23 June 2012

Thinking ahead, thinking out loud

With the interim bookarts/printmaking show over, thoughts turn to the final show in September - which will be set up in mid-August. Working backward from that, there are various deadlines and tasks:
-have everything in place for the final assessment - by 28 August
-write "the statement" and put together 2000 words of "reflective journal"
-help with binding of catalogue
-have a final tutorial - 18 July
-symposium 2 - a five-minute presentation of work - 3 July
-prepare 85 copies of catalogue page - 29 June
-hand in draft plan for exhibition space - 27 June

The show plan

Everything is linked up, but first things first - the (draft) plan for my space in the show. Seeing these boxes (full of ceramic coils) was the goad to action -
They measured about 40cm square. To fit into a smaller extent of wallspace they would have to be arranged vertically, which means there would be just two of the double cubes - and a single one on the floor (more about that one later). I like how the inner cubes could become light boxes, lit with battery operated LED lights - practicality means trying to avoid having things that plug in. 

If there are to be only two of these spaces, why not make the outside box rectangular, but have same-size cubes (light boxes?) that can be arranged inside the rectangles to leave room for other works as well...

What actual pieces might go in the boxes? Deciding this means spinning tightly the thread that ties the pieces together, so it all hangs together ... (too many metaphors already!)

My "everyday journey of growing older" seems to have suddenly narrowed down to work about the "loss of memory, loss of language" aspect - which is actually the very end of that journey. I'm looking to find a way to pull back from that a bit and incorporate the more positive aspects - for instance, when you're young you look forward to being older so that you'll be taken seriously, or be independent. You look forward to being "a real grownup" and making your own decisions. And by middle age you might have found balance and be able to really enjoy things ... for instance some of my friends are really enjoying their grandchildren, in a way they didn't have time to with their own children, because of having the responsibility of a job and juggling "everything". But maybe this is something to work with "afterwards".

So, the actual pieces. The "overwriting" is one manifestation of the changes to memory ability, and it's this I'd like to have backlit, perhaps something like this - though it might be another piece, another size, on different paper -
ersatz light box
Also I'm developing an idea using dictionary pages - having the words fall out of them ("what was I saying?") -
a drift of words....
The deletion (extreme erasure!) works for maps - "where have you been?" - "how did I get here?" -
can words be scraped off maps, rather than cut out?
For dictionary or maps, I envisage a book format ... details to be worked out in due course, and book(s) to be put in the second cube, which won't necessarily be a light box.

There should be room at the sides of the cubes for ... not quite sure yet ... probably the "balls of words", so tightly-held, so important - but if the ball unravels the consequences are dire ..............
names of people I remember from school days, but haven't seen for many decades
As for the cube on the floor, that's  for me to sit on while I wind names into "the big red ball of connection". Under the bench-cube might be a heap of inky books, representing the burnt-out part of memory ("I've forgotten more than you'll ever know").

The catalogue page

The date for binding the catalogue is 6 July - which means the page is due very soon, um, in six days at time of writing... The location on the flap of the stamp giving our contact details is going to determine where my line of red thread will go, and this placement of the stamp hasn't been communicated yet. My red thread will be pamphlet-stitched into the folded edge of the page, and stitched across to the square page; the other end could be left to dangle ... not sure yet.  85 copies! - the page can be anything we want, but at this point it has to be something simple, something quick. Less is more?

On hearing about Yoko Ono's "yes" painting, I wanted to get a YES onto my page - after all, "yesterday" is rather pertinent to growing older. Several possibilities have already been considered and rejected; it might not happen. It could be "the invisible yes" - ?

Symposium 2

This consists of everyone giving yet another (short) slide talk to the group. It's unaccountably nerve-wracking, even though these are people you see informally...

One of my personal targets was to learn to use PowerPoint for presentations like this. So I have just over a week to do so! Or, not - "beware of any enterprise that requires new clothes" and hurrying to learn something like ppt is a bit like having to find new clothes for some occasion you've never been to before - will they be the right ones? will the new knowledge be accessible when you need it? what if it all goes wrong and you make a fool of yourself?

Or I could forgo the ppt challenge, and take a leaf out of an older book -
flashcards, anyone?

The rest

The rest of the deadlines and tasks seem too distant to worry about just yet. Amid emanations of negativity resulting from various sorts of impositions and pressures, I keep reminding myself that I'm doing an art course from choice, for personal (not career - done that!) reasons - to add richness to my life. To develop a studio practice - somewhere to be, something to do. To surprise myself - where will this "journey" lead?

And yes, I'm surprised by where I am now, by this "ageing memory" topic that has come up from ... somewhere....  It feels like a dark, overgrown bramble-forest, but weeding and reclamation is what I like best in gardening, and so it is with finding a way forward with this. The learning in the course has been about how to find this way forward - and it's not something you learn overnight, nor am I entirely competent in it - but I'm better at being able recognise when a decision is needed, and to winkle out the possibilities that need examining.

From the daily physical journey of commuting, habitual and scarcely noticed - to "everyone's everyday journey: growing older" - using elements of my own story (concern with language, with spatial dislocation, with psychological dimensions of memory and societal notions of information retrieval ... and a bit of family history). Not to forget the aesthetics, and the pleasure in making. The delight of tossing around a new idea - or several at once. Think, DO, assess....


Sandy said...

I really love the lightbox overwriting idea.Very effective.

I agree about saving the pulled back ideas about getting older for another time. I like how you have developed a focus with the loss of words/memory. I don't think it is too negative, but rather very powerful. So many of us never think of that part of getting old when we picture ourselves in the future. 'That won't happen to me.'

I also love the idea of the tumble of words at the bottom of the page from which they have fallen. It resonates with me since I sort of struggle with this with the fybro. (it is worse with more pain or more stress) In my life I have learned to deal with pain, but learning to deal with memory issues is much more frightening...thank God I can think in pictures which helps to find the words that way...

Kathleen Loomis said...

how fascinating and affirming that doing art is making you think about your own life and concerns in ways that you might not have done otherwise. when I used to write for a living I would often say that the way I figure out what I think about X is to write about it. same with art.