May-June 2011 Shell Grotto. I was commissioned by The South Bank Centre to create an installation inside a beach hut, which was made entirely on site during May and June with the help of volunteers in full public view. I was partly inspired by the famous Margate grotto – and the unknown around dating its curious esoteric ‘pagan’ symbolism, the unlocking of which is based on guesswork, as all archeology ultimately is.
My ‘modern’ grotto presents the relics and symbols of our time. Some of the ubiquitous gadgets and technology that would seem to define us are here: mobile phones, computer keyboard, obsolete cassette tapes…plus all the everyday human detritus of shoes, keys etc, all presented as ‘petrified’ objects encrusted in sand. The symbols on the walls (which were pre-sculpted into a cave-like structure) are the global brands and logos that (apparently) rule our lives.
After the inevitable meltdown of our civilisation, what will the archeologists of the future make of all these ‘gods’ at whose altars we worship?