The Feast Table

Barnaby Stone works with materials imbued with history. Each piece he makes illuminates and reconfigures stories about the past, present and future that connect to something, someone or somewhere. 

"For Feasts for the Future I conceived of and made a table that is marked and transformed by the guests at each feast. The table is round, seating up to 14 people with 600 drilled holes randomly spaced. At each event there are 120 pegs of different wood: Walnut, Beech, Iroko, Ash and Oak. These are equally distributed to everyone, to put into any holes they choose. Some will make patterns with their pegs, while others will be quite random. Between each event the table is taken away and the pegs flattened to the top of the table, sanded, polished and stamped with the initial of the person who placed them. Participants will then be able to identify, later, the constellation of pegs they made. 

As this process goes forward the table becomes charged with history. When the table is used for the next event people see the aftermath of a previous group's conversations and how they relate to each other. At the end of the whole process the table will have five iterations of interweaving patterns. With the pegs for each feast being made from a different wood, the patterns of each of the five feasts remain identifiable. 

Ultimately the tabletop becomes a work for display, a record of a collection of events. Each participant has marked locations on the table they can refer back to. They are an individual part of the evolution of the piece, and can also act mnemonically to help revisit the discussions and events of the original evening.

I am interested in the point at which an artist has to yield ownership of the meaning and significance of their work to the future and to others, and what new meanings and significance it may or may not then be given. The Feasts for the Future / Imagining Alternatives project has provided me with the perfect opportunity to explore this. Here, once the table has been fashioned by me, its ultimate form is then determined by the whims, choices and reasoning of those that place their collection of pegs into the random holes I drilled."

Barnaby Stone 
October 2018