Cameron Randall is an interdisciplinary artist working in sculpture, algorithms, moving image, sound, text and installation. He has a studio at Empson Street, Bow and graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2019. His exhibition All Work No Play is currently on at Unit 3 Projects at ASC’s Empson Street Studios, open from 3rd – 10th July.
Is there a starting point for your practice?
I usually get some kind of feeling or a sense of anticipation over something, often triggered through words, an image, or maybe music. It’s not really something I can verbalise but something shifts, and begins to shape itself, boring into my skin, almost irritatingly so, like a mosquito bite. It’s a moment of deep vulnerability and doubt, fragile and fleeting. There’s a hesitancy like when you wait in the line before entering a club. Perhaps to be acted on or not.
What’s your biggest influence on your practice?
Maybe environment or ambience, the space that sits between object and object, and how these elements flow in moments of exchange. At the minute I’m really into derelict things, items that are deemed surplus. The discarded can be really beautiful and horrifying in the same moment. I couldn’t stop thinking about an abandoned baby chair sitting upon some recycling bins near my flat in East London.
Tell us about your upcoming show at Unit 3?
The show is called All Work No Play and it responds to the specific site location to examine the interplay between studio and gallery. A lot of the work is quite abstract, but also centres around materiality and the social and cultural implications that these materials designate. I’m interested in how these objects break down or intervene in some way, opening questions surrounding technology, labour and value.
You mention the idea of “site”, does place inform your work?
Yeah, I think about site, perhaps not always as prevalent as in All Work No Play, but it’s important. The title alludes to the space of the studio as a place of work but also more broadly, both tongue-in-cheek and cynically, at being an art practitioner, linking notions of labour, hyper-capitalism and the ecological ramifications that comes with that. Unit 3 was an old paper works and the surrounding buildings are all of industry. Some of the works are made of material from around the gallery site, while one of the sculptures is constructed out of steel market stall rods, a personal nod to Chrisp Street market about a 10 minute walk away, where I used to work with my dad as a teenager.
Can you tell us about the starting point for this exhibition?
There wasn’t really a start. After graduating from the RCA in 2019, then Covid happened, I was looking for a studio, which I found here at ASC. It’s been a culmination of about a years’ work of researching and re-examining my practice. I’d go for walks around East London, often at night, engaging with objects in the dimly lit street. I’ve also been reading a lot of Marxist aesthetic theory. I suppose a mix of these interests unknowingly subsumed, and here we are.
Could you talk a bit more about the premise of the exhibition and some of the works exhibited?
I am interested in how we conceive objects and how through this conception we realise our own aesthetic relationship to them. How ideas around labour and value are pre-determined through certain conditions and how these conditions may break down into a mis-communication or meta-communication.
The work ‘Setting up for the flash’ is made from market stall coated black steel; the ‘flash’ is a term for the fancy pieces of stock you’d display after setting up the market stall at about 5am. I used to see this whole sequence as a kind of staging, my Dad setting up the stall as a kind of structure or stage enabling the moment for the flash to happen.
For my piece ‘PUNCTURE.’ I saw a hand trucks on the street outside Stepney Green station and was just transfixed by its form, standing there in the street. It’s an object used for distributing value, a tool, but what happens if you take the tool out of its function and place it in another kind of context?
How has the process been for preparing for this exhibit?
It’s been tough. It’s my first solo show, so it feels a little trickier and a little more daunting going about it on my own. I knew it was something I wanted to do though, to contest myself in that way.
Is narrative important in your work?
Not explicitly so. Maybe in the gaps of the work: in the objects I select, the titles I choose, and the inter-relation of how the works contextualise themselves in the present moment. I’m more interested in how ideas have certain weight at certain times, and how these ideas oscillate historically, socially and culturally as implicit narratives.
Is there any advice you were given that you would like to share?
Less is more.
Do you have a soundtrack/genre in your studio, if so what?
I’m actually a pretty killer Spotify playlist maker. I get really into it – adding images, titles… my playlist ‘lung bubble’ is kind of floaty ambient music, so a good one for concentration.
Do you collect anything in particular?
At the moment cracked monitor screens…