Simon David Eden MA Dist.[RCA]
Creating a Codagraph: 'At the Shore of the Dirac Sea' [the finished piece can be viewed in the codagraph gallery]
Click on the first 'image' to begin essay
I was born and raised in a town by the sea, and throughout my life, wherever I've lived - England, Spain, California - I've been drawn to the coast, to the water's edge. The fascination is bitter-sweet. Some of my earliest and happiest memories are of Brighton beach, where I used to spend whole summers wading through the shallows and exploring the briny rock pools at Black Rock with my brother Stephen and kid sister Charlotte. But it is also the place where Stephen's young life would be cut short.
So I'm drawn to the coast, to the water's edge. And it was whilst living in Muleta Mallorca where the mountains meet the sea, and the terrace of my remote retreat - El Niu de L'oronella [the Nest of the Sea Swallows]overlooked the rugged Deia headland, that I began the two years of research and experimentaion that would evolve organically into the creation of the Codagraph. though these works are not autobiographical, they are, undeniably imbued with my life experience and sense of wonder at the world, and I hope, radiate some of the spirit and energy that inspired them.
The Codagraphs, an original hybrid form evolved as I began to fuse drawing, sculpture, photography, printmaking and digital processing. A coda in music is a passage which brings a movement or piece to a conclusion; I feel this is analogous to the structured process I apply to the creation of these works, the penultimate printmaking stage in particular
Throughout the entire process - it can take weeks or even months to complete a single work - the initial inspiration or concept is guiding the creative process: I begin with a sketch rendered in ink or charcoal - which will act as a spur for the creation of a piece of land-art or raw sculpture, often made with found objects [a broken watch; a hub cap; a pipe; a solar panel] and natural materials such as stones polished by the sea; animal bones; shells; driftwood; abandoned birds nests; tree bark etc.
As the three dimensional piece evolves - I sometimes use paint or even pyrography to achieve the effect I'm after - I then photograph it from multiple angles, using natural light, often focusing on a defining texture or surface. When this stage feels complete, I feed both the original sketches and the negatives of the photographs into my computer.
With the image transformed into binary code, I then push the movement and abstraction of the digital form further towards the idea that existed in my mind's eye, carefully adjusting the colours, tones, light play and saturation. Once I feel that I've successfully captured the essence and spirit of my initial idea, I then print onto fine art paper or board, and having gone full circle, return the work to my easel to add final details [with this piece for example I painted Paul Dirac's Field Equation on the reverse of the codagraph; echoing his theme that some things are not visible to us even though we know they exist.
At this juncture, all of the component parts, the land-art, sculptures, negatives and digital files are destroyed thereby ensuring that each final piece only exists as a single, original, signed codagraph. I then take a low resolution digital photograph for archive purposes [such as those that appear on this website]
When a plaque commemorating the life and work of the British Nobel Prize winning physicist Paul Dirac was unveiled at Westminster Abbey in 1995, Lucasian Professor Stehen Hawking summed up Dirac's contribution to science: "...Dirac has done more than anyone this century with the exception of Einstein, to advance physics and change our picture of the universe..."
In 1928 Dirac combined the theories of quantum mechanics and special relativity. The resulting Dirac Equation was able to explain the mysterious magnetic and spin properties of the electron. two years later, he formulated a theoretical model of the vacuum as an infinite sea of particles possessing negative energy; this became known as the Dirac Sea. The title At the Shore of the Dirac Sea is intended to invoke the idea of a literal ocean, deep and uncharted, its waves lapping at the shore where Dirac stood.
The ovoid, or egg shape - a powerful symbol of new life and rebirth in many ancient cultures can be readily identified in the codagraph, but returning to the oceanic analogy, I was also drawn to the Syngnathidae family, in particular the seahorse, and their strange, mysterious, foetal like forms, as a touchstone for giving shape to the birth of Dirac's visionary ideas.
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