‘Change for better’.
Following Emperor Hirohito’s surrender to allied forces at the end of the Second World War, American forces, led by General Douglas Macarthur, occupied Japan. Unlike many other instances of US occupation this project was and is generally regarded as successful, transforming the country into a stable democratic state and sowing the seeds for muscular economic expansion in the decades that followed. This economic success was driven primarily by the manufacturing industry. In 1947, at Macarthur’s behest, the engineer William Edwards Deming was brought in to train the leaders of Japanese industry in contemporary American ‘total quality management techniques.
Japanese firms such as Toyota implemented Deming’s techniques and quickly achieved previously unheard of levels of quality across all elements of their production lines. Rather than just being treated as a set of management improvement strategies, Deming’s techniques were developed into an all-permeating business and production philosophy. As the basis of this philosophy each worker, from the CEO to the cleaning staff, constantly seeks ways of eliminating waste and improving every aspect of their job and its product. These small, often daily changes, occurring company wide and sustained over time, result in large improvements to quality and productivity. This improvement is achieved organically, without the bruising disruptions of command-and-control style, management-led interventions and restructures.
17/4 – 3/5/15
The only truth to be found in a book is its physicality. We generally apprehend them through reading. We interpret and analyse their text, seeking the ideas contained within. The book, as a form, is an institution which conveys affirmation on the ideas it mediates and offers them for mass consumption. We trust this institution to be the repository of enlightened discourse. Yet, as subjects we debate what it offers us. We are aware or the vicissitudes of culture and context. We consider the book as text and debate how it should be understood, how it is understood, if it is understood correctly, if it is understandable at all. Paradoxically, the book is a communicative tool that is intended for the mass consumption of ideas that ultimately renders them indeterminate, or so it would seem.
Sach Catts seeks to understand the book not as indefinite text but as ultimate physicality. For this exhibition he will submit a selection of seminal texts to a tensile strength test, a common materials engineering investigation, in which copies of three seminal works of Western nonfiction will be loaded in tension to the point of breaking. The load at which the books fail will be recorded. Catts is seeking what can ultimately be empirically known of a book, not the strength of its argument but its strength.
4 - 20/5/12
‘Hot work: processes where metals are plastically deformed above their recrystallization temperature, allowing the material to recrystallize during deformation.’
‘[T]here is no more epic way of bringing down much loved or even much hated tree (for example a neighbor’s overgrown maple) than with an American felling ax.’
This is the third time I’ve sharpened this axehead. The process involves using a file to shape the bit (cutting edge) to form a convex bevel on both faces. This bevel is then ground and polished with progressively finer-graded stones. Apparently, you should be able to shave with it once it’s done. I’ve spent roughly six hours filing, grinding, polishing and repeating so far in search of the ideal edge. In between stages I scour the Internet for logs.
The axe has been rendered romantic by the chainsaw. There are few instances when one wouldn’t use a chainsaw to harvest and process timber. They’re fucking brilliant. I borrowed mine off my dad and neglected to ever return it. It races through timber with a full-throated, sawdust-frothing snarl. I like people to know I own a chainsaw. I like them to see it in my studio or in my car. It makes me feel dangerous.
The axe will make me feel like a man, however.
give us a couple of weeks