While working on my series ‘Deep Blue’ (1997) and visiting very high technology sites around the world, I often had to put on specialized clothing when entering ‘clean rooms’ as extremely small particles of matter, material or dirt, were not allowed to enter the operational space, where research, or manufacture, was taking place at high levels of precision. In the late 1990’s I began to reflect on these small particles and consider how much money and effort in the Western world was spent trying to keep ‘dirt’ at bay or out of sight. I began to make photographs of ‘low status material’, under the bed, behind the refrigerator and so on. After some months working with this idea, in 2000 was invited to be an ‘Artist in Residence’ at Strathclyde University, Glasgow, in the Dept of Physics and Applied Physics. I began to make photographs of equipment in the laboratories being used for ground breaking experiments researching ‘the fundamental nature of matter at a subatomic level’. So for several months I was making photographs of ‘dirt’ with very low social value, and then suddenly making photographs in an environment which had a very high social value attached to it.
For some weeks I believed I was making two different bodies of work, but then it dawned on me that actually I could put the two bodies of work together making one unified project, calling it ‘Material’, proposing a ‘democratic view of all existing material’.
STEIDL VERLAG published the book 'MATERIAL' in 2002 (ISBN 3882437924).