Lesley Hilling The Lightening, detail

Inside The Matrix Maker by Sean Caton

Reflections on a sculpture, The LightningAn essay by artist, Sean Caton

The matrix maker inhabits a lofty room, with its leprous ceiling, at the top of a church on the Walworth Road. One rainy afternoon, I was invited to visit and ushered into the inner sanctum for an expedition into the matrix. The stupendous tower before me entitled ‘The Lightning’ was constructed from hundreds of pieces of recycled, adapted wooden pieces arranged to form a rising column, rising from dark to light. On a workbench, many tiny spindles and sections are glued and clamped together in a riotous mesh of protrusions and appendages that go to form the viscera of the matrix. The maker does not reveal the methodology of these constructions and there is no apparent blueprint – the densely packed web of structures just seems to proliferate ad infinitum. You are left to ponder similarities with aerial maps of imaginary city grids teeming with alleyways and trajectories, walkways, platforms, and slanting corridors. Somewhere along the line, there has been a rendezvous with a de-constructed Bolshevik geometry. This has now followed its own nose.

The entrancement of entering the matrix is in knowing that you will become lost and find one of the maker’s memories in the guise of a vintage photograph, tucked into a minuscule compartment, framed by an expanding galaxy of boltholes and casements that invariably lead back to a point of ingress. Here and there, are optical lenses which afford a closer view of the grain, its clockwork parts. Residual cogs and springs filched from an autopsy of battered clocks that stopped ticking long ago. This simulacrum of inner machinery also reminds the explorer that this could be a paradigm shift device, its exact purpose yet undisclosed. The iterations of memory that occur in the matrix are the select biography of the maker. We see what they want us to know about their life, in the handiwork of an elusive innovator. Occasionally, the experiencer will collide with a little white porcelain doll (Frozen Charlotte) who pops up within the infrastructure to greet us. Hello.

The architectural potential of the matrix is turned on its head when we meet other pedestrians travelling through this seething complex, as if stuttering along on a conveyor belt towards the nucleus. Where do they go and what are they for? Turn another corner and you come face to face with several animal skulls, pristine, bleached, feline craniums – like one might find in an 18th century wunderkammer. Perhaps we have arrived at the terminus? The theatricality of the matrix is brimming with infinite dramas, in plays that have yet to be enacted, disclosed to us in sectors of an ever burgeoning parallelism. The fantasy element of this structure lies in its intricate inner scaffolding, which is akin to the hive, or power house at the end of a remembered dream. It just keeps on promulgating itself and therein, lies its momentum.

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