Alexandria Clark

We all take on a role. Each day we dress for our audience. Like actors preparing to approach that spot-lit stage to recite a speech...a sonnet. Like prostitutes that dress themselves up, in order to get the ultimate dressing down. Like politicians that speak what we want to hear, yet know they will never be able to deliver. Like artists that say it is all for love, yet they are desperately in need of the money.

We all wake up and take on some kind of identity that is not quite our own: an identity already prepared and packaged for the company we know we are planning to keep, or for the observers of our life that we are looking to meet, yet to appear before us.

Through art, we show you what we want. We think, "what type of audience are we aiming at? Who is it for? Who are we longing to reach?" Our answers prompt us to design ourselves; pushing in, pulling out, mashing up and rearranging, in order to become right for whom we want to effect

...and right now it is you.

Manipulation is a common theme within the context of the artworld, and is requisite in order for the audience to relate with the artwork and the ideas that run through its pulsing veins. This is executed in order to form a connection, where our thoughts and experiences, that we yearn to pass over, can be shared and therefore experienced all over again with the viewer; our witness. Through this visage a simulacrum is shaped; an image simulated for our advancement and your viewing experience. Even the most honest of artwork is never completely truthful. Each second of our life is a moment that we are trying to understand; to understand ourselves and the world around us, the lives that we partake in each day and throughout all this we are continuously changing. Artwork is continually changing, being revised and reformed. We will never find this truth, because there is no complete and definite answer. Yet we still look...we still search.

No moment is honest, no artwork truthful. We make it up as we go along. We play the game. Only through that do we find ourselves on this painful, exhausting yet intoxicating journey, repeating the past, bringing up past ideas and then eventually through finding these, do we see a new take on them, a new possibility and a yearning to create something virgin, something already known but not looked at in this different light.

We attempt to stop this life passing us by. To avoid it escaping our grasp without us forming some sort of stamp. Something to leave behind. And if there is no residue to leave behind, at least something we have created was definitely there, and now remains in some other's memory. We have to assert our existence, find a witness, make sure we are not passed by like strangers on the street and instantly forgotten. We all do it in our different ways.

How quickly the real changes into the unreal. The memories we choose to exclude, the ones we choose to embellish, or see on a sunnier day where the colours are more vibrant and vivid. It all becomes a game. An affair that we plan; manipulate and exploit. The scenes we plan can become romanticised: cinematic - the dreary greys and brown turn into high contrast black and white. Remnants of a love story once watched on old 35mm film. Pain felt, becomes more powerful: it worsens the reality and becomes unreal, a lie within the memory. Eyes start to well up and then through those tears, we condense the rain to start falling.

It's manipulating not manipulation. Not necessarily mind games, just a way to make things change and work out the way we have planned. The movement from one thing to another. The real to the unreal. The positive to the negative. The brightest yellow to the dingiest grey. It's change. That's what transition is. Something moving on... moving further into the future... not staying the same. Progression.

Fear and pleasure are both actively present in the notion of watching and being watched. With our futuristic outlook and the progression of technology, the ideas of Big Brother all around, CCTV cameras and monitors taking note of our every move develop questions and queries on the truth of what we are shown and how much we are being restrained, circumscribed and spied upon. We are told it is all developed for our security yet at the same time we can never know for sure, where the truth genuinely lies. There is no escape from it in our 21st century culture, yet there is still that strange wondering, about who is actually behind the cameras? Who is it that is keeping such a close watch? And how do they see us? When it comes down to it, it seems that our society, full of anti-social behaviour and paranoia about terrorists, is in need of this 'protection'. So therefore we have to put up with this questioning, this strange uneasiness in order to feel the safety we are told we require.

The notion of Big Brother watching is accepted now, even if it is reluctantly. But when it comes to watching with our own eyes, without meditation, this tends to be considered as too much: too invasive. When was the last time you properly watched someone closely? Watched their facial expressions? Attempted to get to know them from a far. Each line and idiosyncracy that you miss out on as you catch a glimpse of someone whilst running for that train. There is a thin line between innocent observation and intrusive voyeurism. The boundaries are supposedly set in place, yet we know they are different for everyone.

I watched him for a while. Actually watched. Not observing, not a looking over, not a passing glance. I watched. Each movement, each expression. His eyes as he took in each word on the page and processed it. To be in that mind, to see, to feel, to experience what he was, that was all I longed for. I couldn't help but build up his life. Forming his past... his present...his future. These places that I would never see in this reality...but I could shape them in mine: perfected into what I wanted them to be.

It seems that I dressed up for you today. There for that one frozen moment of eye contact, that one acknowledgement. Just so that I looked that way when you took me inside your mind and made sense of your thoughts.

Games: ominous, yet amusing. These run along together. Side by side. The thrill of the broken rule. Twisting the game. The playing with the boundaries to see whether they can bend or just snap in two. The attempt to not quite play into the other contestants hands. Making and breaking. 'The rules are made to be broken'. Are they? And whose rules are they anyway? Are they our own? Do we feel our rules ought to be noted by others, but their rules are there to be pushed and played with... just to see what new outcome we could reach and what difference we could make? It is all played with the concept of transition in the back of the mind: the advancement and succession of each action and move upon the board to help along the evolution of each day.

Roleplay, the question of the rules, the quest for distinction between the real and the unreal, and the need for progression all burrow into our daily lives and infiltrate how we perceive each person and each artwork, every moment that we take part.