To clear the bush of your garden with Steve Bishop
The idea of ‘bin juice’ or trash in general was probably the first thing we had a genuine alliance with I’m thinking.
It was. I don’t quite remember where it came from, but on that trip to Glasgow we both were talking about finding ‘good trash’ and conspiracy theories and I thought they seemed to be related.
And also the footage of the Madonna record playing in the junk shop clicked.
Yes, I think you showed me those junk shops you filmed in New York and then I showed you my bin photos. I started looking at my bin because it was making quite good compositions of different things at the time. Despite the fact that it was all discarded, it seemed a more complex mix of objects than what I was thinking of and seeing elsewhere.
I think its funny that we came to this after the initial idea – when we were thinking of dislocating one of the monitors from a video wall as the main focus of the show. It has imposed a particular geometric idea on our working process that I feel is somehow easily married with the trash elements.
Do you think it’s to do with alienation? The dislocating I mean, in formal and associative ways?
Perhaps, or just that there is nowhere clear to look in the world. So, it is when thinking about the ambiguity of the title To clear the bush of your garden it starts to make sense in relation to our combined thoughts.
The ambiguity of that phrase is quite something. It seems to flip-flop between evangelicalism and something really dull. I’m not convinced it’s one more than the other.
It implies an idea of personal space and I think it’s good that’s there with the prison references, it seems to address a human desire to possess spaces outside of one’s self – even when incarcerated. Also, the literal ‘closing in’ of space in the video game parts implies a very flattened take on the altering volumes of space.
Well the higher you are socially and financially, the more space you have. There’s a closeness to the video, a lot of it being hand-held footage and in particular the heavy breathing from Pretty Woman layered over microscopic footage of an empty olive container.
There’s a direct link and distancing there with that reference: the lower class escort meeting the high-class business man etc.
I hadn’t thought about that but I was always catching the line “Do people always do what you tell them to do?” Because I feel like there’s an element of the video about an inevitability or a resigning to that fact that things turn out the way they do, despite one of the narrator’s feelings about why he shouldn’t be in jail.
Yes, but not everything is governed fairly in the human world and perhaps that’s highlighted in the unnatural waste we create with excessive packaging, or the need to unpick huge failings like 9/11 or 7/7 or the holocaust etc. Do they just turn out the way they do?
Well they have turned out the way they did. It starts to get into the idea that there is only one outcome of any situation. I think the bouncing balls in the video are essentially a demonstration of universal mechanics; you can predict where that ball will bounce. You could predict exactly where that ball will be in 5 hours time, if there was no outside stimulus. But there is always outside stimulus and that’s where things become refracted and impossible to see direct relationships between cause and effect.
It could also stand for entropy such as the leftovers from the Big Bang; the static that is still infiltrating television sets etc. But, yes I do agree with this idea of a quantum-based fate, or that cultural and political things are infused with complex physical structures.
I particularly remember one conversation we had, which was that cultural happenings were essentially extensions of the laws of physics. The example being that matter is naturally attracted to one another, on a molecular level and on a planetary level, and that over time people and communities generally cluster together; cities grow, countries become unified into countries, countries themselves become unions.
I often wonder whether I’m a pessimist when I think about stuff like this. Like we are just cogs within a machine and the idea of ‘enlightenment’, though I do believe this can happen in pretty much any context or moment, I do feel that as humans we try this whole civilisation thing, but are very often looking through its cracks.
I think there is a point when one gradually realises the situation one is in, be it in terms of your place in life or our place in the world, the universe etc. You do become enlightened in that way. Your perspective changes.