BSP Podcast: Paul Tuppeny on a sculptor’s investigation into age

podcast update

This episode of the BSP Podcast sees Paul Tuppeny presenting a paper from our 2022 annual conference, ‘Engaged Phenomenology II’.

Season 6 episode 156: 2 July 2024

Season 6 continues with another presentation from our 2022 annual conference, Engaged Phenomenology II: Explorations of Embodiment, Emotions, and Spatiality. This episode features a presentation from Paul Tuppeny, University of the Arts, London (Chelsea College of Art).

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Paul Tuppeny
‘“I didn’t want their past to be a mark on them.” (R. Rauschenberg): A Sculptor’s Investigation into the Phenomena of Objective Age’

It is in the nature of the world to be a place of constant change and transformation; trees grow, skin wrinkles and paint discolours. Every state of being is finite and all opportunity is fleeting.   In his insistence that his 1951 White Paintings be regularly overpainted, the artist Robert Rauschenberg recognised how such ‘natural’ processes of change not only generate affect in our interpretation of physical objects but, in doing so, can make us ‘feel’ time. Intrinsic to the apparatus of perception are pre-cognitive judgements concerning the transformative processes that define our world and which we experience as ‘age’; through these perceptual intuitions, derived from momentary observations, we are able to ‘chronicle’ the flux and stabilise our environment . The paper sets down hypotheses concerning the mechanisms that underlie age phenomena, developed through a doctoral research project pairing traditional literature-based research with the practice of sculpture, proposing routes by which these structures adjust meaning and generate affect. Convergent aspects of several phenomenological primary sources, including Aristotle, Husserl, Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty, are interwoven to illuminate our interaction with the material-temporality of the world. Throughout the research, this relationship is given physical expression through three-dimensional artworks. Central to our experience of age are the processes through which we assimilate the changing nature  of entities (biographic mental object-files) around temporal-archetypes, the states in which objects carry greatest meaning, significance or use for us. Clearly an informed understanding of our experience of objective age is crucial not just for artists like Rauschenberg, but for anyone engaged with the physical world. Armed with a structured view of how age ‘moves’ us we can progress toward being culturally comfortable with the phenomenon, both in ourselves and the things around us, leading to relationships within our society which displace damaging predispositions toward the young and the new.

Biography: Formerly an architect, Paul Tuppeny completed his MA Fine Art in 2016, also receiving an award in the National Sculpture Prize that year. He was longlisted for The Ruskin Prize in 2017 and 2019 and has exhibited across the UK with outdoor venues including Broomhill and Cotswolds Sculpture Parks. Gallery exhibitions include Atkinson Gallery(Street), Sluice Art at Oxo Tower, Edge Gallery(Bath), ING Discerning Eye, Jubilee Library, Grand Parade Gallery(Brighton), and Murmuration Gallery and De La Warr Pavilion(Bexhill). Paul was invited to join the Royal Society of Sculptors in 2017 and is currently researching his PhD at Chelsea College of Art (UAL).

Further Information:

This recording is taken from our Annual UK Conference 2022: Engaged Phenomenology II: Explorations of Embodiment, Emotions, and Sociality (Exeter, UK / Hybrid) with the University of Exeter. Sponsored by the Wellcome Centre, Egenis, and the Shame and Medicine project. For the conference our speakers either presented in person at Exeter or remotely to people online and in-room, and the podcast episodes are recorded from the live broadcast feeds.

The British Society for Phenomenology is a not-for-profit organisation set up with the intention of promoting research and awareness in the field of Phenomenology and other cognate arms of philosophical thought. Currently, the society accomplishes these aims through its journal, events, and podcast. Why not find out more, join the society, and subscribe to our journal the JBSP?