art reflection

thinking with my hands

I made some short videos today, of myself, making little books out of post-it notes. The work feels good and also not yet quite right, both at the same time… I’ll share the most succinct, a tiny, quick book about book-binding. This was work of thinking with my hands, feeling my way towards something important.

The videos go together with some other work in progress, which perhaps appropriately, is about unresolved and open pieces of work. For example these groupings which I laid out today :



Working with my letter to myself about keeping things unresolved.

These pictures were taken today whilst I was laying my work out on a very large table, making some tests towards an ‘installation’ of the work in a loose and open format (for a virtual exhibition).

I still don’t know exactly what a virtual exhibition might really be capable of being, and I must admit to initially feeling underwhelmed at the requirement to prepare work for one. But perhaps that was only fear: the age old trick of not trying difficult things, in order to avoid trying and failing.

So I am come round to it. And in any case, I am blessed to have tech support from some truly capable and generous people. And of course this makes me grateful, makes me want to do all I can to remain open to experimentation, and even to joy – in the face of difficulties, fear, the unknown.

How will I know whether I am succeeding or failing? I guess I may not know until afterwards, or maybe I will never know. And the truth is that questions of connection and engagement are always going to be present, and will apply in all circumstances – its only that they are heightened and brought closer to the surface by my need to figure out what it means to prepare work for a virtual exhibition.

So what am I trying to do here, what to achieve ?

I suppose what I want first of all is to make sure that the work is generous. And I have a growing feeling that there is a value in showing the unresolved, the uncertain, the unfinished. That it is the less ‘proficient’ of the things that I am making from my kitchen table, and my little room in my little house, which may be the most generous of the things I can offer to show to someone right now.

Secondly, my work is a lot to do with attention, connection. Therefore, if the work becomes something to consume with a swipe, a slick shiny grabber of a fraction of another person’s precious second, this will be a contradiction and a tension that may consitute failure in my own terms.

And also, (which seems a bit selfish), I think I will learn a lot along the way, which has got to be a good thing.


leaving it unresolved

Pondering on leaving things open and unresolved – creating an encounter rather than an outcome, say.

Unresolved means open. To change. To sky, air, possibility, encounter. Like an open book, leaving space for dreaming.

This reminds me of the process of making collage, the part where I lay out the pieces in relationship, and leave them un-pasted, sometimes for days, returning and making changes as I see them.

Philosophically, it comes down to how I think the world is, what I think the universe is like. I am coming to the view that reality is in encounters, meetings, interactions.

So, am I paying attention to encounters, in my work? And when I am sharing my work, am I creating the conditions for a real encounter by another real person? Which is to say, how am I putting my work into someone else’s hands? As a gift? And in that case, I must let go with my own hands at the right moment. There is no space in a gift economy for seeking to control the use of the gift. Generosity is making it as best as you can, and then letting it go, to make its own way in the world.