We’ve been designing the drawing and writing activities for our latest project, a kids' activity guide for Trinity Buoy Wharf. One of our ideas was to feature David Snoo Wilson’s Slugmarines – strange squat like creatures, cast from reclaimed raw materials such as old metal gas canisters.
The idea was that we provide a shape featuring an abstracted outline of the original, and invite a response in the form of an addition, an amendement, an embellishment to pull it out of that original function, and to give it a personality, a different kind of presence, in the way that Snoo Wilson has with his bronze cast works.
The problem was that the sculptures themselves had been temporarily reclocated from their positions on the wharf because ‘they were getting in the way’, and so we moved on from the idea of featuring them in our guide.
Thinking about that later, it seemed an interesting way of putting it. Doesn’t some of the very best art ‘get in the way’? Perhaps not literally, but in a metaphorical sense art has the capacity to cause a disturbance, to disrupt the familiar. It can extend the limits of our imagination, show us something we’d not seen before, whether something completely different or subtly reconfigure something that, until that point, had seemed static or fixed. In short, art can ‘get in the way’.
It’s probably not what was meant when we were told that the Slugmarines were getting in the way, but in this case the literal also seemed to resonate as the metaphorical.