Starting my Engine Room internship

Today I began my internship paper, helping out at The Engine Room, which I’m trying to treat as seriously as if it were my job for the year. I want to be “on-call” for it, and really dig in. I am hoping the glandular fever doesn’t interfere, so far the weather has been beautiful and I’ve been full of energy.

Already I have learned new things about both the gallery, and the artist I’m helping, Paul Cullen. Cullen’s work holds some interest to me, despite my disagreeing strongly with the Heideggerian theory that underpins it, because the work concentrates on form and space, and it doesn’t have an overbearing narrative that I might feel compelled to reject (which is something I simply must practice: biting my tongue and enjoying the ride). Cullen himself seems a very nice and professional man, and working with him so far is a lot of fun. The aesthetics of his work are interesting, with the lino and chairs and formica tables evoking good thoughts of working class environments. I’m also already learning about The Engine Room gallery itself, which I feel I haven’t paid enough attention to as a site. I’ve certainly visited it a lot over the years, and seen some nice exhibits, but suddenly I’m much more aware of how the space of the gallery comports itself and works with (particularly) Cullen’s aesthetics of dissection of and hole-making in commonplace objects. Cullen clearly has a keen sense of the space already, knowing it has spaces beneath the floor that will fit into his work, beginning to set up next to a column that creates quite a strange “cut out” space upon the gallery’s opening portion. Cullen taught me that the very reason the gallery is named “The Engine Room” is because it used to be an unloading space for automotive engineering when Massey was a polytechnic, etc. It will be a lot of fun picking up the histories of different sites this year, and I think it will teach me a lot.

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