Compared to the wry life observations which greatly appealed to me within Sophie Calle’s ‘Take Care of Yourself’ artwork, I found Sophy Rickett’s ‘Objects in the Field’ altogether more inaccessible and personally difficult to digest. It could be because of the scientific content and depiction of astronomy-based images which I wouldn’t naturally be drawn to viewing, or the way that the supporting text dissected even the smallest of events (such as her eye test, which I found unnecessarily distracting). Also the final event where the older boy splashes the younger boy by dropping a boulder into the water on the beach, seemed completely disjointed to the main theme and almost indulgent, taking the idea of using an ambiguous postmodernism style to an extreme. I guess I just didn’t feel clever enough to ‘get’ what Sophy was saying and that in itself was frustrating!
To lay people in astronomy terms, even the title of the work is prohibitory: Camilla Grimaldi explains:-
‘Appropriating the lexicon used by astronomers and astrophysicists that refers to stars as ‘objects’ and to the sky as ‘the field’….’
I did admire how she managed the relationship with the scientist to create an ultimately successful collaboration. She seemed to continuously be seeking common ground to generate the will from Dr Willstrop to continue the project and ignite a shared passion in the face of differing technologies from different eras and different personal ‘vocabulary’. In her supporting text she explains:-
‘… I think about the dialogue between us – we have the photographic process in common, but some of the language we use to think about our work is not shared’. (Grimaldi, 2014)
The artist herself also concedes that the collaboration was ultimately satisfying and it is this strand of her work that I find interesting and useful to learn from:-
‘I really enjoy the dialogue that comes out of the collaborative process, the feeling of being challenged, of finding the right kind of balance. It’s also more fun; I like the camaraderie and the shared ownership; the sense of being in it together’. (Boothroyd, 2013)
Grimaldi, G. (2014) Sophie Ricketts: Objects in the Field. At http://www.grimaldigavin.com/article/sophy-rickett-objects-in-the-field. Accessed at 27/11/2016
Boothroyd, S., (2013) Photoparley. https://photoparley.wordpress.com/2013/12/03/sophy-rickett/ Accessed at 27/11/2016.