19 August 2012

Objects, not books

My fascinating with wrapping little things into balls resulted in these recent creations -

It also meant I spent a few hours with a thesaurus (and the internet) trying to brainstorm titles for them. My collection of "memory balls" is growing, and I have to seriously question whether they have anything to do with memory - or are just a way of making something puzzling that calls out to be touched.
My favourite is the gold one (centre bottom) which consists of thumbtacks/drawing pins wound around a stone -- it has a satisfying heft, and the red one above it even more so, as it's a tennis ball filled with stones. In fact they are uncomfortable to hold, which makes a nice little metaphor. The very spiky one was a nightmare to make, as it would be to meet a personality so prickly.

Top left and bottom right, thread knots and layers of batting, respectively, seem more comfortable (as well they should). Knots represent things you want to remember; tubes could be "in one ear and out the other".

Hence the importance of giving them names, and the collection a title. ("The naming of cats is a difficult matter / It isn't just one of your holiday games ...")

Random reading is proving helpful in compiling a list of meaningful words. I'm amazed at how obvious they are, once I encounter them -- and I marvel at not being able to find them on my own. For example, "speechlessness" is obviously such an important result of loss of memory, loss of language - but I had to see the word before realising that. In the next sentence of that bit of reading, the word "conversation" jumped out - another not-to-be-ignored aspect (but not one to be followed up on, just at this moment).

The relation of puzzles and memory intrigues me - when something is puzzling, it's as though a thread needs to be followed to solve it, and that following takes care and skill. If these objects are puzzling to a viewer, what clues should the viewer be given?

These balls are more like books - wrapping up words is what started this entire line of thinking. A ball of small words, and one of longer words -
Not quite finished...


Olga said...

These balls of thread wrapping things remind me of the thread given to Theseus to get him out of the labyrinth. And the contents like landmarks one would give when describing a route to somwhere specific.

Somehow the wrapping of the objects strikes me as rather the opposite of a mnemonic: a means of obliterating memory by hiding it under the repeated binding. And yet ... if you wrapped a useless key and then kept that ball near your front door, it could be a good visual reminder to check that you have your keys before you leave the house.

I'm wittering, but all your books and balls and bags and everything described are fascinating. I only hope that the folks seeing your degree show appreciate all of it.

Kathleen Loomis said...

At first I thought of these things as people, prompted by your comment about prickly personalities. But then I started to see them as projects or tasks -- some are smooth, some are nearly impossible, all involve combining a lot of elements into a finished whole.