Squidy Runs Away with Submersible Time
September 14 - 30
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Cast Left to Right:
Front row: Mine, Wurm, Tripod, U-bend, A-Pod, Squidy with Submersible Time
Mid row: Hoover, Under its Own Steam, Action Down Under
Back row: Altered States, So Real, Trumpet, Orbit, Hand me down
Squidy runs away with submersible time
To help you make sense of this world that I’m in
Dive into the ocean, look under, within
Plunge into the water, it’s deep and it’s dark
With a memory sealed in the mind of a shark
Slip down through the surface to the watery floor
Swim off to new places, you've not been before
The news has been spreading, that we must act fast
Our oceans are spoiling they’re not going to last
To imagine a world is a wonderful thing
It can help you escape from this mess that we’re in
Take nuts and bolts, a clock part or two,
insides of a fridge and build a whole crew
The characters form with a lightbulb like pop
They twitch and they wriggle to develop the plot
A squid runs away with submersible time
He’s gotta act quick, there's much on the line
He slips through a tunnel, with light at both ends
Can he turn back the clock can he help make amends
He meets lots of fish, he passes through schools
Who soon pass the news that we’re acting like fools
He meets a friend Hoover who’s sucking up trash
Our world is unravelling, it’s hell bent on cash
Spare a thought for our creatures that all share this space
Let’s pick up behind us, let’s not leave a trace
The word has got round that we’re ruining our ocean
With no thought for the future, we haven’t a notion
We can make improvements, we must make the time
It's now or it’s never - we swim a fine line.
Don’t mine for the takings, Don't mine to the depths
Till there’s nothing remaining, nothing more left
We mustn’t continue to take what we please
We must all act now, let’s help save our seas!
With chaos unfolding in our world and external pressures beyond my control it has been a welcome reprieve to make time and dive into my imagination.
Letting my whimsical mind roam free, I breathe a sense of life back into the discarded. Poles apart from their initial function, by-products are given an opportunity for renewal. Dig deeper and the inner child at play is toying with the materiality of human consumption and what this means for our planet. Objects that come from dark and light places to contemplate our shared humanity.
In ‘Squidy runs away with submersible time’, I take my whimsical sculptures and submerge them into photographic environments I love to explore. They begin their journey immersed in unchartered territory. A new narrative is unfolding.
About Ainslie Henderson
I have always had a love for stop motion animation and anime movies. A couple of years ago I came across the award winning work of Ainslie Henderson. Ainslie is a Scottish Writer, Director and Animator who in 2012 was awarded a BAFTA for co-writing ‘The Making of Longbird.’
I was captivated by his stop motion animation and its moving content. Feeling inspired I emailed Ainslie about his process. I had such an encouraging and generous response, I began to see this as a path for my own work.
Two years on he has generously agreed to respond to my work for Gallery Faux.
Response to Squidy Runs Away with Submersible Time, by Ainslie Henderson
I’m just going to open the website and write the first things that come to mind. This is what I tell Nadine when she asks if I’d be willing to attempt a ‘written response’ to her work. That’s fine, that’s perfect, around 200 words she says, ok I say, and right now all that opening websites and automatic writing is happening...
Squidy Runs away with submersible Time. Apparently I have to turn the sound on, before I pause it to go back and get that essential sound pumping, I get a glimpse of a shiny, exotic looking fish. Maybe this kind of fish isn’t exotic in New Zealand, maybe to you kiwis this is just a trout, but to me I might as well be diving for pearls, coming up for air and drinking pineapple cocktails on the beach. I don’t even know if you have pineapples in New Zealand? I know embarrassingly little about your country to be honest. I know you have that smart, compassionate Prime Minister, who’s steering you through this pandemic as diligently as our British Buffoon Boris avoids his illegitimate children. That’s the only political dig I’ll be making, for those of you who aren’t into that kind of thing. I’m not really into that kind of thing really, I’ve just heard good things about your Lady on the news and I got to thinking about Boris, and I couldn’t resist, and I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Back to the job in hand. I wonder what submersible time is. Time that can go under water? Ok, sound on, lets go….
SWEET CHRIST. LOOK AT THAT CREEPY LITTLE BASTARD'S TEETH! He’s got human bloody teeth. Did Nadine do this? Is it computer generated? What kind of woman is this Nadine? Maybe first, I should give you some background. Or, before going back to check on those teeth again, make some kind of disclaimer. I’m getting distracted, I know. Distractedness is how this whole thing came about. For me at least, I’m going through my emails one day, rather than writing the feature film (I write and direct stop motion animated films) that I’ve been paid to write. A very enthusiastic woman called Nadine is saying flattering things about my work which is much more interesting to me than actually making work and I find myself writing back. Then she writes to me asking for this written response thing, which I’ve no idea how to do, but I think it’s going pretty bloody well so far, don’t you? Anyway, the point is, I don’t know Nadine, or if she has anything to do with the putting of human teeth in the mouth of fish. I can’t vouch for her one way or the other.
It gets abstract. I’m not thinking in straight sentences anymore, but scratches of words. Dentistry. They hid in the underground during the war. He’s up against it, poor little Squidy, trying with all his might to rescue something, steal some fragment, some glimpse of time that he can keep for himself. He’s been working on that machine for years. They said it wasn’t possible, they still do. His own family turned against him. Turned him in to the state. Time theft they called it. You can see in his eye that he’s a good guy really. His heart is in the right place, its all just got a bit out of hand. He didn’t mean to lubricate that crayfish. But that wont wash with Ol’shifty peepers. That’s what they call him. That or G. I JOE tambourine-sardine. They call him that sometimes too. Or ‘The slippery eyes of the ocean’. Or ‘Slip Eye’ for short. They used to call him that too, but they stopped, after the accident. His brother. All those sphincters. What a waste. But anyway, no point in dwelling on it. Onwards and downwards, as Squidy would say.
A rusted rain deer pipe. That’s what Christmas’ll be this year. OH! I’ve just noticed the names at the side. Ubend Don’t Break. I’m half pleased to be given something other than the visual to think about and half disappointed to have my own meaning making bubble popped. There’s me going back to that accident again. If only, if only I’d stopped the ripple. If only I’d thrust out the clip before the gush. NO, no, no point going over all that again. You shouldn’t feel guilty about sucking it up. We all have to make compromises, none of us are pure. You make your choices, you run from something you don’t want to face, and thenyou’re swimming, further and further down till you don’t know what way up is anymore, or you pretend you don’t, like a toddler spinning in circles for the thrill of being dizzy. No responsibilities. I’m with Squidy. You can’t blame him. He’s frightened, he didn’t know what would happen, and now there’s no way out for him, he has to see it through now. Bless. Go easy on him. He needs friends at a time like this. There’s that feeling, lurking right where he doesn’t want it. It’s in his sex and in his back and his belly when he’s trying to work. She deserved better than that, Squidy thinks before he’s time to stop himself. What kind ofperson leaves someone behind like that? For what? His machine doesn’t work like he thought it would, and there is some bit of him left behind that was like a green, real shoot from the cold, dark ground in Spring. It was an inkling of what makes life bright and real and alive and he abandoned it with her to chase some fantasy of himself. It isn’t funny any more, and good riddance to that. Everything having to be a joke. And he has to remember moments, like the one he took a stick and pretended to ‘cloud bust’ a cloud away to nothing, shooting at the sky and and it actually disappeared. Orbit lots of fish. What a reliefOrbit lots of fish feels like. light and easy, like recovering the only story there ever was. Like forgiveness. I hope you find your peace, Squidy. I’m rooting for you.
Ainslie Henderson, for Gallery Faux, September 2020
For Ainslie’s wondrous creations see https://www.ainsliehenderson.com
My extreme gratitude to the wonderfully talented and supportive group Occupation Artist for conceiving this project and making it happen. For believing in me and helping to nurture my creative self back into action.
A huge thank you to the following people; my partner David for his patience and computer genius to help me make technical discoveries to get this show on the road; and other friends and workmates for their enthusiasm and feedback.
A special thank you to Ainslie Henderson for his inspiring work and willingness to respond to my own.
Finally thanks to Creative New Zealand for their support of this project – aren't we fortunate to have such a strong arts community and backing.
This creative journey would not have happened without you all.
There is nothing Fake about Faux.