Perseids (long exposure): a summer studentship

07 December 2012

Perseids (long exposure): a summer studentship

First year undergraduate Slade sculpture student Jana Bercelova used her Institute of Making summer studentship to conduct an investigation into the materiality of weaving, and to explore the ways in which different materials can be ‘thoughtful’ and confer meaning into a woven sculpture in different ways.

Working with Melanie Jackson from the Slade and Prof. Susanne Kuechler in the Anthropology Department, Jana initially experimented with weaving transparent, light-transmitting and screen-like materials like cellophane and screen foils. 

She explored their physical properties and found that whilst screen foils allow you to layer images in a way that other materials don’t, they can’t be used for weaving. She also considered the anthropological and philosophical connotations of these materials; their relationship to the urban environment and modern technologies like computers and televisions.

In a radical contrast to these experiments with screens, Jana also spent time in a rural Slovakian village observing the Perseids meteor shower and experimenting with using more traditional methods of basket-weaving to make a ‘basket telescope’ that shows glimmers of light whenever you look through it (pictured right and below). In her final piece she drew on this contrast between the materiality of screens and the cityscape of London and her experiences of quiet contemplation and traditional weaving in a rural environment.

For Jana, this studentship provided an opportunity to explore the relationship between philosophy and science from an academic point of view, but it also gave her the time to engage with this a new set of materials and concepts in an experiential way.