The Artwork: ‘Autogenesis’ created by Andy Mills explores concepts of transition states by engaging and synthesizing a personal history with a history of fabrication processes.
“This piece, Autogenesis, challenges the boundary between creation and destruction…
This piece is about creation.
This piece is about destruction.
This piece is about my own creation.
This piece is about my willful destruction.
This piece is about sacrifice.”
“I take a 6″x 8″ piece of plywood for relief carving; I make a vector image from one of Cranach’s Eden scenes (it’s not important which one); I laser-engrave the image onto the wood (I have a movement disorder that makes my hands unpredictable when I hand carve); I record this. And I note, ‘There is a conversation there, between the organic and the inorganic.’ And I note, ‘There is a conversation there, about the proliferation of images.’ And I note: I am making something. I already know that within 24 hours I will destroy it. And so: I take the engraved wood plate home; I roll ink on it; place a piece of paper on top; burnish it with a silver spoon my mother gave for lack of something more effective (and I watch a thin layer of silver deposit across the back of each print, a shining shadow); I collect my prints, I scan the wood plate, I record this. It’s a very personal shot, ten feet away from my bed, with my mother’s spoon. And then: I start a fire (in a fire pit, very safe); I find a jar (my mother’s jar, this piece is littered with my mother); I place the object of my creation, the laser-engraved wood (with its Renaissance Adam and Eve faceless-faces staring up at me) on the fire; I watch until it burns completely; I record this. And I note, ‘There is a narrative here, fire-made, fire-destroyed.’ And I note, ‘There is a narrative here, and it burns.’ And I note: I am making something. I do not record the process of collecting the ashes. But I do, and I put them in a jar. I order a photo print of the scan from the Walgreens Photo Desk. I put my prints in a neat little stack. And I wonder.”
Photograph, Ashes, Prints, and QR Video
“…And I wonder.
What does it mean to own an image? The image is in the prints, the image is in the photograph, the image is in a jar, the image is still being made, still being destroyed, over and over, in the record of the process. The image is in the ink, that still smells like burning wood from contact with the engraved plate. The image is in a museum in Germany; it is online. It is the .jpg I appropriated in the beginning. It is the silver shadow. We are constantly making things, and we are constantly destroying them. We are constantly inventing ourselves, our bodies, and we are constantly reassessing them.
So, why did I make this piece? What is it about? Well, it’s about being transgender, and I can’t explain it.”