Gravity lecture by Steven Pippin
After completing a degree in Mechanical Engineering, Steven Pippin took a Foundation course in art at Loughborough College (1981–2) and then studied sculpture at Brighton Polytechnic (1982–5) and the Chelsea School of Art, London (1987). He worked in Berlin on a DAAD scholarship in 1997–8, and was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 1999.
Pippin typically uses objects such as bath tubs, wardrobes and washing machines converted so that they function as cameras. The equipment itself, the process (often filmed) of converting the objects and their methods of operation are as important as the results; the makeshift cameras and the photographic images produced by them are often displayed together.
An essential aspect of these works is that the photographic subject is related to the reconfigured object; for Beach Bath (1983) Pippin converted a bath tub into a pin-hole camera, using it to photograph semi-naked figures on the Brighton sea front. In 1985 Pippin began experimenting with washing machines, leading in 1991 to his first series of Laundromat Pictures. The project culminated in Laundromat–Locomotion (Horse & Rider) (1997; New York, Twelve black-and-white photographs, produced by Gavin Brown's Enterprise), a row of twelve washing machines ingeniously converted into cameras operated by a trip wire. The resulting images of a horse being ridden through the laundromat paid homage to the pioneering experimental photography of Eadweard Muybridge.
From 1991 Pippin also constructed a variety of sculptural machines that incorporated sound, vision and movement.