Monday, 15 September 2008

a spark

At the moment, I feel as though my mind is working faster than I can record. I've been experiencing a wonderful rush of ideas, coinciding with a few perfectly timed cultural intrusions, the best of them being the Sydney Biennale, as mentioned in an earlier post. The Anastas and Gabri work, which I photographed and have posted below, blew my mind, basically. The work sits in a perspex display case, and appears to be several pages out of a process journal, and apparently reflects a visual conversation between the two artists, a collaborative work, constructed of collage, hand-generated text, and illustrations.
But it was really just a spark, igniting all the petrol pooled about in my brain - the fuel was there, the impetis, well, I can't understate how exciting this small incursion into my brain this work afforded. I know now too, that I need to make these kind of invasions more common by seeing more fine art in general.
The thing is, it had never occured to me to create a non-linear, graphic application of my thesis, and so what happened was I saw the Anatas/Gabri work, and fairly quickly forgot it -as much as a work with certain attributes was concerned - and I began to think about techniques, ways of making and building meaning in addition to presenting the ideas in my thesis. What it provoked, inspired in me, was the idea that I could express myself at the same time as delivering a clear message, and that additional layers, or depths of meaning can be communicated through the form the work takes.
My work could be made of things I enjoy creating. I began to think, why can't it be embroidered (literally), or torn , or graphed mathmatically, or illustrated, or packaged in a box, or folded like origami, or employ collage and fine art techniques? Does it project film? Is it mechanised? Does it have sound? Peep-holes? Velvet internal organs? Pages of a book which pop up? Is it textured, fragranced, does it hum or glow or bounce or read out loud? Oh, mental note to self: Check out Peter Greenaway's layered approach to film, and integration of text.
The more I thought about it, the more appropriate it seemed to have the ultimate form reflect the process I am going through to create the work - is it in a trunk? Is it a custom-made cabinet, with increasingly difficult to access areas, like privacy and an inner life, waiting to be invaded, and the contents read? Does the content need to be untangled? What does the form say about the content? It must be beautiful, and it must speak for itself, even though I know I won't be allowed to let it stand alone to do so. Interacting with it, as a fresh observer, must be an explanation of the work in itself.
Most thrilling of all, to me, is that now I feel that I could have a generative phase to my work which I can do well, and which is interesting and enjoyable to complete. To me this is a great relief, and seems to have lifted some sort of burden which I have felt, but cannot identify the source of. I think it may have been the presumption that the work would need to take a specific form, and one I may have had to labour over. I could see how that would have taken me years, and years and years. This is no short-cut, but there truly is no substitute for a Flow experience when it comes to looking forward to the making, and the purest enjoyment of a things. I know that the elements I have in mind will be wonderfully satisfying to create. I am merely setting myself up to do something challeneging I know I can do well, instead of dredging up something which a reader must dredge themselves through, reciprocally, to get to the meaning.
I'm now also leaning towards making the "vessel" central to the storyline which makes up the book for the greater concept. In a similar way to the real treasures of a Kit Williams book, the visual part of my thesis could form the real object at the heart of the story I have in mind for the book for girls. I've always loved the Kit Williams books, and the mystery at the heart of them - what a playful idea. I don't intend at this stage for my concept to involve a mystery to be solved, but for a real artifact to exist, which inspires the story and can be seen by anyone who cares enough to dig a little further. A magical vessel, which inspires Lottie's creativity. I want to involve, and inspire my readers on that level. I want to build an enigmatic quality into the work, an authencity.
So now... time to think about the form, the content, the way this "thing" should be created. It's a massive task, but I feel so exhilarated by the posibilities.
Another inspiring angle which I will have to elaborate on further another time, are the graphic repesentations of complex information I have encountered lately. Some artists and designers have been lifting the presentation of data to incredibly beuatiful heights - I could absolutely use some of those techniques.
Here is some more inspiring stuff from the Biennale. I feel a little bit ashamed, actually, that they remind me of techniques and aproaches that I am experienced and skilled in, and have neglected for years.

Images: Pushwagner... look at these fine pen illustrations. How could I forget something I enjoy doing so much? I feel like an idiot.

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