256 Cubes

256 Cubes
Artist in Residence Project, January – April 2012, Medalta, Medicine Hat, Canada

A multiple-piece system of 256 ceramic cubes which are all seperated from each other, and thus seemingly variable to each other, forms a flexible installation which can be arranged and rearranged.
But organized in a square with 16x16 cubes, the pieces form a system in which all of them are connected with each other, like in a system of a mesh (thinking of Timothy Morton´s idea of the interconnectedness of all things).

This thought became more relevant during a later step of this project, when it went on another level than just the pure production of ceramic pieces.

I am fascinated by visual and audio multiple phenomena, and the repetitions in natural or constructed systems, unfolding a new identity of these multiples and forming a new system through plurality.
In this work the repetition of producing the pieces for the installation is translated through the body and the labor. The repetitious way of working and a tight time planning raised questions about how far my body could go with material, and if there is a point when it becomes physically and mentally draining?

In the beginning of my Artist in Residence in Medicine Hat I asked myself how many cubes I could probably produce within three months. Around 250 sounded a lot, but possible to realize. To form the cubes into a square I decided to multiply 16 times 16, which makes 256.
The following months I spent in the studio every day making sure to produce at least three cubes a day to execute my plan.

Because of the financial distress for realising my idea (I used 5632 pounds of clay), I decided to create a webpage which would make the whole concept interactive and at the same time help me funding my project.

By investing 20 dollars, anyone could purchase one of the 256 cubes and so become a part of the installation and the network of sponsors. Every cube is wearing its own number from 1 to 256, so every sponsor gets his very own cube.
As they sell around the world the more interesting it gets.
So far my project already covered all continents, including the Antarctica. Cubes were sponsored from all over Europe, North America, Brazil, South Africa, India, Japan, and Australia.

Thinking of the concept of the mesh, all purchasors are thereby connected with each other, and the initial trigger was my labor. I started a labor chain, that had the starting point in my studio, and which began to spread all over the world by people purchasing my product. After finishing half of the number of cubes that I was planning on producing, my energy level went down, my body got more and more tired of the repetitiv working procedure and for the following time I was only working because I was following a schedule.
For only a few months I opened a labor chain, completely exhausting my energy, to make it reach out into the world. This raised more thoughts about that this is how all labor is globally connected within a mesh, and that consumption leads back to the exploitation of another´s energy and live quality.