SafARI Artist Profile- James Carey
Melbourne based artist James Carey works with the everyday lived experiences. Carey’s practice is site responsive and utilizes materials from the built environment to create an intangible experience. His interaction within this space creates work based on sensory and ephemeral encounters. The microcosms he creates rupture the familiarity of the norm to create new understandings of our surrounding environment. We would like to thank Carey for dedicating time to meet us for an interview.
Carey’s recent exhibitions include: Planar Shift, Schoolhouse Studios as part of the Melbourne International Arts Festival, 2012, Domestic Occupation 1, CSI Flinders Street Station, 2012, A Look Back, Tinning Street Gallery 2012 and Fantasy Fees Apply as part of Mannorisms, Cromwell Manor, 2013.
Tell us a bit about your work for SafARI?
I’m exhibiting in Wellington Street Projects. My work is an installation of dust drawings, found objects and a time lapse video. The dust drawings were made when I occupied Flinders Street station for a month and the found objects and time lapse was from my time spent in Summer Hill, Sydney.
How would you describe your practice?
I work site responsively as I don’t have an idea before entering a location, it’s all dependent on my interaction when I’m there. My practice has evolved in terms of interiority. I look for spatial and temporal relationships with sites that are in transition. It’s only through my occupation that the activation of the space reveals temporal conditions
Tell us about your relationship with these sites?
I research the historical background of a site that is normally abandoned and then spend some time there. While I’m there, I record and map out ephemeral conditions such as smell and sound to inspire and influence what I do. I think about them as typographies or mapping of spaces. Its like artifact making, and the documentation of it is a huge part of my work.
Tell us about the dust drawings from Flinders St Station, Melbourne?
I occupied Flinders Station with a bunch of other artists for a month. The three dust drawings are an outcome from that project. I vacuumed floors and collected the dust to make the drawings. The dust is glued to recycled rag paper and I then build up a protective film on top to keep the dust intact.
What about your found object and video component from Summer Hill?
Part of my proposition for the exhibition was to occupy an abandoned building in Sydney for a couple of weeks. Liz and Chris the curators of SafARI got me in contact with Louis Pratt and Daniel Wallace of Mungo Art Studios, who were incredibly generous and let me have free reign in the space.
I couldn’t lock the flourmill building I was in, so had to lug my gear in and out 3 times a day from the 6th floor. Based on that walking, I calculated I took approximately 89,964 steps in two weeks. I set a task to draw for 89,964 seconds, which works out to be about 25 hours. The video component of my work shows a time lapse of this progress. I’ve also included found objects from the space that intervened with and also a collection of dead bees I found there. These are actually for sale for a gold coin contribution that is donated to The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.
What influences your practice?
Going through design education had a huge influence. It was very much about architecture and looking at ways to spatially intervene a site. I’ve also worked and shared space with artists coming from different backgrounds. We did a series of projects together that have occupied houses and bus depots that were getting demolished.
What advice would you give to aspiring artists?
Don’t rush it and stick at it. An engaging conversation is key to any artistic practice so you need to constantly speak to other artists and engage with what’s happening in the world. Get a day job too.
By Jo Gilbert