Swarm Reclaiming – Intervention on the recreation of Jacob Epstein’s The Rock Drill at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
As the poppet simians are all metaphors for humanity, the placement of them on the re-creation of Epsteins Vorticist work is a reference to humanities attempts to reclaim it’s lost souls.
There are many ways a person can lose their humanity – Epstein saw the human stuck in the machine of the first world war as lost, later breaking and crippling his elegant creature. We ask those who fight for us to renounce part of their humanity to be capable of the dirty work that ensures our continued liberty. We are also perceived to lose it through the pressures of life, illness (physical and mental) and a myriad of other causes, but the major effect is the feeling of isolation.
At one point due to illness I lost my humanity, as cold and distant as a plaster figure perched above and beyond that which was normal and real. The poppets here represent those who, with no reason or expectation, reached out to me. My family who never gave up on me. The friends who found time and excuses to drop by. All the others who reached out in tiny and huge ways, who never considered me to be a lost cause.
I am not special – millions across the country put their efforts in to help those who are equally lost – from the Samaritans volunteer, to the people who spend their weekends on fundraisers for the homeless, to the people who care for family members, to the teenager texting the friend who’s going through a rough time. These actions are the threads that help us find our way back through the labyrinth. This work is a tribute to them.