In an era of the ‘outsourced life’, artists Helen Mathwin and Susie Elliott presented their collaborative work The Irrational Maker through Wide Open Road Art for the 2019 Castlemaine State Festival. The artists surveyed residents in Castlemaine about their abiding, perhaps irrational, desire to make things themselves, for themselves — furniture, jewellery, art, food, zines, clothes and so on. This information was interpreted in two simultaneous works in separate locations. A bushland site in Kalimna Park with a lone home-made 3D printer churning out statistical models of our results, a homage to the measurable and transparent language of economic values.
At the second site, Wide Open Road Art in downtown Castlemaine, a hand-crafted, 3-dimensional muslin structure was laboriously made by Mathwin and Elliott, whose two-and-a-half hour, live, repetitive performance mimicked the motions of the digital site. Their structure created a space for the public to encounter the materiality and subjectivity of the value of authoring our possessions and the renegade act of irrational action.
With the interplay of old/new technologies and empirical/subjective epistemologies, Irrational Maker emphasises an abiding urge to connect: to the objects we surround ourselves with, to the processes and materials of making, and perhaps most importantly, to the human relationships that support these endeavours.
The artists wish to thank Kent Wilson and the 2019 Castlemaine State Festival, Jo Porter, Elizabeth Walsh and the Regional Centre for Culture 2018, and Jill Orr and Fiona Orr for their generous and invaluable support throughout the production of this work.