Pete McPartlan

Tenuous Bridges


I’m going to start uploading regular bits and pieces to social media as I do them. Mondays and Fridays are loop time, when I’ll post a couple of animated bits over on my instagram. Tuesdays will be when I put up little abstract drawings and doodles. Wednesday I haven’t figured out yet, but something or other - I’m trying to attend regular life drawing sessions on Thursdays - so I’ll pop my favourites of those up. And the weekend… I don’t know, whatever. Ive been working on various bits of sound stuff that I’ll I’m trying to figure out what to do with but they'll certainly be less frequent.

sketchbook 01

So I thought I’d give a little context to the drawings I’m putting up - they’re maybe quite closely related to the commission I did here. But it’s kind a glacially evolving little mini-practice that I’ve had going on over the years that have never particularly amounted to anything in and of themselves, but to an extent they inform other pieces of work. I could probably pick up a sketchbook from 20 years ago and find some marks that still recur - (I don’t know if that’s a great thing?) Themes like asemic writing, excavating and ASCII art / roguelike games, ideas from early computer art, or quite formalist modernist stuff kind of pop up and fly past, or things about swarms, systems, procedures and emergent behaviours might preoccupy me whilst making them. For the past few months this has taken the form of a tiny sketchbook that I return to once in a while. I frequently forget it’s there but then have an urge to add the next sentence.

sketchbook 2

In my studio, I have a little tub of lego that I sometimes play with absent-mindedly. It’s not real lego, it’s knock off Wilko’s lego - so it doesn’t always stick together - everything’s looser than it should be. After a while playing with it, constructing things that inevitably fall apart and trying to then get those pieces back together in some alternative way - trying to reuse the features of the fallen chunk in a novel way I hadn’t thought of before - I realised a commonality between this and this kind of drawing practice - the scribbled “building tenuous bridges” in a notebook. This is a concept that’s fascinating me, looking at the pieces I have and putting them together another way. Seeing how I can make these modules come together for a new purpose. And these combinations bind together to make a new structure with different physical properties.

tenuous still 03

And I’ve been thinking a lot about this particularly whilst making animation in my previous blog post - Entoptic Acid - and another video piece that uses a similar procedure that is in progress. In which I'm keeping working on the same image and taking lots of iamges of it and doing all the animation in camera. There are other considerations here, as I’m trying to make something that works in time - how to build these tenuous structures to have ambiguity of purpose as both elements within a static composition and fragments of a moving image - and how these suggest a longer form structure for the animation as a whole, where building something up as a sequence to create one kind of motion can suddenly have another purpose when put into a different context. There's an image of that as it stands at the moment.