In 1991 I was given a teddy bear. In the subsequent 23 years, alterations in fashion and style have been represented by a variety of neck bows adorned by this bear, including one brief dabbling in a scrunchie phase towards the late 90’s.
In 1992 I rarely slept. Tbere was a significant fear that year of the border that decorated the walls of my room. ‘Snatch’ was a fictional character taking the form of a dog. But his eyes were too animated for me, and his stare was deeply troubling.
In 1993 I developed a particular agility for stretching my hands to touch plug sockets and cable wires. “Rachael, Careful!” was always immediately exclaimed after such a happening. I was less grammar-savvy back then and my minds mind omitted the comma. When I visited a nurse later that year I would respond to the prompt, “And what is your name?”, with a confident ‘Rachael Careful’
In 1994 I developed a taste for Reebok Freestyles. The pristine white straps soon became grubby with an overreliance on the Velcro attribute. This was a shoe with both straps and laces: A training trainer. Having yet to have mastered the making of bunny ears, I muddled through via Velcro.
1995 saw my first specsavers purchase. I firmly believe that I failed my eye test on purpose because I wanted to attain a pair of glasses. I was fascinated by these objects that sat on my mother and brothers face. This fascination would hinder my sight forever.
In 1996 I visited a friend of a friends house. It was an old house in Slammannan. On this particular drizzely day, I paced the kitchen growing restless at a tricky piece I’d been working on that week, page 17 of a Toy Story colouring book. Restless energy led me to encountering an object I had only previously seen on television. I reached out, Ms. Careful style, and my finger was captured. I told noone and preferred to hide the apparatus, still attached to my hand, in my pocket. A short while later, Aunty May saw the tears. It was a farm house, and I shouldn’t have been so tactile in my investigation of what I now know was a mouse trap.
In 1997 I was given a fluffy stuffed cat toy and a severe haircut. I had created a bald patch on the left side of my head through an overreliance on playing with my hair for comfort. It was intended that I would play with the fur of the cat instead. This was an unsatisfactory substitute and I never felt compelled to have any interaction with the cat. I am unawhere of its current whereabouts.
In 1998 I was commissioned to draw Pikachu by Michael Peterson in his personal Wet Weather jotter.
In 1999 I broke my arm while walking a Collie dog, and this career was disrupted.
2000 saw me move to a more sculptural premise. A paper mache duck was celebrated for its lurid purple colouring, in comparison to the others realistic depictions.
In 2001 I sat on a sofa after school and complained that we were watching the news instead of Animal Hospital. I remember vividly the images shown on the news that day, and when I see that sofa today I am taken back, I remember very little from any episode of Animal Hospital.
In 2002 I was given a mobile phone. My only contact was a girl who lived across the road. The beep of the keys was so loud that she could hear me type the text message to her before she received the pixels.
In 2003 I became obsessed with the creation of avatars and alternate surroundings, in my overconsumption of the games The Sims.
In 2004 I entertained a brief fascination with belly button piercings
In 2005 my Grandad died. I took his Beatles Revolver vinyl from the house. I had to play it as the first piece of music encountered in my new flat, when I moved this August. And I don’t say ‘had to’ lightly.
In 2006 I addressed my self-conscious appearance and made the switch to contact lenses. Everything became bigger.
In 2007 I read the Great Gatsby and felt intelligent for my multi-layered analysis of the shirt scene.. T Daisy Buchanan visits Gatsby’s mansion and encounters all the fine things he has acquired since their parting. She sobs (irrationally?) into his wardrobe. “I’ve never seen such beautiful shirts”.
In 2008 I cut a fringe, that I now take everywhere.
In 2009 I received an acceptance to art school. I commemorated the occasion by scrawling this fact on my bedroom desk next to a clutter of Bob Dylan lyrics. My mother was unhappy I had ruined the pine. This made no sense to me. The desk had supported my late nights of portfolio preparation, my introduction to the powers of caffeine and the consumed the heat of a laptop used mostly for MSN conversations, moaning about how all I wanted to do was go to art school.
In 2010 I saw Paris. I came home with a heavy heart and heavy luggage. I found that I couldn’t dispose of the supposedly disposeable contact lenses I’d worn on the trip. Because of what they had seen. I could acknowledge this irrational attachment to the object and the crazed personification of the inanimate. But they remained on my shelf, growing crusty and brittle.
In 2011 I began a work of art that displayed 84 contact lens bottles each holding representation of the last 5 years. I titled it Everything I’ve Ever Seen, 2006-2011 and thus further infused the object with responsibility and memory.
In 2012 I found Ceal Floyer’s Helix in a gallery in Berlin. The artist spent a significant amount of time searching for circular objects that would fit exactly into the diameters of a mathematical ruler. People talk about finding great loves in crowded rooms and only having eyes for one person while everything else becomes a blur. I don’t remember anything else I saw in the Berlinische Gallerie that day.
In 2013 I wrote a dissertation on the object as artwork. It surrounded the notion that contextualization of an object would decide its value. My accompanying degree show work was entitled ‘obsessive sentimentality’ and was effectively the curation and arranging of a trove of objects. Things that other might call rubbish or tat were placed in cabinets. I spent two days in the wood workshop hand making a wooden frame. Inside I set a kit kat wrapper.
In 2014 I went to a shop on Nicolson Street to buy a clicker. I spent 20 minutes instead pouring over the neat stacks of jotters and variations of paperclips. I took a photo of a collection of cheap watches and posted it on Instagram. It received 5 likes.
I then sat within a group of peers and attempted to alude to my practice through anecdotes. I talked at length about myself because I feel that, like an artwork, and I can say this as an artist, an anecdote is highly self indulgent.