Proving Ground is the first solo work from Vincent O’Connor in almost two years, a period in which he instead worked on collaborative sound performances and site-based work. His previous solo projects looked at dome architecture of the 1960-70’s, Proving Ground however is a return to his long-standing fascination with militaria and surplus field gear. It is also a return to smaller detailed sculptural object making. They take form as a series of maquettes and small prototypes that function both as remnants/museological objects of conflict and premonitions of an imminent militant dystopia. To this end, the exhibition examines the recurring failures of the military and industry in their conceptions of utopian worlds.
Drawing on field studies conducted at a Berlin anti-aircraft tower of WWII, works like Rubble Mountain contain a visual audiowave transcription of the sound that surrounds the site as it now stands -a miniature urban mountain entombed by bombing debris. Other pieces however simply rely on testing the possibilities of converting a cordless drill into a hand made “screw gun”, both as a realisation of working slang and as a crude paranoiac militant gesture. Taking its name from military test sites used for previewing experimental weapons, Proving Ground is an analogy for a personal field test and also a return to solo practice.