‘This triptych of sculptures sees minuscule grains of sand transformed into megalithic forms, putting this endangered but seemingly ubiquitous material – used to make anything from phone screens to windows, plastics to paint – quite literally under the microscope. Gibson worked with the Imaging and Analysis Centre at the Natural History Museum to discover the otherworldly shapes of the individual sand grains before recasting them into colossal forms’.
Working with SPACER
Gibson asked SPACER to help accurately and physically realise 3 grains of sand she had scanned with a scanning electron microscope. With the help of photogrammetry, 3D digital files had been created of each form, completely unique from each other. It was also extremely important that the work was created in a sustainable manner.
Ordinarily, 3D files are translated into sculpture using either 3D printing or CNC routing. The materials (like foam, polystyrene or plastic) usually associated with these processes, however, are not sustainable. With this particular brief in mind, we decided to combine both contemporary and traditional methods. Using Gibson’s digital files, we could use the 3D grids to scale up in clay – a material we re-use regularly in the studio, contributing to our circular approach to making.
Once Gibson had signed off the scaling up work, we then created rigid moulds off the clay originals and then cast them – in both instances using a pioneering resin that reduces waste plastic. For every 220kg drum produced, approximately 1800 plastic bottles are diverted from landfills and our oceans.
Sustainable Creative Practice
We always know we can do better, in the face of climate breakdown. That said, this project achieved the following:
_Recycled materials used for the armature process
_100% green energy used
_No use of virgin plastics
_Clay used as part of our circular studio practice – we will continue to reuse this clay where possible within our other processes
_ Innovative resin used that removes 1800 discarded plastic bottles from our oceans
_No deforestation-causing bio-products included in the resin (such as palm oil)
_None of our waste going to landfill
About Emma Gibson
“I am currently interested in the coastline as a metaphor for the edge of reality, the end of the internet and the loss of control. Where science and nature collide and mimic each other, where so much is unknown, where human intervention can go no further.
As an artist my work aims to manipulate our expectations of reality in the context/through the medium of installation art, questioning whether the magic of supernatural force would exist/improve if we head towards a state of total post-reality. More broadly I am interested in whether we could use the medium to extrapolate the functions of both materiality and technology in terms of the human experience.”
Emma Gibson (b1980, UK) is a British artist exploring the uncertain state of reality. Having studied at Open School East and University of the Arts London, she currently lives and works in Margate, UK.
Location: Selfridges & Co, 400 Oxford Street, London, W1A 1AB
Duration: Until September 2021
With special thanks to W. P. Notcutt, and Artful Logistics