All of the works comprising Exhausted Nature were conceived and created together by Hazewinkel and Jacobs. Responding to the project Dr Rebecca Coates begins her essay A Lensmaker’s Equation with, “Collaborations are strange beasts. Two independent people, with independent practices, come together to shape a common idea, with a unified will to participate in a shared process that encapsulates the essence of their own individual workings and separate outputs. And through this process they desire to create collectively something wholly new, wholly unique, that could not have been produced without the involvement of the two together”.

At the inception of the project was the seemingly impossible, simple idea of using a lens of ice to focus the sun’s rays to start a fire. Echoing childhood activities of using a magnifying glass to achieve the same end, the idea unfolded a series of attempts with various outcomes in various media, which the artists chose not to classify or prioritise as successful or unsuccessful. Critical to their project was engagement with attempt.

The project presentation included two video works of varying scale and duration, Sketch of Intent (12 attempts) 2008 and Inversion Apparatus: (2 States) 2008. These were installed in a gallery darkened by a thick layer of black carbon applied to the windows by the artists with an oxyacetylene flame. The elemental presence of flame-carbon continued throughout the exhibition through it’s application to large convex lead mirrors placed on the floor and other circular lens-like glass forms seamlessly installed into the walls as part of a series of architectural interventions.

Commissioned by Conical, the project was made possible through the close relationships of trust and shared pursuits between the artists and Adrien Allen who created and nurtured Conical as part of his own artistic practice. In his brief text describing the relationships between the conceptual and practical apparatus of Conical and the Exhausted Nature project, he writes “It is rather wilful to ascribe the term ‘sensibility’ to an organisation, but I have always seen Conical as an entity imbued with an emotional capacity. Appearing as a type of soft machine, with its internal organs and nervous system not particularly well concealed, sensitivity is instrumental to its operation…. Exhausted Nature is a collaborative project between Hazewinkel and Jacobs, yet it is very much an inside job, at one with the apparatus.” 

watch Sketch of Intent (12 attempts) here

watch Inversion Apparatus (2 states) here

download the exhibition catalogue here