Artists Statement

The touchstone of my practice has been video – in particular, a specific editing process that isolates single frames of audio from hundreds of Internet videos, rearranging them to contrive music. No effects are used, only editing.

I later interrogated this process to point where I added a layer of complexity: the video would reform according to fractures of a broken screen. The result is a unique video-sculpture, at first appearing unintentionally broken, which then discloses both a visual and aural order.

Although I have monumental ambitions in this area, my ongoing video project has been without broken glass, though no less ambitious: to recreate Franz Liszt’s Transcendental Etudes via YouTube clips. Each ‘Etude’ can be exhibited in isolation, or placed back-to-back, whereby the viewer catches Liszt’s melodies building, and then ebbing back into apparently random clips.

My complex ideas began to lend themselves to textural work. Seamless Breakage was the first book work, in which I re-interpreted my video work alchemically, and drew parallels to processes in nature, geometry, law and economics. Taking every opportunity to give lectures, subsequent book works have been as much a result of writing in isolation as they have been informed by audiences’ critical engagement.

Another element of my practice is various monolithic, prop-like 3D works. The most recent to be completed is Entanglement: a trio of sculptures, with apparently duplicate fractures, identical to Marcel Duchamp’s The Large Glass. Other works make use of electromagnetic processes, with coins kept in permanent spinning motion in display cabinets.

Money is the most recent medium that is holding my interest – specifically, the complex and labour-intensive practice of designing paper currency. For the last two years, I have been engaged with political groups who seek to secede from their respective countries and have commissioned me to design new paper money. The nuances of money design are rooted in tradition; at the same time, each project is a threat to the financial status quo. These are ‘design’ projects in their concept, yet I feel they’re collectively aimed towards a body of work or line of enquiry in fine art that I’m keen to embark on.

I’m interested in epistemology, transformation, the transcendental and alchemical, in the context of a pivotal and transformational moment in human history. Although my visual output only engages with this context in a very indirect sense, my lectures and writings increasingly express an interest in new systems and structures which, to quote Buckminster Fuller “make the old models obsolete.” This is what is leading me to the transgressive act of designing currency – which might hold the key to further developing my practice.

Since my BA, I have endeavoured to produce a diverse body of work. But it yearns to be informed by sustained and concentrated critical discussion, that the unique atmosphere of the RA can provide. As well as this, I’m particularly excited by the possibility of gaining teaching experience whilst at the RA, which I hope will further inform my artistic development.

LIFE

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Copyright 2019 Tom Badley.
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