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Flat Instance featured the work of three artists who borrow and repurpose scientific concepts and processes to interrogate relationships between surface, materially and time.  

13:43 (excerpt)

Owen Herbert

‘13:43’: plaster, steel, mdf and audio, 45 mins

13:43 is the time that this plaster, while setting, was exposed to rainfall on the 19th August, 2020, on-site at PS Mirabel. Through a meticulous and labour intensive process, the surface records a fleeting, contingent instance of time. The cast has been mapped by a crater-recognition software, usually used to count impact craters on a celestial body. By turning the horizontal surface vertical, this data is translated into sound: the raindrops may be read from left to right like notes on a score. 

Sound in collaboration with Rhys Mills and Jon D’Alton.

Laser-etchings and screen-prints derived from ‘13:43’ are available on Owen’s website:  

Babs Smith

‘Signs of Life’:

The Tear: Perspex dome laser etched with hand drawn tear crystallisation and shaped with heat. The Circles Essence: Perspex dome laser etched with a quote from Galileo 1632. Found masonry from demolition site.

Bending Time: Perspex dome laser etched with scientific graph of time bending, containing found masonry from demolition site. Foundation Steel reinforcement found at demolition site and bleached photographs from the artist's childhood.

Signs of Life explores the palpable space between fragile human existence and the total destruction of the wrecking ball. Twisted masonry found at the site of a local house demolition become sculptural as the artist imbues them with a new narrative and the essence of lives lived in the home. Perspex is warped to cradle the objects as the artist explores the transience and flux of the juxtapositions of flesh to metal and concrete, love and safety to the vacuum and violence of the demolition.

Ben Allan


A series of rocks coated by liquid rubber. Encased in this skin, the rocks are no longer subjects to the natural processes that formed them, and are thus removed from the flow of time. Like ‘Undoing’, this work is a subversion of surface, volume and materiality. 

‘Undoing’: digital prints on paper

Undoing began by taking digital 3D models of culturally significant sculptures from an online database and then 3D printing them. All 3D prints produce a seam around the object, where the filament slightly overlaps. Physical faults like these are known as ‘artefacts’. To create the prints, Ben has traced the seam into 3D model digital files and used it to cut and unwrap the model, as though peeling and laying out its skin. 

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