Copyright © 2008-2017 Phil Illingworth. All rights reserved

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A drawing of a room, 47.244m3

2.5 x 2.5 x 2.5 cm

Flies (2010)

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Exploring the boundaries between two and three dimensions is a core element of my practice. Recently I have been experimenting with methodologies which integrate the fourth dimension into drawing; not just time taken, or the inevitable passage of time, but as a critical element.

I hypothesised that a housefly can define any enclosed space with absolute precision, given sufficient time: the height, the width, and length; as well as all nuances of contour and impediment, simply by continually flying back and forth and making random contact with the surfaces of that space. It will continue to do this until it leaves through an opening, or dies.

For three consecutive days, in July 2010, the external door to a room was left open during the morning and afternoon, allowing flies free passage. In the evening of each day the door was closed, and all the flies remaining within the room were killed and collected in a jar. At the end of the third day the process was stopped. The volume of flies in the jar was measured, and estimated at (coincidentally) approximately one cubic inch. The flies were then built up in layers, in a 2.5 cm x 2.5 cm rectangle, until all were incorporated.

The flies are a tangible record of the formation of an impression of the space, and therefore a drawing of it. The assembled shape is merely a clue.

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