lipstick-NASA, Jupiter Artland 2015
Bringing together a collection of constructed and found objects, installed in a specifically selected site, Lauren invites us to reposition our relationship to particular materials, allowing for new significance to permeate. Elevating known or ‘everyday’ matters, she repositions these objects as vessels, that in their own way have an uncanniness and a chronology in relation to time and experience.
Within this work, Lauren references the image of a ‘stranding’ (beached whale) as a way to further interrogate extreme ‘material’ experiences. This is described by the term ‘qualia’ – an attempt to define the non-chemical essence or experience of objects/materials; for example, we are able to define the chemical components of water without being able to describe what ‘wetness’ is. Lauren uses this as an entry point to understand how form and matter might communicate narratives, times and experiences.
Developing this enquiry further, Lauren also references ‘spermaceti’ the sought after material harvested from the head of a Sperm Whale. Spermaceti has been used in the production of cosmetics, machine lubricant within the aerospace industry (currently in the Hubble space telescope) due to its stable composition and ability to deal with extreme conditions. The material also has a direct history to the Scottish East coast where many were employed in the industry.
Spermaceti, is a material that has been carried across countless iterations and uses – lipstick to space telescopes, the bodily to time travel. This motif or idea of a widespread material ‘DNA’ poses questions around a materials ability to be felt / encountered- what this type of knowledge or transference might entail, how it may be transmitted and in turn received. As a substance it appears unremarkable, however, through range in use it becomes something extraordinary.
With great focus given to the exact placement of Lauren’s sculpture within the grounds, her ‘boundary site’ allows for a very particular sense of ‘place’ to unfold. Framed by the organic, walled exterior, then giving way to a vaster expanse, there is a distinct sense of the ‘in-between’, a ‘here’ and a ‘there’, which makes the site so rich as an encounter.
Materials: Water, welded PVC, acrylic, volcanic geodes, cast whales tooth (resin), sand (taken from beach Latitude:56.21483612, Longitude: -2.719076872 where 16 pilot whales stranded in 2014), translucent rubber, towels, sandblasted stone from original Bonnington Estate wall, lipstick.
plosive blows, Hotel Maria Kapel, 2015
During her residency at Hotel Maria Kapel, Lauren Gault researched the idea of objects and materials as carriers of (non-physical) knowledge or experience. For this purpose the artist looked into the history of the city of Hoorn and its whale hunting past. During the seventeenth century whaling was a rather large industry in Hoorn; drawing many riches from the northern seas to the small harbour town. One of the most valuable resources coming from the hunt on whales was a substance called ‘spermaceti’; a kind of wax that is found in the head cavity of the sperm whale. This high quality wax had an enormous range of uses: from candles and cosmetics, to fertilizer and oil for train engines. Even NASA found use for the whale oil, and the famous Hubble Space Telescope. This strange idea of the whale, this large unknowable thing from the sea, being ‘everywhere’, is uncanny, and the question arises if it is somehow possible to feel its presence through the objects it inhabits. Can this one material connect us to the past, the past to the present, and outer space to the deepest regions of the sea?