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Changing My Mind



1.9 x 1.6 x 1.7 m

The flat plane can be seen as a signifier of modern human consciousness - and particularly of contemporary digitality - in the sense that the human being is the only animal that imposes linear form on the material reality of the world. Increasingly we are surrounded by mediated objects and environments that are a direct result of the virtual processes that have been used to create them

Eroded into its distinctive form by the action of millions of years of sun, wind and rain on the high veldt of South Africa, the found dolomitic boulder that this work is made from bears the exquisite traces of its formation. Continuing this process of erosion, the minimal act of carving two perfectly flat intersecting planes by hand into the stone results in a paradoxical object, part raw geology, part human intervention

The two planes are covered in a constellation of concavities that are an expansion of marks made with a hammer and punch during an attempt to articulate a grid of points with eyes closed, that act as a memory of the analogue process with which the work has been made and at the same time allude to the stipple and cuppule marks that are a feature of early human rock engraving

Made on residency in the UNESCO designated Cradle of Humankind from the material that gives this culturally momentous landscape it’s unique form, 'Changing My Mind' explores the idea that consciousness is situated simultaneously in the brain, the body, and out into the world through physical engagement with the stuff of reality, as a reciprocal process

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Human Nature


Dolomite, chert, gneiss, banded ironstone and breccia stones, cast iron element, patinated steel support

2.75 m x 2.75 m x 30 cm

Forty naturally eroded stones have been collected from the Cradle of Humankind, South Africa, three flat faces have been selected on each stone and the process of reduction has been continued by hand to form intersecting planes. Operating as a portrait of the geology that supported the evolution of our early hominin ancestors, the different stone types in the work are present in quantities proportional to their occurrence in the vicinity of the Plovers Lake early hominin site

At the centre of the group is another object that is composed entirely of interconnected triangles. Access was granted to the collection of fossilised human remains discovered at Plovers Lake, and a small fragment of cranial material from an anatomically modern Homo Sapiens dating from around seventy-six thousand years ago was digitally scanned. The polygonal mesh that describes the virtual form was then subjected to a dramatic reduction from over one million triangles to seventeen. This virtual data was then three dimensionally printed and cast in iron

All forty one objects are arranged in a geometric grid, arrayed on a support structure made of twenty five tessellating steel tiles contained within a frame that is raised above the floor as if defying gravity. The edges and facets that thread through the installation constitute an attempt to extend the idea of what it is to be human by locating aspects of the evolution of consciousness beyond the body and into the geology that supported it, simultaneously alluding to the deep geological past and the present moment as part of this continuum

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Site-specific durational performance and performance relic, earth, steel frame, stroboscopic light and sound

5 m x 5 m / 7 mins

Concept, artistic direction and choreography: Mat Chivers
Performed by: Manthe Ribane and Mada Sthembiso
Choreographic advisors: Joni Barnard, Kieron Jina and Beathur MGoza Baker
Costume: Pieter Burger / WAKE and Mat Chivers

Before any human made meaningful marks, there was most likely a ritual culture that used the body to generate rhythmic sound and movement. As a result of prolonged periods of participation, these early humans would have become immersed in a state of trance, in the first stages of which, the participant would perceive complex, internally experienced, geometric visions. These universal constants include grid and point patterns known as 'entoptic' forms and are believed to have a direct relationship to the architecture of the human brain and may explain the source of the oldest human marks that we know of

Exploring the notion of the body as a drawing device - thinking out into the world through physical engagement with material - the performers reference a trance like state in their movement. Lit solely by stroboscopic light which accentuates a sense of relocation into an altered state of consciousness, the performers use their bodies to generate rhythmic sound through controlled breathing, whilst making marks that articulate grid and point networks in the red iron rich earth earth from the Cradle of Humankind contained within a five by five metre frame. The physical traces of the movement remain as a performance relic for the duration of the exhibition

Rather than referencing a specific culture, this work focuses on exploring what we all share as a species. Every human being has the capacity to experience the fundamental geometries of their perceptual make-up. 'Bassline' references aspects of both traditional trance dance culture through the postures held over the duration of the work and contemporary trance dance culture, collapsing millennia of human evolution into a brief moment in time

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Altered States


6 x random combination, brass plate etchings (edition of 15 each)

5 x black on white photo gravure etchings (edition of 15 each)

5 x white on black photo gravure etchings (edition of 15 each)

6 x monotype prints (unique)

5 x site-specific paper pulp drawings made from plant and earth material collected from Plovers Lake cave, Cradle of Humankind, Guateng, South Africa (unique)

All 37 x 29 cm

Some of the earliest examples of human mark making that we know of are grid-like lines incised into stone that were found in South Africa and are believed to have been made about seventy thousand years ago. The source of these images are thought by some researchers to be an externalisation of entoptic phenomena - complex geometric patterns experienced within the visual consciousness during the trance experiences which formed part of early human ritual culture

Contemporary researchers in the fields of neuroscience, psychiatry and paleo-anthropology believe that there may be a correlation between the specific forms of particular entoptic geometries and the architecture of the brain itself. In effect the brain seeing itself from the inside

'Altered States' is the collective title for a series of diverse works on paper that explore the nature of geometric mark making. Overlapping parallel lines are tuned to the dimensions of the image, resulting in varying degree's of incidence in order to induce perceptual sensations in the viewer that relate to the experience of entoptic phenomena

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HD digital film

7 minutes duration

Getting my first real taste of living and working for an extensive period of time in Italy I have attempted to immerse myself as much as possible in this fascinating new context. Through my research and experience of the place, an awareness of the extraordinary conjunction of human culture and the natural environment that typifies the landscape has captured my imagination

I have become particularly fascinated by the tradition of elaborate formal gardens, with their inherent sense of rationality and order (imbued with sensuality and grandeur) achieved through the use of geometry and the application of proportion. I am interested in how this historical layering exists in counterpoint to the increasing presence of the digital world - particularly in terms of how digital processes and robotic manufacturing methods are threatening the livelihoods of the artisans that have worked in the marble quarries of the Alpi Apuane for centuries

In this collaborative work the Italian noise band VIP Cancro were invited to improvise a live sound piece and performance artists Alessandra Podesta and Anonymous were invited to improvise movement material in response to the sculptural installation 'Satyri' and the 'Human Nature' bronzes. A film was made on the summer solstice of the ensuing improvisations in rural and industrial locations in the vicinity of Colonnata, in the heartland of marble quarrying near Carrara

The film is framed within a Venn diagram-like perimeter mask known as the Vesica Piscis which is derived from two circles overlapping so that the circumference of each touches the centre point of the other. The two nodes at the centre of each circle are retained as opaque black points. The work is based around a symmetrical structure composed of seven interrelated sections and expands on the notions of the conjunction of opposites as explored in 'Satyri' and 'Human Nature' and the understanding that there is no such thing as duality

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Nero di Colonnata marble elements on Carrara bianco marble bases

2.1 x 1.8 x 1.4 & 1.5 x 1.6 x 1.3 m (including bases)

'Satyri' is focused on an intervention with two monumental scale blocks of naturally eroded Colonnata black marble discovered in, and collected from a ravine on the upper slopes of the mountains near Carrara, Italy. Relating directly to the ideas explored in 'Human Nature' but radically shifting the scale, I have found six naturally flat faces and continued the process of erosion through artificial means, in this instance through the use of a robotic milling machine

The smaller of the two marble elements retains a passage of low relief form on one face that is the memory of the pathway from the cutting head of the milling machine. The two stone elements rest on oval plinths of different dimensions made from white Carrara marble with two distinctive styles of Tuscan cornicing. In this work the use of traditional white marble bases alludes to the aesthetics of classical culture that support a contemporary interpretation of the conjunction of opposites. The act of intervention and combination alludes to the nature of the technological gaze and how we impose it on the world around us

I have learnt through working with the local quarrymen and artisans of Colonnata where the stone was sourced that there is a strong local history of anarchy. The Satyr is a mythological entity with the upper body of a human being and the lower half of a goat. The term 'satire' does not etymologically derive from Satyr but the notion of a satire shares the subversive nature of the Satyr. The Satyr are depicted as a force in opposition to urbanity, decorum, and civilisation itself. The stone elements of the installation are half natural, half artificial in the manner of the Satyr

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Human Nature


Forty white bronze elements

Average size 15 x 10 x 5 cm

For some time I have been researching the extraordinary history of working in marble that has occurred in the area of Italy where I have been living and working in 2014. Surrounded by the most virtuosic works in stone I have decided to take a stance that echoes and distills the conceptual thread that runs through my approach to making. In this instance, what is the minimum intervention I can have with this extraordinary ‘noble’ material yet still generate meaning

I have collected a number of small naturally eroded stones that have been revealed by eons of weathering, untouched by human hand, lying on the surface of the ground near the historically significant marble quarries of the Alpi Apuane. On each of these stones I have selected a minimum of three of the most naturally flat faces and have followed their lead by rubbing them flat by hand with successive grades of carborundum paper until their planes intersect

Casting a selection of forty of the resulting stones into white bronze has reduced the tonal range across the materials allowing the work to read as an array of forms. As intentionally ambiguous objects, the bronzes allude to the idea of the human desire to make a mark on the world - an un-heroic gesture in a material with a heroic history of human use

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Cast & patinated aluminium

2.2 x 2 x 1.7 m

Collection of Oxford University Mathematical Institute

'Axiom' is a site specific work commissioned for the new Mathematical Institute building at Oxford University developed in conjunction with mathematicians and after a residency at the institute. Taking the idea that material phenomena are governed or defined by fundamental geometric principles the sculpture employs a combination of symmetry in the form of a pure geometric framework and asymmetry as expressed through an entropic event

A hand made object was constructed using a combination of six equilateral triangles joined in various open configurations so that they partially enclose space into which polyurethane foam was injected and which then expanded, constrained by the containing geometry. This object was then digitally scanned, the resulting data is an accurate digitally filtered record of an entropic event – matter expanding over time and in space until its energy balances with the physical variables that constitute it and the environment in which it was formed and its growth ceases

Digital imaging software uses a mesh of tessellating triangles to articulate the surface of complex three dimensional structures. The selected form is composed of over 1.5 million polygons, echoing the physical triangular geometry that determined the outcome of the process in the source object. Working on a mesh using digital imaging software these polygons can be viewed virtually as a wire frame that describes the edges of the tessellating triangles. A programming script has been applied to this data that makes it possible to physically build these virtual lines. The overall geometry has been subjected to a radical reduction of polygons and another programming script has been applied to extract polygonal edges which were used to extrude the proportionally scaled spars with triangular profiles that make up the form. The entire exquisitely complex geometry has been built using 5 axis routing technology then cast in aluminium

Referencing complexity and interrelatedness, the original hand built object that is the source of the sculpture now exists as space within the form - encapsulated by a physical manifestation of a mathematical and digital process. The form has been so fragmented through the reduction of the digital mesh that from some perspectives it appears on the point of disintegration. There is a strong interplay between traditional notions of sculpture relating to mass and volume and the rejection of this idea for a form that can be perceived as information exhibiting a cloud-like quality


Eye's Mind


CCTV camera, support structure, computer and coding, transducer, sound, light, particulate matter, digital projection, environment

1.8 x 1.2 x 1.2 m + projection in environment

Charles Bonnet Syndrome is a perceptual condition experienced by people with partial or total loss of sight in which the subject experiences complex and vivid geometric visual hallucinations. 'Eye's Mind' has been developed in close conversation and collaboration between artist Mat Chivers, clinical psychiatrist Dr Dominic ffytche and systems developer Robert E Davis as a response to this phenomenon

Acting as a metaphor for Charles Bonnet Syndrome, a CCTV camera is focused on a plate on which particulate matter is arrayed. The image that the camera reads is continuously translated into sound which is played through a speaker fixed below the plate. The resonant frequencies induce the particulate matter on the plate to form fluctuating geometric patterns known as Chladni figures. The digital projection that relates with the the physical structure is derived from a computational filter that detects and translates extremity of movement in the Chladni figures into image. Significantly, the Chladni figures are deeply reminiscent of the hallucinations experienced by those who experience Charles Bonnet Syndrome

'Eye's Mind' constitutes a scientifically accurate representation of a specific human neurological condition but at the same time it could also be perceived as alluding to something that is universal in the sense that all human beings are driven by the geometry that constitutes the fundamental basis of material reality and underlies the formation of our bodies

It is believed that the geometric visual hallucinations that CBS sufferers experience are a result of the architecture of the brain literally seeing itself. This raises significant questions neurologically and philosophically in terms of what we understand about the source of consciousness




Plaster casts taken from terracotta masters, poplar wood

1.8 x 1 x 1.5 m

Private collection

A photograph of an iceberg found on the internet has been given to Giorgios Alexandridis, a restorer working on the Parthenon, with the instruction to model his interpretation of the iceberg in a material of his choice - in this instance terracotta. Of course the photograph only gives a 2 dimensional perspective but the direction was given that he should repeat the form on the other side resulting in a three dimensional object. Using no images or gestures Alexandridis attempted to describe in words to the best of his ability, the form of the object that he has just made to a second artisan, Vaggelis Hatzis, who then modelled his own version based on his memory of the verbal description that he had received from Alexandridis

The two terracotta objects were then cast in fine plaster and presented, seamlessly fused, so that the first half is above the surface, the second half below, a two thirds life size table. A similarly proportioned chair is placed at either end of the table. The work is presented on a plinth that raises the work so that the viewer can see both halves of the 'iceberg'

The iceberg element of this work was initially intended to be made in Pentellic marble - the marble that was used for innumerable monumental works in what is commonly recognised as being the birthplace of democracy as we know it. In retrospect, the provisional nature of the use of plaster as a result of logistical constraints seems to lend the work accuracy in light of the political and economic context of the time within which it was made

The incongruous nature of an iceberg in Athens locates the conversation within the work beyond the national and into a wider context of global political and economic mindset that is central to the creation of extreme social situations and is affecting the very climate of the planet. Alluding to the nature of dialogue, the sculpture presents the idea of 'failure' as a key element in the evolution of creative discourse and the birth of new meaning

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Site-specific durational performance and performance relic, Pentelic marble dust, steel frame, linoleum, digital sound composition

5 x 4.2 m / 23 minutes

Concept & artistic direction Mat Chivers
Choreography: Iris Karayan & Mat Chivers
Performed by: Nondas Damapoulis and Christina Reinhardt
Sound composition: Yorgos Simeonidis

Acclaimed Athenian choreographer Iris Karayan and composer Yorgos Simeonidis were invited by the artist to collaborate in the evolution of a multi media work in response to a geometric pattern known as 'The Flower of Life'. This geometry can be created by inscribing a circle with compasses, placing the compasses on the circumference of the circle and inscribing a second circle. The compasses are then placed at the points where the arc of the second circle intersects the first and another circle inscribed. This method can be repeated indefinitely to result in an exquisitely beautiful and philosophically significant tessellating pattern

The performance opened with a sudden and overwhelmingly loud block of sound sampled from political demonstrations happening in Athens at the time of production. Individual voices are only barely discernible. The sound stops abruptly and a new digitally generated sound is heard. Part played and part programmed the sound has the quality of the classical Greek double reed pipe called Avlos. The ensuing composition has a Middle Eastern quality that reflects the modal system that is used in the Arabic countries and Turkey since the 15th Century and is based on a melodic system that dates back to classical Greek music and Pythagoras. The foundation of the composition is a sound derived from the idea of circular movements through sand that echoes the physical movements in space and time of the performers

In this work two performers – a naked man and a woman - used their bodies to describe archetypal geometric forms into the pure white marble dust that filled a 5m x 4.2 metre metal framed rectangle, revealing the black surface of the floor beneath as the line of the drawing. Standing as archetypes the performers moved slowly and with intensity, absorbed in a meditative task – creating a form individually or in unison, then erasing the marks with a wooden level run across the surface of the dust. The work explores the relationship between the ubiquitous mathematical phenomena that exist below the surface of all things that in turn inform and define the specifics of our sensual relationship to the world

The performance occurred on the opening night of the exhibition and the 'drawing' remains as a 'relic' accompanied by a filmic document of the performance screened alongside

Developed as a site-specific project resulting from a residency in Athens, the birthplace of modern geometry, 'Root' attempts to go beyond a direct reference to the extraordinary events unfolding in the social and political fabric of Greek society at the time of the works conception, but instead concentrates on what unifies us as a species rather than that which divides. Rooted in the proportions and bilateral symmetry of the human body and the asymmetrical nature of its expression in the world, the work combines elements of the past, present and future in an enigmatic experience that defies a definitive reading

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Hand cut, found protest posters

2.3 x 1.1 m

A complex 'Flower of Life' geometry is cut into a series of fly posters advertising political demonstrations collected from the precise area in Athens the day after anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas was murdered by fascist Golden Dawn members on September 18th 2013. The layering of imagery presents an ambiguous and fragmented surface for the projection of the viewer's subjective reading and alludes to the defining principles that underlie even the most chaotic phenomena

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HD digital film, screen, environment

10 min 10 sec

'Overlay' presents a portrait of the extraordinary geology exposed in the cliff face near Dancing Ledge at Purbeck, UK a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Combining dialogue with research geologists based at the site, an awareness of the art that came about as an exploration of the relationship between humanity and the wider non-human environment during the Romantic period, and cutting edge contemporary digital envisioning technology, the film was shot in the gauzy light of a summer dawn from a boat on the sea below the cliffs

Animated by the ebb and flow of the waves, the camera tracks the cliff face as the vessel is lifted and turned by the ocean. About 20 million years ago the African tectonic plate began to collide with the Eurasian tectonic plate causing stress fractures to oscillate out into the wider geology beyond the zone of impact. Exposed and eroded over the millennia by the repeated action of wind, rain, sea and sun, the 90 degree faulting that gives the Portland limestone its distinctive appearance is the northernmost manifestation of this momentous event that occurred in the deep geological past. A vintage recording of West African percussionists was played on the boat at the same time as the film was being captured. Shot in slow motion the soundtrack and the film exist in symbiosis with each other, the deep base rhythm of the music slowed to a grinding pulse, subtly alluding to the African source of the physical phenomenon we see in the film

The films moving image is mirrored along a vertical axis and is located within a distinctive framing device that derives from a combination of hand drawn and computer generated layers of geometry that refer to the fundamental patterns and physical processes that underlie the formation of the geology. The compelling phenomenon of symmetry in flux employed in the film has the potential to induce a space where archetypal images surface and play across the viewers awareness

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Between the Night and the Day


5 x drawings, hand ground Japanese Sumi ink on Bunko Shi paper

66 x 91 cm

9 x drawings, hand ground Japanese Sumi ink on Moriki Kozo paper

49 x 64 cm

Found throughout the world in areas of early human habitation, the hand print is one of the earliest known forms of conscious human mark making as signifier. The human hand and the ways in which we have used it to develop and employ increasingly complex tools could be said to be that which sets us apart from the majority of the animal kingdom through our intellectual comprehension of the world within which we exist and our consequent manipulation of it. Importantly, in contrast to this idea, the hand also exists as a primary organ in our sensual relationship with each other and the world

All of the drawings are made using yellow, red and blue pigments. Yellow, red and blue are the primary colours that white light is broken down into when it passes through a prism. Light is the vehicle with which our eyes take in information from the world outside our bodies. I am interested in the phenomenology of perception - particularly in the relationship between the eye, the hand and the brain

These works explore what happens when a primary, sensual and subjective form of mark making - the hand print - is brought into conjunction with a linear mesh that alludes to the fundamental geometries that permeate all spatio temporal realities and are the building blocks of materiality. Made using a compass - one of the most simple yet sophisticated tools for generating geometry - the linear 'Flower of Life' that threads through all of these works provides a rhythm that paradoxically unifies and fractures. These works combine bilateral symmetry that echoes that of our own bodies with a subtle asymmetry resulting in objects that are open to and invite diverse interpretation


Perceptual Ecology


Pencil on paper

136 x 101 cm

Private collection


Perceptual Ecology


Pencil on paper

Multiple elements, 75 x 55 cm

This series of works in pencil on paper take the human act of perception as their underlying theme. The drawings exist as a personal body of works that form a cloud of related points that relate in a tangential way to my own experience of ways into the world

I have made studies from ritual objects such as the black glass 'full moon scrying ball' owned by the Paignton wise woman 'Smelly Nelly' and a 'lotus wand' used by a Zelator Adeptus Minor Grade of the Magical Order of The Golden Dawn from the collection of The Museum of Witchcraft in Boscastle, Cornwall. I have made drawings from the internal circuit board of a Garmin Avionics GPS navigation system; the left and right hemispheres of my own brain; a mirrored image of a classical carving of a hermaphrodite, mirrored representations of the male sexual organ and the female sexual organ from an exact contemporary restaging by a French porn star of Gustave Courbet's 'L'origine du Monde' found on the internet; an elaborately hand carved 17th Century Spanish picture frame; a sequence of self-made photographs tessellated to form a grid depicting the moments from the 'birth' of a cloud and its disappearance at sunset; A Death's Head Hawk Moth; a shard of smoky quartz crystal; a mirrored image of the ionisation cloud formed from the last above ground nuclear test conducted on US soil in 1957; a mirrored image of a Himalayan iris and a mirrored drawing of the area of floor and surrounding elements of furniture in my studio that I find my gaze focusing on when I am attempting to rest during prolonged periods of drawing




Etching and pigment on stainless steel, aluminium

1.8 m x 1 m x 8 cm

Private collection

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Quinto de Ebro alabaster & Indian black granite

1.9 x 1.4 x 2.6 m

Private collection

‘Syzygy’ is an ancient alchemical term that refers to the state of conjunction or correspondence between opposites. In this large scale work a block of Quinto de Ebro Spanish Alabaster has been hand carved based on a subjective understanding of what a cumulus cloud formation looks like. The finished carving has then been digitally scanned resulting in a computer generated 3 dimensional surface mesh made up of 2.5 million triangles. This form has been mirrored and reduced down to 54 triangles. This is the furthest it was deemed possible to reduce and abstract whilst retaining a visual relationship to the source form. The resulting mesh was then built using a state of the art 5 axis robotic milling machine in Indian Black granite

The two objects stand beside each other, mirror opposites of each other in every sense, one made by hand using a traditional approach to carving stone, the other completely machine built. Cloud like formations have featured in my work for some time as an allusion to the human act of cognition. Cloud formation seems to happen at a very similar ratio to our own thought process. As fast as form is perceived it has shifted and become something else. The granite element on the other hand is placed horizontally in order to relate to the spatio-temporal extreme of deep geological time. The work is intended to allude to the seemingly paradoxical extremes of the reality within which we exist





30 x 23 x 21 cm

'Outbreath' is a life-size document of one two hundredth of a second in the growth and decay of the normally invisible turbulence trail formed during exhalation. It was built in collaboration with researchers in the field of motion capture at the Department of Computer Science at The University of Bristol using equipment on loan from the BBC Natural History Unit

Seated and wearing a purpose made black body cover in which the only openings were for my nostrils and my mouth to reduce extraneous visual information, a small piece of solid carbon dioxide was placed in the hollow below my tongue and I continued normal breathing. As I exhaled, the solid C02 sublimated and became a gas that was visible in the carefully focused light of the laboratory. This constantly shifting and nebulous process was documented using 3 synchronised high speed digital moving image cameras. Editing down from approximately 100,000 frames, I selected one frame that I believed read as an archetypal image of this process. Then by drawing on film stills from each of the three perspectives I defined what I perceived to be the surface of this event. Using CAD software, the drawings were transcribed into 3 dimensions to create a geometry that was then built as a rapid prototyped object. The sculpture is positioned on a wall at a level that corresponds to the height of my mouth from the floor when standing

As a result of the processes employed in its production this work can be seen as a kind of hybrid that conflates a traditional method of understanding the world such as drawing with contemporary digital envisioning. It represents an archetypal moment gathered from what is usually an invisible process. The sculpture is part data-driven, based on 'real' information gathered 'objectively' from the world which is then interpreted by the contrastingly 'subjective' drawing process. In this work drawing is the medium of mediation between data capture and the resulting artefact. My interest is focused at the location between data capture and its consequent interpretation. It is at this boundary that ambiguity often resides, potentially conflating notions of fact and fiction