Contingency Research Platform / Distributing the knowledge

This 'collapsonomic' project looked at how the destruction of an office could lead to the emergence of other possibilities. Such collapse might allow you to become a bouyant researcher, a kayak-based traveler paddling through waves (outlands that were previously forbidding or inaccessible, or that are now encroaching).

However, this open and accessible hack is dependent upon its instruction base remaining available until needed. When these instructions are hosted on a distributed network of server farms, accessed through personal computers made from high levels of unrenewable resources and using constant electrical power, this continued availability is a constrained assumption.

While no form of knowledge distribution is without its impacts, and all knowledge will dissipate ultimately, the duplicate documentation undertaken in this stage of the project seeks to explore how art might increase our resilience. Using medieval technology (encaustic tiles in two tone earthenware), I duplicated my 'instructable' for turning an office into a sea kayak in long-lasting floor tiles. Such tiles have been produced in Britain since the 13th Century and examples from that period can still be found in situ and their designs understood.

Rather than undertake the construction of kiln and printing equipment from discarded resources (the approach I took to the kayk itself), this stage used pre-existing and readily available equipment. At this particular stage in history, that included computers, digital cameras, image editing software, laser cutters, electric kilns, as well as an infrastructure of research, maintenance and instruction that made the use of these apparatuses possible.




Use drawings and photographs and edit to make simpler two-tone images. Taken with Nikon D200











Processed using image manipulation software on mass produced desktop computer






Use laser cutter to burn image into block of particle board








Requires use of networked computer, with image processing software and job management software; plus extraction, power, premises and safety protocols






This produces cut blocks with reverse image. Clay is thrown onto these to make a tile with image indented





This can then be filled with light coloured clay slip (china clay 10 parts, hyplas 71 10 parts, Cornish stone 1 part) and scraped back

Unfired tile




Fire to 980 Celcius (ramp up to 600 at 40 degrees an hour, soak for 15 minutes, then ramp up at 80 degrees an hour, soak 15 mins at max temp).. Allow to cool, dip in lead glaze. Fire to 1100 Celcius (80 an hour to 600, soak 15 mins, 100 an hour to max temp, 15 mins soak, ramp down).




Finished tile




Complete set of tiles (early firings and two bisque fired only)





While this process is clearly dependent upon an extended infrastructure of equipment, instruction and other resources, the results will persevere beyond the depletion of the resources that produced them.