Ahead of her duo-exhibition ‘Yield’ with Liv Elton at Gallery 163, Eliza Bennett sat down with art historian, writer and curator Hector Campbell to discuss creative triggers, visual cyphers and conceptual objectives, as well as providing an insight into the works she’ll be exhibiting in ‘Yield’.
Hector Campbell : Your artistic practice is often initiated by either a directly encountered experience or an impromptu researched finding, both manifested by chance although with perhaps differing probabilities. Do you observe a weighted frequency to either one of these creative triggers? And do you notice a marked difference in the artwork that materialised from these two starting points?
Eliza Bennett : I think these ‘creative triggers’ are one and the same, I cannot separate them. There are any number of choices presenting themselves and I’ve learnt to recognize the instance when the materials, either conceptual or tangible, present something unexpected as fertile creative ground. More often than not it is when an encountered experience and a researched finding coalesce that my visual-tactile productions find their form.
H.C : Your artistic output exists within a variety of different mediums, including the more haptic, perhaps conventional, implementation of mark-making or sculpting, as well as the more mediated, increasingly digital, vehicles of photography and videography. How do you approach the marriage of a conceptual objective with a material outcome?
E.B : Whilst a conceptual objective towards a predestined outcome predominated my earlier works, over time I have identified that ‘successes’ happen in those instances when I’m responding intuitively to material processes. The resulting visual cyphers, potent with as-yet-undefined meanings, trigger a dialogue and the concepts attached can proliferate. Therefore, in most instances, it would be truer to describe it as the marriage of a material objective with a conceptual outcome.
H.C : In discussing the process of creating some of the new works on display in ‘Yield’, there were times when it became clear you had made a decision in favour of conceptual concerns, and others when there had been a conceptual compromise in place of more aesthetic adjustment. How do you aim to achieve a balance of both the theoretical and creative forces driving your artworks?
E.B : The haptic study of phenomena through direct experience is my creative driving force, with the theory attaching itself as the material process evolves. I often follow distinct repetitive processes with a desired aesthetic outcome in mind. However, I remain open to adaptation if another alternative presents itself as a byproduct of the initial process. The visual cyphers I create have the potential to be much more nuanced, and complex, than my own initial intentions. These cyphers often seem imbued with a kind of intelligence that I have been a conduit for, so I am not overly concerned about stating my objectives in a definite way.
H.C : ‘Coherent Disturbance’, your series of computer dictation miscommunications, appealed to me almost as a form of found poetry; highlighting our superiority to technology in relation to the comprehension of complex ideas, but also the possibility of creation from error. What did you learn from these entirely accidental occurrences? And how did you seek to incorporate both these learnings and the ‘Coherent Disturbances’ themselves, into your work?
E.B : Within my practice, I try to interrogate my own experiences and my relation to things. To me, these encompass both material objects, and more elusive, elements, such as ecology and relationships. My interests repeatedly coalesce within the framework of subject formation and miscommunication. There is a fluidity in how individuals and our forms of communication can be interpreted.
I engage with this ambivalent motion by foregrounding process before signification, with the intended aim of presenting the possibility of an active field of potential. Via self-made symbols of positioned or found objects, as well as technologically-mediated ‘accidents’, these representations of ‘becoming’, and the co-dependence of their aggregate parts, disrupt the definition of an independent ‘subject’. This opens up many of the facets of what I term ‘Coherent Disturbance’.
The video included in this show highlights extracts from when I was stalking the deer in nearby woods with my camera. Their response to my presence clearly marked me out as the predatory species. During the process of filming a glitch occurred within the camera, and this resistance to capture is what excites me about developing the piece. In the process of interaction between idea, apparatus, body and matter, new forms arose with a coherence all of their own.
H.C : Finally, the word ‘Yield’, which gives this exhibition its title, can contain a myriad of interpretations and connotations, positive and negative, as both a verb or noun, depending on one’s disposition. How did you choose to understand the titular term? And how can it relate to either your work or research?
E.B : ‘Yield’ is a term that initially brings to mind ‘economics’, in terms of material profit and gains, and an ambition exists within my work to resist the prevailing economic order by maintaining lines of communication with that which is deemed useless or unworthy. This not only plays out conceptually but also in my material choices of faded paper, mistakes and other residues. The materials ‘give way’ to chance encounters, which in turn offer up their own reward.