Trafodecken as part of For cover (3/3)

Trafodecken [transformer covers or blankets] is a drawing work. It consists of two covers, each approx 160x350cm (each in two separate parts of two x 80x350cm) of heavy tracing paper. The paper was laid out flat across the concrete surface of a compact transformer station at the village edge. They were tied down with ribbon and left on site for 2-3 weeks across November and December 2020. Over the period I would trace fir needles, rain and surface marks with graphite and marker pens. The latter were often dropped as ink stains into the emerging puddles. Over this time, the covers were frequently attended to: tied down, adjusted, in heavy winds rolled up for protection, rolled out again, water was wiped down also.

The first process started with an unmarked cover for several days before starting to trace needles, then water through staining. This resulted in a luminous blanket.

The second process started how I initially intended to start: to take a surface rubbing with a thick graphite stick right at the start (I abandoned that idea with blanket 1 as by the time I was ready to mark the surface many insects started inhabiting it, the graphite rubbing too violent to interact). The second blanket also acquired ink stains, mainly blues, the weather was much calmer, it was frosty too at point, I never rolled it up. This is produced the graphite blanket.

I ended process 1 at the point the paper started to disintegrate and tear easily. I ended process 2 when I was going away for a few days and didn’t want it unattended.

I experimented with various views and objecthood, uncertain as to the status of the work (as process or as object). Eventually, the graphite blanket (ripped once when I was trying to dry it at home after disassembly) covered the transformer station again, the luminous blanket became a kaleidoscopic viewing device for the meadow edge (please see here for a more in-depth discussion of this process).

Trafodecken facilitated the understanding of care and maintenance work within the drawing/contact cycle, and the shift in the practical work (less so the Research dissertation) of considering the haptic and touch as care matter also. This presents a late re-focusing of the module’s work, it is in line with the wider thematic of setting out with the body as a drawing tool and concerns of contact, touch and relational matter. It also facilitates the siting of the two other works, Im Walde and Walnut tree, as discrete works which are linked and related through the two covers, sited on the transformer and in bushes no the meadow edge. The discussion of immersion and access to the work also enabled to reorientate the objecthood and what these Trafodecken are as artistic work towards something that is haptic, encountered up close and can be interacted with (that they produce both rather immersive close-views and aesthetic photographs is a different matter, how these resolve digitally will finally be addressed in SYP).

Please see below for installation views of both Trafodecken.

1. Trafodecke 1 (luminous blanket)

2. Trafodecke 2 (the graphite blanket)

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