Table of


Simon Marcus Swale
September 2021

Gates/Gateways Simon Marcus Swale

Simon Swale, Gates / Gateways, 2020. Courtesy of the artist.

'For we are where we are not'

Pierre-Jean Jouve, Lyrique. 

In Phaedo, Plato writes of the nature of each relationship stemming from its binary opposite; “a necessary law that everything which has an opposite is generated from that opposite and from no other source.” Here, in positioning all phenomena as existing through an inverse relationship to its opposite, Plato confines our world view to, not only one of binaries and polarities, but by extension, singularities and absolutes. It is an argument expressed with logic and rationale, and as a manner of classification and understanding, one that dominated Western philosophical thought, almost exclusively, for the next 2000 years....


Think of a suburban gate, a humble gate. Think through it. See its shadow stretched out upon the ground, as powerful as the gate that cast it. Walk through it. Pick it up and place it upon yourself. Become it. 

Gate and shadow collapse and fold, collapse and fold… collapse and fold upon the body. Turn yourself into a pedestal, into a plinth, for the body is an expressive space. Move, move, twist, turn. The interior is the exterior, the hidden is visible and you enter when you exit. Open as you close and fold. Folding self, memory and experience. Fold the world upon thee. Folded into new subjectivities and the self as boundary, a multitude of potentialities.

For Māori, the gateway to the pā is the waharoa. A border and a threshold, a site of transcendence. Ayesha Green writes of the waharoa she has designed for Dunedin’s central public space, the Octagon. When you move through Ko te Tuhono, she writes, you are both inside and outside, coming and going. And as a passage to our landscape, Ko te Tuhono transcends time and place. 

Transcend time and place. 

Fold place. Space as neither object nor as subject. Space beyond perception, towards sensation.

Fold time. Time as a history of multiplicities, a multiplicity of histories. 

As the gate folds in and around me, it becomes me. I become the gate and I become the space around me, as space is first of all grounded in the body. 

Art to transform the body-as-object. Art mediates experiences. Mediate a bodily presence through spatial interaction. Becoming the sensory body. Surroundings engaged through the sensed and felt body. The living body as the nature we are ourselves.

Fold to create and embody.
Being in the world

Think of a gate
Think through it
Beyond binaries.

'The relation of modern man with nature can only be revised when he experiences himself as nature'

Gernot Bohme The Aesthetics of Atmospheres.

About Simon Marcus Swale

Simon Swale is a designer, artist and educator based in Koputai/Port Chalmers, Aotearoa/New Zealand. In 2020 Simon completed a Master of Fine Arts at the Dunedin School of Art in contemporary jewellery, further developing his interests in the body, adornment and identity politics. Simon is a current participant in the Handshake Project, a mentorship program for emerging practitioners in the field of contemporary jewellery in Aotearoa.