furniture grade plywood, wood dye, shellac

77 elements, combining to make dimensionally variable installations


Paratekton (Para – beside, tekton -the structure, gk)

laser-cut plywood modules, dimensions variable depending on installation

Paratekton (open sculptural system) has a large element of play in it, It could be described as a Scalectrix for grownups designed by Augustus Pugin. It is part of what I call my Neo-Neo Gothic project updating the 19th century Neo-Gothic and Art and Craft aesthetics of Pugin, Morris, Jones and Ruskin with their utopian socialist programmes to the 21st century.

The ways in which Paratekton goes together are almost infinite, the randomness is part of the meaning as is letting go some of the authorship and sharing the possibility of creating a virtual infinitude of possibilities with the audience.

Paratekton has three varieties of ornamental elements:
-The Pugin, a transcription of one of Augustus Pugin’s neo-Gothic ornaments
-The Haeckel, a transcription of one of German nineteenth century biologist Ernst Haeckel’s drawings of a diatom
-The Agni, named for the Vedic god of fire.

Paratekton Boxed Kit
Paratekton box kit, 77 boxed components Furniture grade hoop pine ply, wooddye, shellac 2011 dimensions: 79 x 81 x 42cm, material: plywood Edition of 9

Box Contents: 47 linear and junction elements; 22 wall fixers, joiners and endcaps; 8 Haeckel ornamental elements consisting of: 2 x surface in-line elements; 2 x surface end piece elements; 2 x 3D in-line elements; 2 x 3D end-piece elements

The box is used like a construction kit toy where the elements can be taken out and configured in various ways but should be put back in the box to maintain the integrity of the kit.

Paratekton Tower
This is an architecturally scaled version of the system, twice the material thickness and twice the linear scale.

Paratekton is an ‘entelechic’ structure that is sufficient for its own purposes. Entelechy, ‘in-end-having’ is Aristotle’s term for what it is to be; the inner drive, principle or purpose. In esoteric religious traditions the inmost soul of things, persons and entities is taken to be that which remains unchanged during the process of transformation which characterises a thing’s fleeting manifestation in the world, hence when Gertrude Stein says “a rose is a rose is a rose” I take it to mean that a rose is a rose is a rose whether bud, pollen, bloom or withered seed head. The changing phenomenal manifestation of the rose is not the substance (standing under) of the rose. So with my sculptural systems I am trying to get beneath their ‘thingyness’  and think of them as a process, a system. You might wonder whether sculpture is the best medium for such an apprehension, I do to! But there is a wonderful reassurance, solidity, concreteness in this thingyness which can only contain a glimpse of that elusive effulgence at the base of reality.  Paratekton is a river flowing through and underneath its vegetal nodes which could be seen as its phenomenal events. It is a carrier wave, a message carrying signal. It is not a thing, it is an event, a process of becoming, or it is a thing that lays its own substance (in the original Greek sense of that inner unchanging property that stands under illusory appearance) bare, it could be stripped of events and would be unaffected. The soul, or substance of a thing could be said to be topological, containing the properties of form within it that are prior to and will remain invariant during the distortions and transformations of the thing’s existence in the phenomenal world.

Supported by the Australia Council for the Arts

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