Refecting on the first 5 months of the project, I found the deeply imperceptible of both cosmology and speculative realism presented a significant challenge to a) my assumptions about drawings role as a tool of analysis; b) identification of a subject matter to draw. In the first phase I wanted to begin to explore ideas through practice but had yet to find the subject to draw in order to develop a method.
It struck me that cosmology is able to deal with subjects at a distance, without visual or sensory confirmation of their existence. What about the opposite, phenomena which is materially palpable, yet nonetheless mysterious and unknown. This brought us to discussions “dark objects” and the quality of being 'withdrawn' introduced in speculative realism.
How does information become accessible? Kostas likened cosmology to forensics – piecing together information to make the most likely story. This recalled previous work with archaeologists. Thinking about the edge of the universe- an edge which is both distance in space but also time- led to historical objects, materially present but oblique and inaccessible in their meanings.
Coincidently I stumbled acorss the Scottish carved stone balls. These are neolithic artworks, found predominantly in Scotland their purpose unknown. The attraction of these particular objects was not only their mystery but the speculations around them that they had a cosmological function (Critchlow, Lippard). Considering these as “dark objects” which keep their secrets within, thoughts and drawing coalesced around the rebuttal of knowing, and the quality of not knowing itself.
Studies of these balls in various collections ( British Museum, National Museum of Scotland, Manchester Museum, Dumfries Museum, National Museum of Archaeology Madrid) have been made.
These sketches are developed in the studio processes of graphite, reflection dying waxing paper.- aesthetics of transparency, blankness, reflectiveness.