Alex Cuffe — Natural is the Static

Metro Arts 2009

“This is everything. Let’s just say that this is me, all right? … And let’s say over here, this is you… And over here, this is Vivian, my wife and colleague. Then over here, this is the Eiffel tower, right? … And this is a war. And this is, uh, a museum. And this is a disease. And this is an orgasm. And this is a hamburger.”

In the movie I Heart Huckabees Dustin Hoffman attempts to explain the universe to Jason Schwartzman through the metaphor of a blanket which connects everything. Through this idea we can understand the smallest and biggest things, matter closest and furtherest away from us as essentially linked through a comprehensive fabric of existence.

Multi-media artist Alex Cuffe prefers Chaos theory. In Natural Is The Static, Cuffe grapples with the compulsion to create an inventory of the universe in its relation to physics. Not only being bigger than his art, these ambitions are bigger than Cuffe himself, bigger than any of us to materialise. So how do artists engage with this mammoth system of dynamics?

In a far smaller pocket of the world, ‘Lamb’ exists. Lamb is Cuffe’s pet Guinea pig who is also a living memorial to his previous pet. Despite Lamb’s rather un-dynamic character, he plays a big part in Cuffe’s domestic life, his personal universe. In order to express his interests in Chaos theory, in the fluctuations and defluctuations of the universe, Cuffe has compressed these systems down to the domestic, to its (comparatively) smaller manifestations of life.

Like plants reared by a machine, Lamb’s livelihood is dependent completely on humans. The need for humans to exert power over the profoundness of life is an obsessive yet futile compulsion. Cuffe accepts this futility through the apparent absurdness of the subject matter he links together, however he adamantly continues to explore the dynamics of such possibilities.

Cuffe’s sculpture Expanding Universe expresses this most succinctly in the way such loaded text is illuminated by cheap household fairy lights. In this balance both micro and macro, domestic and cosmological negotiate meaning in relation to each other, creating a butterfly effect of bizarre but sequential relationships.

You can locate a PDF copy of Natural Is The Static through the artist’s website here