Thoughts on Dwelling

Dwelling (for Margate, for Folkestone)

Dwelling (for Margate, for Folkestone)

Throughout the Triennial our hosting team will be writing blog posts about their day-to-day experiences of life at Folkestone Triennial 2014. Dan Addison has some thoughts about Krijn de Koning’s Dwelling

Many thoughts will pop into a Host’s head during the course of a day spent hanging out with a Triennial artwork, thoughts beyond “I’m hungry”, “I’m cold”, and that old classic, “I’m bursting for the loo”. Here are some of the ideas that presented themselves to me while I looked after Krijn de Koning’s piece ‘Dwelling’:

From outside; building blocks, pixels. Lego pressed into grey plasticine. The forms could be a bizarre archeological find; mysterious remains of a technology left here eons ago by an advanced alien race; the cave as a site of excavation. Or, instead of rock having been layered onto the structure, perhaps the structure grows onto the rock like a type of clunky parasite or fungus.

As I move around inside the space I become conscious of the occasional sweet spot; a physical perspective from which the planes, angles, and colours are in accord. Even without a camera with which to compress the shapes into two dimensions, there’s a compulsion to walk around trying to frame the ultimate abstract composition.

Dwelling. A home. The cave was the first kind of house. Our houses today are becoming parceled up into tiny pokey impractical flats by greedy landlords. Flimsy walls like these MDF partitions. MDF; flatpack furniture; IKEA. Minimalism. If these boards were all brilliant white instead of this riot of colours, the minimalist aesthetic might be stronger, an absurd attempt to make a dingy old cave clean and tasteful. If they were black it’d be sinister and somber, like a crypt.

Dwelling. To dwell is to linger on an idea. Art exists to make us linger on something, slow us down, focus attention onto one thing to unlock it, explore it, gain an insight or reward that we don’t get from a commercialised world of instantaneous readings, instant (and meagre) gratification.

Geometry meets nature. Although this grotto is not ‘natural’, anyway. It’s constructed, the rock is not real rock. Artifice. And these flat partitions bring no organising principle to the space anyway – they make no sense, they cluster and sprawl in a state of random disorder, slightly out of tune with what we expect from architecture.

Partitioning it into manageable chunks may be making the overall volume of space inside the grotto easier to quantify and absorb, because the void seems bigger, somehow, filled with stuff. Likewise, the suggestion of supporting walls only serves to bring the overwhelming mass of rock above our heads into focus. An empty cave can be a comforting shelter but the addition of an interior structure has merely given it a new precariousness. The more domesticated we become, the more perilous the world seems.

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