Midnight Oil

Brooke Benington, London | 22nd June - 27th July 2023

[Unlikely Wonders]

A bean sprouts in a hand, a tiny promise of life.

Emerging from my shell, I see the world with fresh eyes.

A snail crept close to my ear and whispered its secrets

Her hands clasped in prayer, a woman seeks solace in the unknown

Objet (Shell Head)
3D printed SLA resin electroformed in tarnished silver
13.5 x 8 x 7 cm
Edition of 3 plus 2 artist's proofs

Objet (Hand with Sprouting Bean)
3D printed SLA resin electroformed in 24K gold and patinated copper
6.5 x 7 x 12 cm
Edition of 3 plus 2 artist's proofs

Objet (Ear and Snail)
3D printed SLA resin electroformed in 24K gold and patinated copper
9 x 6 x 3.5 cm
Edition of 3 plus 2 artist's proofs

Objet (Vase after Erhart)
3D printed SLA resin electroformed in tarnished silver, painted mild steel shelf
11.5 x 6.5 x 8 cm
Edition of 3 plus 2 artist's proofs

Vitrine (Radiolaria After Haeckel)
Enamel on 3D printed SLA resin, emulsion on laser cut plywood, powder coated mild steel, AR glass, LED lighting system
50 x 34 x 10 cm

[Midnight Oil]

A greyhound - the only dog mentioned by name in the bible - gently meanders around a forest just after dusk, a time the French would call the hour between dog and wolf. Static, alert, searching, it is waiting for prey that will never come. There will be no coursing in this landscape.

Mangrove roots rise from the ground, their mottled forms a product of this ancient wood growing around muscles which have nestled in their surface, over the course of centuries. A symbiotic relationship, the molluscs provide armour against burrowing parasites. The roots rise up from the swamp like spires, piercing the dense and suffocating mud, allowing the tree to breathe.

Found by an act of serendipity in the distant East and shipped in a container across seas and continents, they have lain in stasis in a warehouse in Kent for over 30 years, their original importer now deceased.

A hand clutches a sprig of silver birch twigs, fallen from a lone tree in Peckham. Buds about to blossom, they have dropped before they could unfurl during a particularly windy evening.

Eyes glow, a portrait of a young Roman man originally carved nearly 2,000 years ago, commissioned by a private patron. Now completely removed from time and space, this marble has been 3D scanned and 3D printed, now simply another asset to be downloaded from a myriad of possibilities, bastardised, its aura debauched and denatured.

Working late into the night in his workshop, the artisan slowly chiselled away at the lump of stone, slowly revealing the form, his mind wandering elsewhere as his actions became automatic and his body took control. Pausing for a moment, he looked up to the stars and wondered whether the Roman Empire would exist for another millennium, and if it did, what magical wonders that world would posses. Surely it would, he thought to himself, comforted by this thought.

Poems are written by an artificial intelligence, its architecture based upon a neural network, intentionally mimicking the time honoured systems of the brain. Ultimately a vain attempt to better understand the mysterious alchemy of our own consciousness. They didn’t know it yet, but this was the dawn of the technological singularity.

Radiolaria, single celled organisms that form elaborate silicate skeletal structures, have gently drifted in the world’s oceans for half a billion years. They are one of the most ancient forms of life - neither animals, nor plants, nor fungi.

Vitrines hang, glowing, their 5000k daylight LEDs emitting a sterile and uncompromising temperature of light. Alien to our ancestors, it is now mundanely ubiquitous.

Under the light of the neon moon a goldfinch is perched on a branch and quietly observes this dance, midnight oil slowly burning.