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Photography (MA)

Tom Medwell

So much time on our hands.

Hours spent watching the sun trace slow points of arc across the flock wallpaper,

shadows thrown by the plants standing guard by the window.

The sounds of the high-street drifting by, scooters and sirens, gulls and crows.

Time becomes this solid thing, a weight, a pressure.

Something to be held in two hands and put into place:

and so we build.




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fall into place

Degree Details

School of Arts & Humanities

Photography (MA)

The works presented here form part of an overarching project, Temporary Structures In Time And Space. The project explores the ability of photography to capture extended moments in time, and in particular analogue photography, treating the negative itself as a sculptural object which can then be used to create prints. By stacking exposure upon exposure, I work in tiny increments of change, and each negative can take many hours of work to create. Precision is key: tiny imperfections can bloom into huge mistakes over many repetitions. The works exist as frozen animations, documents of action over time, impossible sculptures which fade and reappear, a reflection of endless moments past when time stood still.

Manifold 1, The Lesson — 2020, Giclée print, image size 85 x 73 cm, edition of 5 + 2AP

Manifold 2, Accession — 2020, Giclée print, image size 85 x 69 cm, edition of 5 + 2AP

Manifold 3, Assembly — 2020, Giclée print, image size 85 x 68 cm, edition of 5 + 2AP

Manifold takes its title from the use in the word in physics and mathematics, meaning a space containing a particular number of dimensions. The number of dimensions apparent is open to interpretation: with the addition of a time-based structure, as well as its geometric form, the number of dimensions appearing increases. The sculptures in the series make use of objects found on-site, and the site itself is heavy with significance: empty school classrooms and assembly hall are places where time can seem to pass slowly. The performative nature of the stacking and unstacking of these structures amplifies this slowness, reflecting childhood days of waiting for the school day to end, and the fun to begin.

All prints are available framed, please contact for details.
AnalogueArt and SciencecolourFine ArtmonochromePhotographyPrintsSchoolSculpturewindow

Zeitskulptur, first movement, Balance — 2020, Giclée print, image size 85 x 68 cm, edition of 5 + 2AP

Zeitskulptur, second movement, The Dancers — 2020, Giclée print, image size 85 x 68 cm, edition of 5 + 2AP

Zeitskulptur, third movement, Spiral — 2020, Giclée print, image size 85 x 68 cm, edition of 5 + 2AP

Zeitskulptur, fourth movement, Kalman filter — 2020, Giclée print, image size 85 x 68 cm, edition of 5 + 2AP

Zeitskulptur 45620c, Prelude — 2020, Giclée print, image size 45 x 36 cm, edition of 20 + 2AP

Analogue photography has a particular and multifaceted relationship with time. The slap of light onto a piece of film jump-starts a chemical reaction; each exposure traps a moment in the chemistry, carved by the shutter, moulded by the lens. Zeitskulptur is a series examining the possibilities of such sculpting: time becomes a visceral thing, able to be stacked, built on, used as a material in the creation of sculptures which could never exist beyond the image. By fixing the image in place on the negative, these fractious blocks of time become stable, no longer latent but frozen solid.

Delving deeper into the possibilities presented by a structure half-hidden and whose boundaries in time and place seemed blurred, the series also operates as an exploration of mathematics theory regarding the relationship between time and place. Research into an object’s shape and position (or indeed our own) from fuzzy data has been ongoing since we first looked up at the stars and found a few that might guide our way; more modern techniques such as GPS use complicated algorithms to provide precise results from the half-seen signals of our own stellar objects. The half-seen structures in my series reflect this research: while the borders might fade, an overall shape can still be gleaned, and the solid heart of each piece becomes clear.

All prints are available framed, please contact for details.

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