Blog Post: Sophie Mackfall

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Sophie Mackfall’s Studio, One Thoresby Street

Like the Sun


21 February 2019

I moved to Nottingham in November with no previous knowledge of the city. On paper I was offered a free year-long studio at One Thoresby Street with an exhibition during my time here, however I saw it more broadly as an invitation to get to know a new place and on a personal level, I took it as an invitation to ask how ways of living influence ways of working.

With this in mind, I moved into a housing co-operative where decisions are made by consensus and everyone endeavours to work in some way towards positive social change. I don’t know whether this will influence the work I make, but it has already affected my way of life. I’ve always been interested in how to sit in this space between the individual and the collective, to break down what sometimes feels like an ideological line drawn between two ways of working. Related but indirectly, I have been thinking about artist Ree Morton - how she situated works in public spaces with a light touch and how her work quietly spoke of her own life.

In the studio I am making collages and thinking about Polynesian navigation. ‘Wave pilots’ would navigate between islands reading the shape and size of the ocean currents, wind patterns the waves and stars. These were ‘mapped’ in the form of spatial drawings made of sticks and shells bound together. This deep knowledge of place and the tools it generated are interesting to me in lots of ways but in particular as a model for how to relate the process of making work to the wider set of conditions within which it is made. At present I am navigating the conditions and building the tools.

Sophie Mackfall: BNC 16 Artist Page.