The Chair in the Jolly Room (2021)

Like many in this recent past, I have spent too much time on a chair in a room. My muscles have softened, my ligaments have stiffened and my brain has clouded over. This ongoing work emerged in part from this ‘locked down mind’ existing as an avatar for a source of knowledge aimed at emerging young photographers who endured my online presence. It became a game of sorts linked to a serious desire to playfully explore stilleven or nature morte. The process is somewhat basic. In my exiled room I set up various compositions that I then either photograph as they are, or interact with, to create  performative still-lives that are then photographed. The lighting is somewhat primal: one overhead flash head at a thirty degree angle, a basic reflector and no soft-box. They are the private studio experiments of a stilled but restless mind.

During the early explorations, most of these arrangements were placed on a tall stool which stood slightly behind and to the right of my right shoulder when I sat in my ‘Professorial’ chair in my virtual classroom.  Very quickly I decided that, rather than hide these constructions, I would ensure that they were ever present within the frame of my cybernetic presence. It was yet another attempt to elicit a response from young minds now muted and subdued in the online classroom. Weeks and months passed by and nothing… not a peep… not a titter came my way; I was cognisant of the fact there may well have been a group chat on this so possessing the patience of a demented gardener, I waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, on the last day in almost the last feedback session of the year, a young voice tentatively enquired about their presence in the room. I explained the game I was playing: he laughed appreciably and we signed off. The room is still there and I am still fixing time and performing.