I’ve had several conversations with several people about dropping the work I have been developing over the last 3-4 months. In one of the conversations, Brian made the analogy that It felt as if I was trying to make an album inspired by my parents record collection rather than my own, he nailed it. I haven’t had the confidence to just let it go. I’ve continually justified and rationalised using the journal as a safety net – something tangible to work from. However, it’s time to draw a line under it.
So having said that, I’ll just leave these here and start making work that “comes as naturally as breathing” – Patti, the Yoda of Chelsea.
Here is the journal, digitally transcribed in it’s entirety. My mom and I transcribed the journal over the summer to preserve my grandmothers words and to allow the family the chance to read it properly.
I started to edit and refine her writings as I became interested in people like Mallarme and Solange. Her most recent album artwork & booklet for ‘A Seat At The Table’ felt like a conversation that was reflected in the text and artwork. Some people have interpreted this form of text as controlling and restrictive but I had interpreted it as a visualisation of conversation, with pauses, beats, intonation and free in it’s form.
Water Writings – Di Shu – This is a process I watched weekly whilst living in China last year. It’s ephemeral and performative nature really drew me in. I had wanted to ‘perform’ an excerpt of the journal for a little while and when Brian set an exercise that was to be completed within a few hours, this felt like a good time to try it out. I found it wayyy more physically challenging than it should have been, which was an eye opener for my declining health, but I also found the performative nature jarring. I wasn’t as present as I had imagined I would have been, I was too in my head about the script, how I was moving, being on camera and how much my thighs were burning. Anyways, here’s a document of that.
This is a piece of my Grandmother stained glass which I found an interesting source for visuals I wanted to develop.
The drawings were simple magnified sections of the stained glass taken into more abstracted forms.
Abstracted drawings to be made into digital prints or sculptures…
These were Illustrator files that I would later cut out play around with, here is one of the arrangements. I had other people play around with the cuts out which I found fun as it seemed to open it out a little. It gave people an approachable way of interacting with her work in a similar way that I had been trying to do.
I also wanted to turn these shapes into sculptures, perhaps as plastic acrylic free standing forms which would allow for light to shine through. At one point I believed this was going to be what I would show at the interim show as a sculpture/performance that the water writing could have happened within.
I also began photographing all of the gifts, flowers and items of food and drinks referenced in the journal. I had begun to build up kind of still life containing items she had been given as acts of generosity.
During the aforementioned conversation with Brian, I had drawn my own analogy without realising it. I had flippantly said to Brian that the project felt as though I was constantly trying to keep the balloon from touching the floor; a memory of a game I played as a kid. Brian seems to react to succinct and punchy metaphors and will often encourage students to enact them or visual, which is exactly what he motivated me to do. Here is a still from the video which was another surprising physical slap in the face…even when I’m sat down.
Turns out that all of this was an attempt; as Patti put it to “make art with a capital A’.