Inspired in part by the model constructions I made during my residency on Hadrian’s Wall, in part by my research into optical devices since the Renaissance, and in part by my childhood memories of sticky-backed plastic and castles made from household furniture, I have been working on three sculptural ‘devices’.
(Streffen, Studio Diary, 2010)
The Beak and The Bicycle fused textual and archive-led research with studio research in three separate, interactive sculptural elements, each with a slightly different function: a device to measure longitude; a device to help you to see like a bird; and a device for turning the world into film. The piece was conceived as a whole, and hence has a formal visual cohesion, though the aesthetic clearly originates in the tradition of recycling and making-do. It was an immensely playful piece, and very popular during exhibition, where visitors repeatedly described their pleasure, delight and exhilaration in using the ‘zoetrope’. The three separate pieces toy with some of Duchamp’s favourite ingredients, wilfully misreading the received ideas about his work, to enable me to engage in a deeply personal and particular discussion of appropriation.