TESTT @ Durham
On the Occupation of Space
In August 2017 I had a weeks residency at the TESTT space in Durham (https://testtculture.wordpress.com/). I used the week as a laboratory, with my opening questions being related to the space a body occupies rather than the body itself. How can this space be perceived if not formally occupied or fully outlined? How can it be explored without collapsing back into occupation? What information is sufficient to drive the imagination to recreation? Is it best to walk the fine line of this minimum or expand and risk being overly prescriptive?
I started out with the idea of the 3D negative space and how a sense of this could be captured, but in carrying out various initial experiments I became obsessed with the volume of space that I occupy. I calculated this a number of ways but always came back to the result that I am only 1/20 of a cubic meter. Intuitively this felt too small. So this became my starting point. Am I really about 1/20 of a cubic meter? And if I am, why does this feel so wrong?
In the end I just had to build a meter cube and then compare myself to it. My investigations then continued on into taking moulds of myself in chicken wire in various shapes and forms. As my practice has slipped back into 2D work again this point is now on hold until space reaches to claim me this way again...
So how do I get to 1/20? Well I am 8 stone 2 lbs, or about 51.7 kg. Per Wikipedia ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orders_of_magnitude_(density) the average density of a human being is 1062 kg/m3 (= 1.062 g/cm3) [see footnote reference 1 below for Wikipedia's source]. Elsewhere on the internet you may find 985kg/m3 or 1g/cm3. Be that as it may I come out on average at around 0.05 m3 or 1/20. [If you wish to calculate your own proportion of a m3 please enter your details in the calculations here. These calculations use 1062 kg/m3 as this is the reference with supporting documentation albeit for men in 1967 and therefore may err on the small side.]
Footnote 1: Krzywicki, Harry J.; Chinn, Kenneth S. K. (1966-07-21). "Human Body Density and Fat of an Adult Male Population as Measured by Water Displacement" (PDF). Defense Documentation Center. Retrieved 2012-08-07.