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Current time:0:00Total duration:4:15

Video transcript

this is a very strange object I see a box that has two wires coming out of it from screws looks like an old-fashioned two camera made out of wood and it's sitting on this a table with these wires and on the floor connected to the wires of these clay balls it's just the weirdest a rising surrealism of objects being put together that are that don't make sense I think like a dream I think the reference to surrealism is perfect it's a kind of surrealism of the reality of the absolute diseased insanity of the 20th century which the artist Joseph Boyce was trying to address so that camera like wooden box is an accumulator which is kind of a battery so wait it's an acute am I supposed to know no no so this is his kind of private iconography no I think that's an actual object in the world which stores electricity imperfectly but nevertheless but it's an old object and it is handcrafted right it looks like it belongs to an early 20th century world and there's something somewhat menacing about the way the wires come out of it and it screwed into it it's it's squared on this table and the table itself is square and the reference to surrealism makes me think of Magritte in that the table itself is the most reduced almost platonic example of a table a table in its full table miss there's a box miss and cube miss so they're both perfect expressions of the things that they are right but the accumulator is is a mechanical electrical object so these wires come out not very carefully and are sort of strewn around until they're plugged into quite literally and what's really funny into these balls of clay they should be plugged into something that has a kind of electrical relationship to it but that's the metaphor right and that's where this becomes a kind of poetry so we have this clay the stuff of the earth that this energy is being drawn from and is being stored in this accumulator voice was really interested healing our culture which was very much a product of the Second World War of the violence of totalitarianism of the violence of the genocides of the Second World War and he very much wanted to use art as a kind of spiritual means to heal the earth to heal our culture and he was very interested in the way that art could transgress science could transgress the rationalists transcend science no no I don't mean transcend I mean undercut it displace science to find a kind of irrational means of understanding our place in society and society's place in the world so this notion of drawing energy directly from the earth from the clay from the most primal material I think is absolutely key here we need to step outside of rational structures and look to a kind of magic that might heal us now and we're sick with the illness of the 20th century of the scientific focus of the Enlightenment the ways that we rely on medicine and technology and progress and we've lost some connection to something that's eternal and magical and mysterious and miraculous I think that for boys the Holocaust could not have happened the Second World War could not have happened had it not been for our bureaucratic strength had we not been such good record keepers had we not understood and structured the world if we couldn't run the trains on time if we couldn't run the trains on time that's right so this starts to feel a little bit like a kind of primitivism that isn't so divorced from Gauguin leaving Paris and going to Tahiti to find something more pure and true and natural and looking to primitive cultures to solve something that's wrong with modern culture that's true but I think that Boyce's goal is grandeur and in a sense a bit less self-serving you