Copperfield, London is pleased to present We have the weights, we have the measures,
considering the relationship between the seemingly genteel pursuits of culture and learning and claims to geography.
Since the dawn of civilisation humans have attempted to delineate and lay claim to territory, but in more recent history such claims have extended beyond land and water to airspace, galactic space, even moons and planets.
There is a certain implicit aggression in the act of claiming anything and yet history contains some surprising examples of the way in which this process is masked. An early example was the claim laid to what is now Brazil by the Portuguese: not on the threat of military strength but on the basis that they could map and navigate the land and surrounding waters. This proposes that knowing where you are in immediate terms is not enough — that governance requires a greater, quantifiable oversight backed by learning. Some of the more familiar cases of displacement of indigenous cultures in Australia, America, New Zealand and Africa echo the same principle, the same attempted justification that they needed ‘cultivating’.
Through this lens the sculptures and installations draw attention to the ongoing trajectory of this kind of behaviour which is often hiding in plain sight.