For this sculpture-performance, the artist, Pablo de Laborde Lascaris, will work with a bricklayer to construct a representation of a watchtower. Taking a site-sensitive approach, this form is inspired by the Panopticon that once stood near by, surveilling the Millbank Prison in the nineteenth century. But there is a twist. Through building and unbuilding, the artist and bricklayer will construct the curved form, only to remove the bricks from one side and use them to build up the other. Like a snake eating its own tail, this will be an oroboros demonstration of ingestion and rebirth.
The outcome of this recycling will be unlikely, confounding the build’s watchtower origins and associations. Instead of surveillance from above, this continually shifting spiral will track like a searchlight, exposing new views of its surroundings as it closes off others. The seemingly futile cyclicality of the artist’s and bricklayer’s collaboration will produce value through reflexive making and physical labour. This resides firmly in the phenomenological experience of learning through doing—becoming through practice.
10,000 hours is often recited as the level of repetition needed to ‘master’ a technique and become an ‘expert’. However, the Florida State University psychologist, Anders Ericsson, whose research spawned this rule-of-thumb, has said that such benefit does not come from mechanical repetition alone. Instead it is embodied responsively, as you adjust your execution recursively, developing a feel: a tweak here, a correction there. It is recalibration like this, through knowledge transacted between bricklayer and artists, that will feature here, as the tower turns.
The Bricklayer and the Artist will explore how artists can learn from the construction industry in an interdisciplinary move. Pablo is a talented craftsmen – especially in wood – but he has never worked with bricks. Pablo’s art practice is process driven and intuitive. His interest in bricklaying will lead him to question his assumptions about this craft and trade. This tracks with an interest in challenging the static reputation of sculpture. Working with material processes, primitive artefacts, games and toys, the artist alters their forms to question their function through shifting their purpose. The subtle conversation that emerges between performance and sculpture turns on temporality and motion, foregoing a conventional narrative for something more impressionistic and partial.