'Hot Spot (stand)' Mona Hatoum


Hot Spot (stand), a restaging of a larger work from 2006, currently resides in The Hepworth Wakefield as part of the Hepworth Prize for Sculpture exhibition. It consists of a steel grid globe that features red neon lights used to outline the continents. The name references the term meaning areas with political conflict; the concept seems to be that the entire world is now a 'hot spot'- what Hatoum describes as a “world continually caught up in conflict and unrest”. I found this sculpture to be particularly thought-provoking due to its profound concept and reasoned materiality.

Having previously seen an image of the exhibition, I had an idea of what the work looked like. However, one element I had yet to discover was the sound emitted by the globe: emanating from the sculpture was an electrical buzzing noise that seemed to immediately put me on edge when I entered the exhibition space. The threatening sound created such a sense of anxiety that, as a viewer, I was almost hesitant to get close to it, worried that it could erupt at any second. The pulsating red glow of neon, whilst enticing, created imagery of danger and was reminiscent of fire and burning. These visual effects echoed the sense of increasing vulnerability and instability.

Something that was particularly inspiring for me was the materialityof the exhibition. Hatoum often uses materials that reflect the political concept, and has said, “we relate to the world through our senses...I have always been dissatisfied with work that just appealsto your intellect and does not involve you in a physical way”. For me, the steel grid of the globe structure was reminiscent of steel rebar, a material that would be seen in the rubble of a building in an area of civil unrest. This subtle use of materials to convey a full and complete concept is something that I would like to replicate and utilise in my own work.

I feel the exhibition also taught me a little regarding the purpose of design. Good design is not only defined by the beauty of its aesthetics, it is also defined by the message and concept that it carries. If a design solely relies on visuals, for me, it lacks the depthand character that I strive to achieve when developing my own designs.

Form for Contact Page (Do not remove)