Archive of work / …

Lumps of clay


‘Lumps of clay’ counteracts the mentality that drives efficiency and standardization. In fact, it turns its fundamental principle around. Instead of simplifying a complex situation, the work unfolds the complexity of something simple: pressing lumps of clay.

Late capitalist logic still dominates the mentality of Western society. Processes have to be efficient, outcomes predictable, innovation and distribution need to accelerate. It is an hysteric condition, dependent on the construction and the compliance of rules. But any rule is a reduction of possibilities, only based on what is certain, computable and easy to share. Yet, our main source of knowledge is tacit, grounded in instinct, sensory experience and emotion. It is everything which is difficult to transfer, but everything which constitutes being human. So instead of reducing mankind to static causality, attention should to be drawn to alternative ways of communication, which value our human nature and address more of our mind's capabilities.

Thomas Nathan set himself on a journey, detaching from preconceptions and regaining control over one's self. Not through distant calculation, but through direct interaction with the physical world. Nathan is pressing lumps of clay. It is an instinctive action, carried out in meticulous concentration on the smallest element. And in a repetitive process one’s perception of time is altered. These actions, of pressing individual lumps of clay, provide the mental space for exploring every single detail while creating the conditions for the hitherto unacknowledged to unfold in rich complexity. And as the object is being built, piece-by-piece, it imbues the calm and conscientious mentality required for its assembly.

pressing a lump of clay
a pressed lump of clay
lumps of clay, photo: Nicole Marnati
shape A
shape H