular work, the basis of which is fifteen pieces of blank cardboard. I laid these out in a grid and glued on found images and found text. I then added graphic marks, using a variety of materials. These elements were all added to the composition quickly and randomly, in the manner of a visual ‘chance poem’. I then randomly reconfigured all of the pieces of cardboard so the edges no longer matched one other and the original composition was lost.

The images and texts were appropriated from children’s books about the ‘animal kingdom’, of the type which used to be ubiquitous in libraries but are now obsolete, or, you might say, extinct.

As an artist, my first motivation is simply to make. I am continually drawn back to my work by the sheer joy of being able to use my hands and my intelligence to manipulate objects and materials so that they say something new. This desire to make is not a trait artists have a monopoly on – MacKenzie Wark says it is a key part of our species being; just as it is, for example, a part of the species being of an Eastern Curlew to migrate from the Arctic circle to the east coast of Australia every year.

Every year the necessary migrations of animals, such as curlews and humans, are interrupted: interrupted by borders, by the arrangement of the surface of the earth into a composition that often doesn’t make much sense to anyone or anything.

The beauty of an abstract work or art is that it may ‘mean’ this; or something else; or nothing at all.

Four sections of this work, digitally altered, were published in issue 45 of The Lifted Brow. Here’s one of them:Illo draft page 4

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