28 January 2012

Book du jour - re-written pages

Pages torn out of a book (the rest of book, a "travel journal" - what was I thinking, I don't do that kind of travel! - went on to another life via the charity shop). I'm writing on them in four directions, so that by the time they are "full" they'll be completely illegible.

"Why are you doing this?" someone asked me - and I really had to think about it!

First of all, I'm doing it because I want to see what the pages look like when they've been written on in four directions. Another reason is the possibility of varying the format of the writing in another set of pages, and getting different looks ... maybe having the lines more visible - I have lots of ideas for this (exploring nuance). These pages provided a challenge in that they had wide-apart lines and writing in that kind of spacing was a difficult at first, though I'm enjoying making all those large loops now. It started out as a finite piece, just a few pages to fill - a containable project - with the prospect of using handwriting as a medium for a kind of drawing; something enjoyable to do.

Apart from the process of writing, I wanted to have a portable, and private, place for putting down my thoughts. The crossing-over provides that privacy, especially when I'm working through something that's troubling or difficult. I find that getting the thoughts out of my head, through writing, is useful -- and that it's not at all important to re-read them; in fact, they're better not re-read, and sometimes you have to write the same things many times before they leave completely. Will the content give the pages an "aura" of some sort?

These pages thus kill two birds with one stone - something visual is made out of something ephemeral. Plus, they re-use something that would have been thrown away - just a few sheets of paper, it's true - this bit of recycling won't save the world! - but it's yet another level of care that goes into the work.

The notion of erasure, over-writing, re-writing - deletion, cancelling, obliteration - is rattling round in my brain a lot at the moment, especially given the reaction to my "un-written" journals in the studio show at college. Why would anyone take so much time to cross out what has been written ... if getting rid of it is the aim, why not just burn it?

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