04 Conversing with Clay


Explorations in Clay & Air

Conversing with Clay is an interactive installation that explores human and non-human agency, whether and how we make choices, and what implications this has in an increasingly complex technological world. Installation elements include air-dried clay tiles strung up in a rectangular grid hanging from the ceiling with a projected video. Whenever a participant approaches the installation a clay tile drops, destroying itself in the process. 

The work calls into question some basic assumptions about human agency. The clay and air, for example, behave according to their material properties, bound by the laws of physics. Yet we see ourselves as different. What forces guide our actions as we approach the artwork? As humans become more immersed in technology and virtual environments, what does it mean to have agency in the physical world? Is it merely a useful myth that we can control our impact, or is there something particular - even if inscrutable - about what it means to be human?

The project explores these ideas by creating a fragile balance between materials, technology, and the viewer, which is easily disrupted once a person gets involved. This illustrates the fallacy of anthropocentric thinking and reveals that we are not always in control of the consequences of our choices. The installation aims to evoke reflection on human hubris and inspire more mindful interactions that respect the agency of non-human entities.