Body building: participatory sculpture workshops

Body building was the first run of a series of experimental sculpture workshops developed and run over the course of a 3 week residency at House Conspiracy in April 2017. An open call out was given for people to engage with a collaborative project in which they would participate in a one-on-one sculpture workshop with the artist. In these sessions held over the course of an hour, participants would be guided through a series of activities, and given choices in determining what outcome was created from the session.

The activities included:
– Choosing the clay
– Slicing the clay
– Rolling the clay
– Forming a sense contour sculpture of the other’s face (not looking at the clay)
– Slamming the clay into slabs
– Choosing to work on making 1 form together OR 2 forms which connected somehow
– Molding/building the clay
– Smoothing/carving the clay

This project aimed to investigate an experimental and outward looking approach previously unexplored in my practice. Expanding on individual exploration into themes of bodily identity, intimacy and vulnerability (emotionally and physically), these workshops served as a physical way to facilitate connection to bodily experience both individually and between two people.

This process involved the artist holding space for the participant and was a test of the artist’s own capacity for providing this emotional labour – and the potential for exchange of this between the two people in such a setting. The physical closeness of helping each other form something with clay acting as a vessel for allowing emotional intimacy to feel possible.

Body building involved taking away creative authorship as an artist and attempting to work as a facilitator for an experience. The studio was utilized as a neutral environment where the break down of divisions between artist and viewer could occur, and the experience of making and collaboration be position as the work itself. Privacy, consent and choice were important factors in this process, with documentation allowing participants confidentiality unless stated otherwise.

At the end of the session each participant was given the choice of the object we made to be recycled or fired and given to back them.


Workshop process images