Emi­ly Floyd
The Fer­tile Void

14th August – 26th September 2009
Anna Schwartz Gallery Carriageworks

There is a fine art to explain­ing com­plex prob­lems in sim­ple terms. It is a strat­e­gy employed by lead­ing politi­cians, the­o­rists, sci­en­tists, philoso­phers and artists, and is thought to have the poten­tial for great affect.

Emi­ly Floy­d’s prac­tice has been com­mit­ted to this strat­e­gy, through the use of kinder­garten art as a vehi­cle for spelling out com­pli­cat­ed ide­olo­gies. This method­ol­o­gy is extend­ed and con­tin­ues with Floy­d’s new exhi­bi­tion, at Anna Schwartz Gallery Sydney.

The Fer­tile Void’ takes a crit­i­cal view of the social prac­tices of the gen­er­a­tion of Aus­tralians that is Floy­d’s. This bohemi­an bour­geoisie is gen­er­al­ly per­ceived as cul­tur­al­ly, envi­ron­men­tal­ly and social­ly aware, although for Floyd, aware­ness and actions are mis­guid­ed. For Floyd, there is a cer­tain insin­cer­i­ty man­i­fest in ges­tures that lack authen­tic­i­ty. For exam­ple, the micro­cosms of the com­mu­ni­ty gar­den, the farm­ers mar­ket and the alter­na­tive school are fan­tasies cre­at­ed to deal with the prospect of food short­ages, envi­ron­men­tal col­lapse and state control.

The Fer­tile Void’ is divid­ed into three sep­a­rate instal­la­tions: Our Com­mu­ni­ty Gar­den, Alter­na­tive School and Farm­ers Mar­ket, rep­re­sent­ing niche mar­kets relat­ed to these cul­tur­al gestures.

The Inter­net is both a point of depar­ture for the project, as well as a metaphor for the ideals of utopi­an soci­ety. In Our Com­mu­ni­ty Gar­den Floyd makes con­nec­tions between com­mu­ni­ty gar­dens and cre­ative com­mons, lit­er­al­ly trans­pos­ing URLs onto the sculp­tur­al forms” cre­at­ing a site for infor­ma­tion exchange. How­ev­er rather than pre­sent­ing us with a fixed idea, Floyd offers pos­si­ble con­nec­tions, and leaves us wan­der­ing through the gar­den, phys­i­cal­ly and intellectually.

The strat­e­gy is con­tin­ued in the Child and Adult Sculp­tures that com­prise the Alter­na­tive School. Here, aba­cus-like sculp­tures depict var­i­ous texts sourced from the Inter­net, such as an Aus­tralian per­ma­cul­ture man­u­al, and a free on-line trans­la­tion (between Eng­lish and Fil­ipino) of the left­ist poet­ry of Judith Wright. Islam­ic pat­tern­ing, which is drawn from geom­e­try and nature, is employed, giv­ing the sculp­tures both a for­mal and organ­ic aes­thet­ic, while at the same time ref­er­enc­ing the lan­guage of a Stein­er or Montes­sori kindergarten.

By incor­po­rat­ing the organ­ic Farm­ers Mar­ket into the gallery, Floyd col­laps­es two mar­kets into one. The organ­ic food and con­tem­po­rary art mar­kets each pro­vide the for­mu­la for a response to pop­u­lar dis­sat­is­fac­tion, and so when they are con­flat­ed, this becomes the ulti­mate niche mar­ket of late capitalism.

The iso­lat­ed Gar­den Sculp­ture, sus­pend­ed from above, recalls wind chimes and wood­en gar­den dec­o­ra­tions asso­ci­at­ed with the hip­pie move­ment. At the same time, the un-end­ing form of the dou­ble helix is a visu­al rep­re­sen­ta­tion of infi­nite space. Here the URLs are obscured, incom­plete, like infor­ma­tion lost on the Inter­net through bro­ken links.

The phys­i­cal nav­i­ga­tion nec­es­sary to expe­ri­ence The Fer­tile Void’ could be com­pared to the spa­tial expe­ri­ence of the Inter­net. In this sense Floyd employs a strat­e­gy that can be eas­i­ly nav­i­gat­ed by an audi­ence already adept at receiv­ing and inter­pret­ing infor­ma­tion in this way. As sub­jects of the dig­i­tal age of infor­ma­tion, we are used to nav­i­gat­ing our way through a sea of infor­ma­tion, to extract small frag­ments, which we piece togeth­er to form a story.

Tania Doropou­los, 2009

Images

Emi­ly Floyd

The Fer­tile Void, 2009
instal­la­tion view, Anna Schwartz Gallery, Carriageworks

Emi­ly Floyd

Our Com­mu­ni­ty Garden, 2009
Instal­la­tion con­sist­ing of five black plinths with sculp­tur­al ele­ments; flu­id acrylic paint and beeswax on wood (Huon Pine, Kau­ri, Sug­ar Pine, Blue Gum, Beech­wood, Cher­ry Wood), hemp rope
Dimen­sions variable

Emi­ly Floyd

Gar­den Sculpture, 2009
150 ele­ments thread­ed on rope; Beech­wood and hemp rope
4206161 cm

Emi­ly Floyd

Organ­ic Practice, 2009
Wood­en sculp­tures (Kota Wood, Huon Pine, Beech­wood, Ancient New Zealand Kau­ri), card­board pre­sen­ta­tion box
606140 cm each

Emi­ly Floyd

Sun and Star Sculpture, 2009
Flu­id acrylic and beeswax on Huon Pine and Cher­ry Wood
11011010 cm

Emi­ly Floyd

Child and Adult Sculp­ture [1], 2009
Flu­id acrylic paint and beeswax on Huon Pine and Kau­ri Wood, on sol­id Black­wood shelf
665010 cm

Emi­ly Floyd

Child and Adult Sculp­ture [2], 2009
Flu­id acrylic paint and beeswax on Huon Pine and Kau­ri Wood, on sol­id Black­wood shelf
661050 cm

Emi­ly Floyd

Child and Adult Sculp­ture [3], 2009
Flu­id acrylic paint and beeswax on Huon Pine and Kau­ri Wood, on sol­id Black­wood shelf
665010 cm

Emi­ly Floyd

Child and Adult Sculp­ture [4], 2009
Flu­id acrylic paint and beeswax on Huon Pine and Kau­ri Wood, on sol­id Black­wood shelf
665010 cm

Emi­ly Floyd

Child and Adult Sculp­ture [5], 2009
Flu­id acrylic paint and beeswax on Huon Pine and Kau­ri Wood, on sol­id Black­wood shelf
661050 cm

Emi­ly Floyd

Child and Adult Sculp­ture [6], 2009
Syn­thet­ic poly­mer paint and beeswax on Huon Pine and Kau­ri Wood, sol­id Black­wood shelf
665010 cm

Emi­ly Floyd

Child and Adult Sculp­ture [7], 2009
Syn­thet­ic poly­mer paint and beeswax on Huon Pine and Kau­ri Wood, sol­id Black­wood shelf
665010 cm

Emi­ly Floyd

Child and Adult Sculp­ture [8], 2009
Flu­id acrylic paint and beeswax on Huon Pine and Kau­ri Wood, on sol­id Black­wood shelf
665010 cm