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Constellations (2020-21) 

Handmade cabinet and 13 x boxed drawings with collected objects, and display mechanisms. Dimensions variable.

'Constellations’ is an investigation into the methodologies, functions and thresholds of collections, display, and world-building within contemporary art. It speaks to the interconnected and multifarious nature of things, and through diagrammatic practices, it addresses the individual’s constant battle against the inevitable dispersal and (dis/re)organisation of these things. Looking to material culture as a mass infinite network of adjacent and cosmic associations, it applies the language of archives and the Wunderkammer to communicate the complex and often arbitrary taxonomic systems that we use to control and understand the world we live in — and the objects that fill it.


Constellations draws on a diverse range of references across history, culture and art, using language, image and object to represent connections in the collection. These images function in a feedback loop – simultaneously creating and destroying elegant musings and clusterfucks of information – colliding, intersecting, diverging and dispersing. They also postulate on how a collection practice can operate in an increasingly digital and non-physical landscape. 


By becoming the rag-picker of fringe culture, anti-capitalist collating and the fields of the autodidacts, Smith comments on contemporary culture’s fascination with information, organisation and narrative. Through subverting these systems, they contemplate on the individual’s place within society and the role that objects, semiology and myth play in meaning-making processes. Now more than ever we are aware of the content that surrounds us — material/digital, subject/object, human/thing — and the transcendence of this content.

'Constellations' is Amber Smith's PhD project.

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