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Helen Snell

Buckler’s Hard, New Forest National Park

‘Printed images and multiples enable a process of vulgarisation, undermine the obsession with originality, so that content becomes the primary concern.  My work is generated from line drawings and vector files to create digital designs for water jet cutting and laser cutting in a variety of resistant and non- resistant materials.  I often take my starting point from commercial packaging nets that I customise in terms of structure and scale. Individual structures can then become units in a giant construction set, with the potential for endless configurations or systematic modifications according to context.  I delight in the unlimited and subverted edition.   Current work includes wall reliefs in paper, large scale steel sculpture, laser cut digitally printed fabrics, performative works, costume and body sculpture and site specific installations.


I am especially interested in the idea of the imperfect edition, in the production of the repeatable physical artefact and of multiples, and in the exploration of the interface between technology, ideas and craft skills.   In my work I seek to explore how extensively the digital file, that exists only virtually, can be downloaded to be manufactured through an ever expanding range of outputs and processes.   The extent to which multiple outputs from same destination file can be developed and shared in order to explore or defy notions of distance, space/mapping and time/ memory, and yet still retain the concept of an edition is absolutely compelling.    By exploring the concept of the multiple in this fashion I also hope to reflect upon the inherent value of the material and the edition size as markers of a political or social agenda.


For me, the concept of an edition and of authorship is particularly significant as new notions of intellectual property, information sharing and labour substitution pose new possibilities and threats to the artistic community and the creative economy. What physical, intellectual controls over the work do we forsake or acquire by working with digital processes, given that storage of digital information allows the relentless download of unlimited and perfect copies?’                

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