Audio Description Track #3 – Redistribution (forbearing / forthcoming)
Title: Redistribution (forbearing / forthcoming)
Artist(s): Kenzee Patterson and Mitchel Cumming
Materials: The weight of a basalt millstone held in the storage of the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney pressing a magnesium deboss die into twenty sheets of handmade paper for the duration of the exhibition ½ to dust, held at Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney from March 6 – April 1, 2021
Redistribution (forbearing / forthcoming) consists of an edition of sixteen framed prints on paper, exhibited as a series. The paper size is A2 and the frame size is 90cm high x 67cm wide x 2.8cm deep. The paper is cream coloured, and this contrasts with the cool white colour of the matt board backing the paper.
The matt board is both wider and taller than the paper, creating a border around the prints. The timber frame is an off-white colour referred to as limewash, and the grain of the timber is visible through this finish. Because the frames have been repurposed, some of the clear acrylic sheets that front the frames have scratches and markings across their surfaces.
The framed artworks are installed in one long row. The sheet of paper on the very right of the row has a prominent design imprinted in the centre of the sheet. Debossed into the paper are two words in capital letters: the word “DEEP” sitting above, and the word “HEAT” sitting directly below. Both words follow a slight curve upwards from left to right, and taken together they mimic the logo of a popular pain relief ointment. This impression has been created with a magnesium die, the outline of which forms a rectangular border around these two words.
Moving to the left in this row of framed artworks, the debossed letters and the outline of the die gradually become less apparent on the surface of the paper in each subsequent artwork. This continues until the sheet of paper to the very left of the row has no discernible imprint. The gradual fading away of this design across the sixteen sheets of paper alludes to how the artwork was made.
Mitchel and Kenzee have worked collaboratively on this edition, and Mitchel’s imprint AFAAAR Publications is the publisher. In order to produce these prints, the artists have employed an unorthodox process, utilising the runner stone from Thomas West’s Barcom Glen watermill as a rudimentary printing press. For one month in early 2021, at the Powerhouse Museum’s collection store, the nearly one-tonne runner stone rested its weight upon a magnesium alloy deboss die, the stone’s imperceptibly slow downward travel compacting a neat stack of twenty sheets of paper lying underneath. This is a “blind” debossed print edition, so-called because no ink was added to the paper or the die while it was being made.
The paper has been handmade by Kenzee using pulp he generated from offcuts of conservation matt board obtained from the State Library of Queensland. The texture of the paper is wrinkled, and the edges appear unfinished. This is known as a deckle edge, and along with the paper’s texture, these are both remnants of the paper-making process.
As a tool of institutional preservation, such matt board normally works in service of the static, holding documents and images in a protracted state of suspended animation; archivally safe, supposedly neutral. Dominant histories are written in this way: enframing acts that attempt to still the world.
This meeting of stone and paper, each presumed to be functionally exhausted, has produced a limited-edition suite of debossed prints. We read in these furrows the words “DEEP HEAT” and think of a world that, at its core, refuses to remain inert.