Sunday, 28 March 2010

Two Possibilities

Hello all,

I’ve enjoyed looking at your posts and it has galvanised me into thinking about what I’ll do for this show. I have two still rather vague ideas whirring around in my head as possibilities. I don’t think these two ideas are compatible with each other, it would have to be one or the other. So I’m interested to get some feedback on what you guys think would interact or resonate best with your works. I appreciate that I might have to work these ideas up a bit more (actually start writing the text or doing the drawings) before you have an opinion one way or the other. However I thought it’d be good to get something up on the blog straight away and give you an idea at least

Idea 1 – places, experience and represenation

A series of 3-5 short written episodes to do with the relationship between place, memory, physical interaction and representation. These (written from autobiographical experiences but maybe a bit fictionalised) might include:

1) Story about going back to a place in the city where I used to live and noticing a pub which I’d been in before but never really seen what it actually looked like (quite distinctive mock Tudor). Similar to the experience of when a building is knocked down, wondering what was there before. Or when someone asks you directions and you know where they want to go, could get there yourself but can’t quite visualise the route. Place isn’t necessarily experienced visually.

2) The weird experience of seeing familiar places on TV. A moment of recognition but seems odd as out of context.

3) Walking along my familiar bus route and it having a completely different sense of space, speed and scale than when on the bus.

4) Looking at the town where I grew up on google maps and realising that I never really considered that I lived right at the boundary of the residential part of the town. Because there weren’t parks to take me there I didn’t really think what was outside it. Ariel view gives a new perspective.

5) Story about doing the same walk twice in the Lake District by mistake in 2 consecutive years because we bought guided walk books both times that must be compiled from the same range of walks. The second time we got chatting to another couple in our B&B who had done the same walk that day too – but set out earlier than us. The husband of the couple however obviously did not register what we were saying to him as he proceeded to get his map out and show us the route they’d taken, explaining the walk in detail as he did so not acknowledging that this was a repetition of what we’d done too.

The reason I’m considering these ideas for this exhibition is really from Hamish saying that his paintings though abstract come from an interest in/interaction with the world or landscape around him. I’ve been thinking about how my local landscape is embedded in my mental space and to some degree the impact of mediation (Maps, TV) on this. There is possibly also some resonance with Michael’s work? – from what I’ve seen on your website at least.

The stories might be combined with photographic images. Here’s some photos from a fairly recent photo taking trip that I quite like though I’m not sure they’re the most relevant thing.

Maybe also map/ariel images. In which case I’d probably quite simply just put them next to each other. Or they could just be texts, possibly on print outs that could be taken away. Or could be audio recordings, listening through headphones.

Here's a couple of visual references that may or may not suggest where it's going!

by Victor Burgin

Idea 2 - Drawings of words to do with mess, disorder or trying to hoard up against this:

Some possible words so far:


This might be a series of 4 drawings or a single drawing with lots of words grappling for space - CHOKE UP, CRAM, FILL, FORCE, GLUT, JAM, OVERFILL, PACK, PUSH, RAM, SATIATE, SQUEEZE, WAD, WEDGE. Probably messy, pencil and paint on paper.

clag, gloop, gunge, gunk, mush, slush, crud, dregs, mire, scuz
sleaze, slime, goo, sludge
dribble, seep, drip, pour, slop, slosh, spill…
daub, slather, smear, smudge, swab….(not sure yet how I’d use these, just a starting point. Might put them into sentences somehow)

Some visual references:

I've lost track of the artist of this one

By Bruce Nauman

I guess I am interested in the synaesthetic qualities of words. I thought particularly that putting such words with paintings, they might refer to the material qualities of paint and the aspect of controlling paint but also allowing it to drib, dribble etc. In some of the references Andrew posted there seems to be something about disorder taking over, or slipping into chaos.

To some degree these words have come from recently reading “The Stuff of Thought” by Stephen Pinker. He writes about how things like causing and letting are expressed using different grammar. I’m not going to spend the time to go into this more here now, but suffice to say, his point is that the ‘stuffness’ of the world gets embedded in how we use language. Things like causing/letting, forcing/allowing and also spatial relationships are conceptualised quite clearly at a fundamental level and then have to be expressed by the clunky system of language.

I’m also interested in how we conceptualise ourselves as having an ‘inside’ and ‘outside,’ human subjectivity is conceived in spatial terms as if our bodies were a container for our selves. I haven’t really thought this through, but somehow that seems to fit with the idea of a ‘box’ as a container and thinking outside it. The following 2 phrases are to do with this notion and could just be simple black, vinyl lettering on a white wall.

what if we are empty?
what if we are full of mess?

That’s it for now!

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