Friday, 6 June 2008
Bathing in knowledge
Bath of knowledge...
This bath is made entirely out of books which Vanessa cut and fitted together over a metal frame to form a bath of books, which is suspended by four antique bath tub, lion-shaped feet. She intends to later cover it in layers of resin and has already applied proper taps and drain, so that it will be a utilizable, functional bath at all effects.
The idea is of immersing oneself in knowledge, books, truths, and 'cleaning' or ‘purifying’ one's mind with from external, every day life bombarding from media, by reading ad reflecting on books,- ‘pure sources’, which is of course, metaphorical, implying we can become polluted by ideas of truths and knowledge, which we can only 'clean' by reading our way through to our own ideas and reflections.
Footprints were made by tracing her foot prints as she got out of the bath and walked over to the sink, on the right, which is filled with shredded pages, ripped from books. Under the sink is a stack of books. Vanessa also used pages to cut out the foot prints, which she glued on the floor, going from the bath to the sink.
The books are mostly old, hard cover, fiction and historical books. From the outside of the bath one can read the spines of some, as on the rim of the bath, which is covered entirely by book spines. In side the tub, open pages are laid out, so they can be read whilst lying in the bath.
Vanessa works mainly with books, light bulbs and plays with notions of knowledge, information, identity through knowledge, and tradition with all its imprisoning stereotypes and classifications in today’s society.
She also refers to food relating it to knowledge and generally to the concept of societies which thrive and become more centred on capitalist and consumerist modes, dictating lifestyle, life objectives and social expectations. Social ‘bingeing’ on classifying social identities according to force-fed notions and encoded schemes of a ‘free’ modern age in which we are unwittingly dictated by the capitalist virus in all of us, perhaps inevitably welded to our survival instinct.
I believe her work can be interpreted on many levels, also, within very sensitive topics, that I think many people, perhaps mostly women, but not necessarily excluding men, can relate to, as for example food disorders and sexual inhibitions through social pressures created by media dictating expectations.
On the right and bellow you see Vanessa signing the bath, having finished it (but still missing the resin coating to come later), after months of work in Canterbury.
Where would your mind flow to, if you were to loose your self in a bath of books, pages and words, only you- alone with those words?