Graduates 2018: Esme Hodes: Sculpture

My practice primarily explores how sensory engagement impacts the way we relate to the self, others and our environments. I’m really interested in the intersection between art and daily life, and the possibilities that art provides to explore different ways of relating to the world. I mainly work through wood, sound, video installation and workshop facilitation.

Hi Esme can you tell us a bit about your work?

I am fascinated by the senses. My work investigates bodily experience as our primary instrument of knowledge, fundamental to the way we encounter and percieve the world.

I’m interested in how we embody the rhythms of our sensory landscape and the impacts on the way we relate to ourselves and to others both physically, emotionally and politically.

My work explores our shifting relationships to our surroundings, engaging in a range of approaches including 3-dimensional work, enquiries/workshops as well as sound and video installations. I also document investigations via photography and drawing, which combined with bookbinding transforms ephemeral experiences into tactile objects.

Esme Hoades sculpture


Contemporary capitalism attempts to commodify sensory experience at accelerating rates, resulting in anxiety ridden, alienating numbness and body-disconnected engagement. I engage in slow practices to create space for alternative and marginalised sensory dialogues to reveal themselves. My work questions and plays with ‘value’ as a concept, and the ‘values of contemporary life such as materialism; accelerated life; the dominance of the visual; and the opposition of nature and culture. It resists their impact on our embodied relationships.

By investing time and attention on inexpensive materials such as industrial building wood, I seek alternative layers of meaning and value. I use geometric shapes common in natural forms, honouring our place as a living part of nature. My sound installations move away from dominant visual culture to investigate immanent art experience, and slower bodily experience in the moment. Facilitating workshops and enquiries I investigate with others what happens when we try to connect/touch/smell/experience our surroundings and each other in different ways.

Esme Hoades sculpture


What are your plans after graduating?

After graduation I am planning to go to Iceland in the summer to take part in a week-long residency with design students from Denmark and Sweden at LungA Art Festival. Then I am planning on setting up a small workshop/space/studio with my painter friend Sam in Bristol. I am interested in further exploring bookbinding and self-publishing as a way to disseminate my work and am planning on buying some bookbinding equipment for the space in Bristol. I also want to learn how make goats cheese and a bit about permaculture. Then hopefully in the workshop/space/studio I can combine making art, making cheese and growing veg. I’n the long term I’m interested in working with people in public arts and community based art projects.

How did you find studying at Brighton?

I have liked the fact we build the studios ourselves each year and that all three years work in the same space. It is lovely seeing the evolving way people share and construct space with each other over the years.This fosters a real sense of ownership of our working space and a community/family atmosphere. I also love living by sea, there is something innately great and relaxing about looking at massive blocks of water.

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