Month: September 2020

Schrödinger’s Fart

Schrödinger’s Fart.

I am very interested in the DADA way of thinking, in both art practice and life, humour, spontaneity and a divergence from the norm/a lack of “class” are very important to me. I particularly enjoy distributing my pieces myself, and am a big fan of public art, ephemera and performance.

With this postcard I approach the idea of truth in art. I declare an action has been taken upon the postcard that cannot be proved, and by doing this change the narrative of the piece of card. You will never know if I have indeed farted on the postcard, therefore to you, I both have and haven’t, it is forever in question – Schrödinger’s Fart. I’m interested in this state between knowledge, as well as how our knowledge of actions taken on or with objects impacts our view of those objects.

This print is of course quite graphic, by printing on the cards I have physically altered them, so it is not the same thing as me simply handing someone a blank card and verbally telling them I have farted on it. Perhaps I could experiment with that way of looking at these ideas, however I really like the appearance of these prints (although the ink quality could definitely be improved) and I think they hold more power as objects having gained the fart print. It is also much easier to convey the idea of the action if it is permanently stamped onto the object, rather than attempting to speak to everyone you hand the cards out to.

I distributed the pieces by plaguing strangers on the Royal Mile, asking if they would like a postcard in a similar manner to those charity workers whose job it is to flag down members of the public in busy parts of Leeds (and probably every large city). The biggest hurdle in giving them away was the first contact as many people are simply not interested in stopping, talking or taking a hand-out – this may be related to Coronavirus. I found however that the majority of people who took the time to look at the postcard would then soften up, usually taking one with a laugh. There were definitely a fair few weird looks, but I really enjoyed giving out the cards and would like to do something like that again.

Batman even came over to receive a card at one point, and I am told he later sniffed it.

TOUCH ME (Day 1)

TOUCH ME, a public postcard.

One of the most interesting parts of a postcard, in my opinion, is that it is a platform for connection and relationship. The tactile nature of a postcard lends itself to an intimacy between its sender and recipient, the effort of sending a postcard itself creates the implication of closeness between the two parties, even more so in the modern world where instant communication is the standard. Historically postcards are known to have contained messages to distant family members, or separated lovers, as well as stories of holidays and life changing events.

Due to the current Coronavirus pandemic, physical connection with others has been stunted. Our worlds have grown smaller as “the general public” has become a slur for “the infected masses”, it currently being illegal to meet with anyone living outside of your household. ‘TOUCH ME’ embodies my will to connect with those around me, a pulse check on the city; are there others out there?

The print is on an A3 piece of Styrofoam (not waterproof at all), and I zip-tied it and an ink pad to iron railings in a busy section of Nicholson Street, known for its abundance of students. I installed the piece at 7:00am on Sunday the 27th September, and placed the first finger print myself.

I checked up on the card at around 2:00pm the same day, happy to see that it was still there and had gained a couple responses. While I watched it garnered a few looks, with a couple of groups slowing down to look but no one going so far as to contribute.

At 1:00am on 28/09 I checked on the card a final time and it had gained a fair few more responses, doubling since my previous visit. Still, the visual effect was less than impressive and gave my cause to think about the difficulty of engaging an anonymous public in an artistic piece, particularly if it requires the sacrifice of an inky finger. I was, however, very happy with the appearance of some variation, in the initials which appeared in the top right hand corner, and I was glad that it hadn’t yet been taken down. I have therefore decided to leave the postcard up, and will continue to monitor the response, if any.

South College Street, Edinburgh


For my first postcard I decided to expand on work from my FMP at Foundation, ‘Post’. I was interested in the materiality of a postcard, as it is an object which is meant to be touched, felt, something which has been undermined in this project by the nature of the coronavirus pandemic and our lack of communal studio space. The commercial postcard is also often originally something of little value, produced in bulk and sold in tourist shops for often less than a pound. Value, in my view, is only added to these objects once they are taken by a person and changed, written on, sent, collected. I wanted to experiment with this idea of attributing value to otherwise unloved objects, as well as looking at my interest in place and material. Using the water soluble “sandwich” technique and a web of machine embroidery I combined pieces of detritus sourced from the street to create a postcard reflecting the nature of my address, South College Street.

I spent around half an hour collecting materials, using disposable gloves and freezer bags, and found the process quite enjoyable, peaceful even as I got lost in scanning the floor. The most plentiful items were cigarette butts, followed by a large amount of feathers, but there were also gleaming jewel wrappers, coins and half a cassette tape. While the process of collection was fun, upon returning to my room I quickly realised that I hadn’t accounted for the smell that I had invited into my space – largely wafting off of the damp cigarette butts.

The sewing process was surprisingly easy, this is probably due to the new, thicker water soluble fabric that I used for the two sandwich pieces. The machine handled the varying textures and heights very well and didn’t put up a fuss about being asked to allow freehand embroidery. Next time I wouldn’t trace the postcard shape onto the fabric in pen as this was visible after dissolving.

The above images show the piece after the water soluble fabric has been dissolved and it been given time to dry. After dissolving much more colour and detail of the materials is visible through the stitching. I am fairly happy with how the piece turned out; the process is both enjoyable and feasibly repeatable and the outcome mostly lives up to my idea of portraying the location through what is found there. I really like the variation in materials height on the back of the card, as I think the lumpy bumpiness has more visual impact than the flatter front. I would really like to improve on the thread used in the piece, either making it less prominent by finding a thinner or transparent thread, or using a less foreign material on the piece, perhaps by sourcing thread within the location. I could also ham up the involvement of the thread, playing into the lace-like texture and then the  juxtaposition of lace and street rubbish. I would also like to make the embroidered location name neater, smaller and more uniform.

The postcards final resting place – stuck to the side of one of the large bins on the street (around which I found most of the materials it is made from). The back of the card was still sticky from dissolving the water soluble fabric, so I was able to stick it to the metal part of the bin without extra materials. I hope it will stay there for a little while as a small piece of public art commemorating the street. In any case, it has been returned to where it began, and is out of my hands now.