I thought it would be good to have the constraint of working with one material, in this case candy floss, to explore what I could get from the medium. I thought this constraint would allow an openness. My plan was to make things with a very short life span, which looks good for a short while before falling apart, playing with ideas around temporality.
My intention was to use video and also experiment with reverse time – a formless blob turning into a distinct figure. There is an issue: I'm unable to make the volume of candy floss I would like to fashion shapes effectively. I'm working with a toy machine and I really need an industrial strength machine. It was suggested I try using colour candy floss, emphasise the artificiality, which is something I would like to experiment with but the machine doesn't handle food colour well, producing even less candy floss. I could buy the candy floss but part of this work for me was about the smell produced and the active process of transformation.
In his essay, Everyday Life and Cultural Theory (1), Ben Highmore noted that “while Cultural Studies has developed sophisticated ways of attending to the semiotic material of the visual and verbal, it is massively underdeveloped in relation to the aural, the olfactory and the haptic.” In this work I want to explore smell and give a sense of real proximity to the material in order for it to communicate properly and get to the heart of the matter using “experimental approaches that attempt to articulate the everyday as a sensory realm” (p. 26). This echoes earlier ideas about placing the viewer 'in the sugar'.
Jennet Thomas suggested I look at artists who are using sugary aesthetics and ideas that critique the notion of sweetness and seductiveness, such as American artists tackling ideas around excess consumption, Cindy Sherman and Shary Boyle, and explore some of theses ideas through colour photography.
Candy floss is interesting because it does strange things. When you bite into it the colour becomes concentrated almost bringing a wound like quality to the material, which is the sort of detail effectively communicated in a photograph. It's something I plan to explore further. I think I can get to the heart of this metaphorical idea by going into detail, using photographs that go in close.
(1) Highmore, B. (2002) 'Everyday Life and Cultural Theory: An Introduction' (London: Routledge)