‘Ephemicropolis’, = a metropolis made completely from stacks of metal staples. The piece consists of over 100,000 staples that were assembled over a time period of 40 hours.
The stacks were each broken into different sizes, designed to represents everything from small scale buildings to large skyscrapers. the largest stacks are about 12 cm high, while the some buildings consist of only a single staple. The whole installation takes up a floor space of about 6m x 3m.
Dense and garishly coloured drawings, ephemeral, digital and architectonic installations, meticulous sound edits and mythical, never-ending scenes created from looped video clips
The work I create regularly involves highly labor-intensive, mantra-like procedures of construction and assemblage. As well as being simple, playful experiments the work often touches upon themes of impermanence, repetition, structure, pattern, scale and architecture. My work often takes the form of extremely fragile, temporary arrangements, with works subject to micro-apocalyptic events such as a light breeze or a falling leaf.
I am interested in creating artwork that acknowledges and utilizes aspects of the world around me at times disregarding their intended or standard function: objects, technology, software, food, sound etc… and using these elements as starting points for exploration.
On graduating from the Fine Art BA Hons at University College Falmouth in 2000, my work was initially very much about highly repetitive techniques and algorithmic procedures applied to restricted units such as lines on a page or pieces of metal.
In 2001 I spent ten weeks at the Chitraniketan Artist Residency in Kerala, South India and exhibited the resulting work in an exhibition titled ‘Nearly Everything’ at a gallery in Thiruvananthapuram (see Under-Construction page). Prior to and since returning to Guernsey I have traveled extensively throughout South America and Asia.
My work experience includes a variety of professions such as architecture, media production and education. These jobs have always been supportive of and influential on the type of artwork I create.
In September 2006 I was nominated by Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst, art advisor to Roman Abramovich, and was then shortlisted through The Guardian’s G2 supplement to exhibit ‘Transformer’ at The Saatchi Gallery’s ‘Your Gallery’ exhibition at The Guardian’s Newsroom Gallery in London.
”Potatoes are good for building free standing structures as the starchy moisture acts as a type of glue helping to stick the units together. As the potato begins to dry the units bond together (this fits with the rules that I apply to the other structural 3d work I make: structures have to be pure – without glues, tape or other forms of artificial connection). As the potatoes dry, harden and sometimes go mouldy this also adds an element of life to the work, meaning that the structures evolve, change shape and colour. ”
A personal piece, pencil on paper. “I spent ages trying to find graph/grid paper that was more heavyweight than the usual thin stuff used in schools,” says Root. “In the end I decided to create my own grids in Illustrator and print them onto beautiful, thick watercolour paper.”
Interview with Rive Magazine 25th August, 2009
Artist, Peter Root explains the art that he creates is the result of experimentation and play. He states, “These experiments can involve highly repetitive and mantra-like procedures or can be simple, spontaneous responses. These experiments include dense and garishly coloured drawings, ephemeral and architectonic installations, meticulous sound edits and mythical, never-ending scenes created from looped video clips.” Yesterday we conversed with Peter to discuss his experiments, inspirations and much more
Obviously architecture has played a big influence on you. What are some of your influences and any famous architect or engineer you look up to ?
PR: I’ve always been extremely interested in architecture and have used it as a reference for my work since I can remember. When I was at school I had thought about studying architecture, as I was fascinated by technical drawing and model-making. However I began to realize that i was more interested in the conceptual and presentation stages of architecture rather than the desire to create anything directly functional like a building. Up until about two years ago I worked as a graphic artist and model-maker for an architect firm MooArc. The job introduced me to a variety of software and digital techniques that have all filtered into my artwork; see my Google Earth Sculptures. I love the sci-fi aspect of the work by Archigram especially the concept drawings for the Walking City. ‘FUTURE CITY – experiment and utopia in architecture’ was a fairly recent exhibition at the Barbican Centre in London that featured an astonishing selection of retro-futuristic architectural work, including a beautiful model for ‘Crater City’ by Jean-Louis Chanéac.
With regards to engineering, there are no specific engineers whom I look up to however I like to collect images of super structures like the Three Gorges Damn in China, Large Hadron Collider, motor-ways, factories, German Bunkers and generally anything complex and structural. At the other end of the size scale, I like to combine this interest of fairly ‘serious’ man-made structures with smaller more domestic, fragile and light-hearted things like staples, potatoes and bathrooms etc…. Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt of Semiconductor Films have created some inspiring films and animations; Mini-Epoch-Series and Inaudible Cities.The work of artist Tom Friedman, specifically his combination of mundane objects and materials with unbelievably time consuming processes. The architectural interventions of Richard Wilson. The complex and ephemeral installations of Sarah Sze. The amazingly detailed and colourful digital landscapes by eBoy.
Explain more information about your interest in making video loops?
PR: During the last three years I have been lecturing on a Media Production course, and as a result have spent a lot of time working with students who are experimenting with video and video editing. Initially I began to create video panoramas by stitching clips together in the same way as as you would with images. What interested my with these panoramas was that although the static elements within the landscape remained unchanged from one clip to another the transient elements such as people, cars, clouds etc… would be different in each clip. As each of the clips are a different duration they all loop at different times, which results in a panoramic landscape that is always changing and never repeats itself. ‘Cycle’ is one of a new series of work in which the title of the clip has a more fundamental relationship with the content of the work and its creation process. ‘Tide ediT’ is another clip that I’m currently working on which consists of a looping wave lapping the shoreline.
Are you currently working on any new projects ?
PR: I always try to work on several different projects simultaneously; something involving digital technology and another using a more traditional technique like drawing or carving. I find this to be a successful way to work as it often happens that the two projects merge and introduce unplanned possibilities. The Sound Reactive Drawings are a good example of this merger of traditional and digital techniques. Currently I am working towards an exhibition at the studio I share with four artists. I have been using potatoes to create units to build with, a little like Lego. Potatoes are perfect for building free standing structures, as the starchy moisture acts as a type of glue helping to keep the units together and as the potato begins to dry the units bond together (this fits with the rules that I apply to the other structural 3d work I make: structures have to be pure – without glues, tape or other forms of artificial connection). As the potatoes dry, harden and sometimes go moldy this also adds an element of life to the work, meaning that the structures evolve, change shape and colour and then finally ‘die’.
What has recently been a big challenge for you as an artist ?
PR: One of the biggest recent challenges was finding a place to setup a studio. Guernsey (in the Channel Islands, UK) where I live, is small island of approximately 24 sq. miles and is a financial centre. As a result, space is a premium and until the recent economic situation there were very few buildings/ spaces that anyone was willing to rent to artists for less than a fortune. A positive aspect to the ‘credit crunch’ is that more buildings are being left empty, although this isn’t good for the Island’s immediate economy it means that landlord’s are being encouraged to look elsewhere for potential tenants.
At the moment, what music have you been listening to and books are you currently reading ?
PR: I’m really into electronic music, folktronica, techno and reggae. Specifically artists like; Autechre, Plastikman, Tuung and music played by Rob da Bank ( a british DJ). Autechre’s two albums: Incunabula and Amber are some of my favorite music to work to, especially when I’m working on anything using intensely repetitive processes. I’m just coming to the end of two books – A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson and Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka.