Glasgow School of Fine Art Sculpture & Environmental Art

Emma Read (Her/She)


Royal Scottish Academy New Contemporaries: Selected Artist

I am fascinated by what it means to function. In the perfunctory nature of mechanics when integrated with the body, the clinical nature of the functional aesthetic unfolds. Cold, synthetic, far from any likeness of human are expenditures of the body. Extensions so integral to our day-to-day we forget there. They taunt our idealized perceptions of function and the formed aesthetic suggests there exists an ultimate ideal of human utility. It’s by setting out on quests to fulfill this idealized functioning I attempt to recreate complex functioning objects. Pumps, whistles, bellows, propulsion shoes. The aim, to convince others of their ability, the reality, my embarrassment of their lack of. And so I fulfil an internal prophecy of failure. By attempting to recreate function I expose myself to this failure and laugh through its gripes using silly narratives and jerky animations as pain relief.

‘Excersing Exsistance’
Exhibiting @ The Alternative Degree Show Festival
Do it yourself Sci-fi

‘Excersing Exsistance’

The film is set to transform the viewer into my crafted world. Ideas, objects, visual languages all sew together the logic of my character’s existence within this new realm. Frames are built up throughout sequences that emphasize the eye of the audience, looking through a peephole into this new yet slightly familiar place! Scenes are built to be like moving paintings, alluding to some sort of action, playing on forced perspectives, and being visually stimulating. Ultimately the film acts as a documentation of my plight to explore my own understanding of the function and what it means to function in the modern day. I thought I could better understand something so intertwined with human theory by becoming something a little less human.

Run time 4:59 mins, Audio and visual, 1080p HD

Exhibiting @ The Alternative Degree Show Festival

The amazing Student lead initiative, ‘The Alternative Degree Show Festival’ has been showcasing the Artwork we have created this year.

Here I am sharing my installation at Mid Wharf Art and Design, one of the many venues around the city taking part in the festival. Alongside my Film (shown above), props, and a projection rig, the installation sets to be an immersive experience for viewers.

Find out more about the Festival: 

Picture Credit – Iju Park


(Canal boat: Plywood, Flexi-ply, Gloss Paint, Wood Stain) 

(Space Hat: Pulley Rope, Dishcloth, Thread)

(Winch: Tree Support, Pulley attachment, Red Gloss Paint, Stain)

(Chess Board: Cotton, Dye, Thread, Stamped Leather, Beeswax, Black Ink, Brass Cast Thumb) 

(Projection Rig: Adapted Plastic Tub, 32mm Plastic Lense, Metal Clips, Rubber, Nylon Rope, Tripod, Spray Paint)

See the Projection Rig used as part of my instalation in action

Do it yourself Sci-fi

More on my website:

Under the title ‘Exercising Existence’ my work this year has focused on world crafting. The narrative for this world has been formed through the artifacts that I create along the way. These objects are made with the intention to give my new reality sub-stance and logic within the existence that the character I have created exists within. This practice has been informed by my writings surrounding functional authenticity, where I look at the consequences of how we function and why functional failure is crucial to belonging within our authentic selves. As I form my own reality, I comment on my own failures and dreams through the things I make. In this way, my practice has developed into something deeply personal and confronting to how I perceive my own functional ability. These storylines, ideas, and objects make an appearance in a film that showcases this off-kilter universe, supporting this is a music track that performs to displace the audience through the peephole of the camera.

Learn more here