Hammer Heads

What the hell am I dreaming about? Some ludicrous performance/installation in which two young men crawl about across cushions or mattresses in a paint-spattered gallery space. I try to describe this to an acquaintance but he quickly loses interest. Realising that I am speaking to myself, I turn back, only to discover another set of performance/installations – this time very chummy, lots of people sitting in circles doing something with bits of paper (cards perhaps?). I’m aware that I don’t quite belong and head into another space – this one a bit macabre (living bodies in pools and in cubes). I step outside and am standing on the balcony of an apartment or on the deck of a ship and waves begin to break over the rooftop/gunnels. I can see another huge wave rapidly approaching. There is no hope and I hang on as it crashes all around me. I gain the sense that everything is obliterated. Once it has receded I head into the ships interior looking for loved ones. They are all strangely fine. Some are even dry. But one elderly relative has drowned. There is no possibility of entering her room.

I’ll make no effort to reflect upon the meaning of this dream, except to note that it suggested an idea for an installation. This is not to say that the content of the installation related to the dream, rather that the concept emerged directly after the dream. I should confess that the idea itself is not quite fixed. It begins with three different combinations of hammers and nails. The first combination involves a pile of hammers and a single nail. The second a pile of nails and a single hammer. The third a single nail and a hammer head with no handle (but now, to be honest, I am unsure that this actually was the third combination – whatever the option was seemed much more combinatorially obvious when first conceived). But then rather than separate piles, I think perhaps everything would be better in a box – a box with four hinged lids. Which of course leads to the problem of needing a fourth combination of hammers and nails, or perhaps something else altogether. There could even be four boxes, each with four hinged lids. Or maybe there is just a single box and the view through each lid is somehow completely different – revealing different aspects of the scene (perhaps through different lighting, but I’d like to avoid technological complexity). In any case, I am leaning towards including no hammer handles at all, just single or roughly piled sets of hammer heads.

I must confess that I have been reading Graham Harman’s The Quadruple Object (2010), so the plans for the installation are probably more explicable in terms of reflecting on aspects of ‘tool-being’ and quadruple relations than upon any relations to the original dream.

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