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Week 2: Aaron Williamson blogs his residency at Spike Island, Bristol / 10 February 2010

hand holding a lump of black rock

Aaron Williamson holding a lump of black meteorite rock

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The mystery material

According to the editor of DAO this blog has a decent sized readership stretching into double figures now and my previous promise to reveal the ‘mystery material’ that I’ll be fashioning sculptures from has not been forgotten.

If I’d only ran a guessing competition then any manner of prize might have safely been proffered without danger of it being claimed...

A few weeks ago I bought a job lot of rusted meteorite iron from a dealer in Alaska who gets the iron from a meteor that landed in central Argentina back in 1576. It wasn’t cheap, but its great stuff and arrived with a signed certificate of authenticity. So it’s not just any old iron. It looks and feels other-worldy (a bit like Spike Island as noted above.) And its incredibly intensive mass – I’ll skip the chemistry - means that when you pick it up it seems about twice as heavy as the eye anticipates.

This lump of meteor is about to become ‘something else’. At the moment the plan is to smelt and recast it in the shape of a begging bowl and perhaps some coins.

I’ve been thinking about ‘omitted histories’ and the fact that there really isn’t much mention of disabled people until the modern era (the one that we in the disability movement are still waiting for to begin).

So I’ve been inventing the history of a meteor-worshipping ‘Tribe of Mendicants’ (ie crippled beggars) who roamed the mittel-European region for 300 years after the Black Death. I’ve never formally worked with fantasy before so I’m excited about where the Tribe will lead me.

I’ve named them ‘the Affligare’, a Latin word usually translated as ‘the Afflicted’ but which literally means ‘the fallen’. Hence their idolation of, and identification with, meteorites.

Keywords: disability art,visual art,