Wednesday, November 26, 2014

stitching remnant tubes; stitching data

Will I be able to maintain a dual practice, art and scholarship, or is scholarship simply an evolution in my medium?

Art practice: stitching together consumer refuse into a coherent aesthetic experiential phenomena. Interdisciplinary

PhD studies: collating and commingling scholarly research residue from discrepant disciplinary domains into coherent bodies of knowledge that might inform the aesthetic experimental practice and phenomenon.

Clearly there are parallels equally weighty (ha) if one does not account for perpetual sweat, grime and dirty finger nails evident in my artistic practice.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

weaving the unraveled as I ravel the strands'
textual influences ofthe term

Carnal Knowledge: Towards a ‘new Materialism’ through the Arts (2013), “Introduction” by Barbara Bolt
The idea of the performative power of materiality that Bolt introduces has raised one possible strand of research relative to the function of visual and performative artists’ writings. Still just raw mental musings spurred by this reading is the notion that there may be correlations between the material nature of making, the physicality, and the need to consciously process via written language, some kind of needed balance or play between the physical co-collaboration with matter and the artist’s internal associative cognition. And is there a relationship to the physicality of the act of writing (and typing) that still grounds the artist’s larger practice in the material world? Is there a drive for artists relative to writing that anchors it in physicality?  I am not suggesting that there is necessarily a content relationship between that which is made and the writing. For instance a line from one of Anne Truitt’s first published journals correlates more with the act of being an artist than negotiating a particular artwork: “My hope was that if I did this (writing) honestly I would discover how to see myself from a perspective that would render myself whole in my own eyes.” (1974) Additionally, I wonder if the more an artist’s body of work is abstracted and removed from direct representation or is ephemeral, if there is an increase in the frequency or drive for writing. Perhaps writing undoes the illusion of “muteness” and the “irrationality of matter” in a fashion that instead allows the artist to be in a more overt co-collaboration with the performative nature of matter 
Barbara Bolt, “Introduction: Toward a “New Materialism” Through the Arts,” in Carnal Knowledge: Towards a ‘new Materialism’ through the Arts, ed. Estelle Barrett and Barbara Bolt (London: I.B. Tauris, 2013), 1-13.
Extraordinary Measures: Disability in Music, Ch 6 “Disability Within Music-Theoretical Traditions” by Joseph Straus
Straus’ summation and application of the idea of metaphor and the body to art, in his case music, derived from Lakoff and Johnson’s research, seems also to be a relevant research direction in regards to exploring the function of writing for the visual artist. The relevance has become more evident as I have gone to Straus’ source texts by Lakoff and Johnson, which then led me to explore research around human acquisition of knowledge via metaphorical thinking—in that we understand this from that and that from this and rarely a direct understanding of this is this. This metaphorical thinking also seems to harken back to Judith Butler’s discussions of the cultural constitutions of gender and identity via the trappings of performativity, as well as Melanie Klien’s Object Theory. I haven’t quite woven this together in my mind yet but metaphorical thinking and making, language as a container, writing as a container, performing artist (as in Judith Butler’s performing gender), and co-collaboration with the material world (Bolt) perhaps need the act and process of writing to hold together the multivariance practice of being artist.
Additionally in terms of Straus’ discussion of “musical abnormality requiring normalization,” a controlling, managing and neutralizing dissonance, there may be a relevance to the topic of writing’s function for the visual artist. This notion of dissonance calls to mind the potential cognitive dissonance that might be a repeating event for the practicing artist. By cognitive dissonance, I mean that mental unease that arises when conflicting notions must be simultaneously held and artificial resolved to smooth the mental distortions (anxieties?). For instance, an artist might grapple with a critical art review that infers that she is no artist at all, yet she is a practicing artist. Perhaps even, depending on one’s familial history, a negotiation of the desire for a purposeful vocation yet simultaneously experiencing art as frivolous entertainment. Or even more disruptive, for me, is the dissonance that arises from the role making fills to move the self from a position of consumer to producer, yet the production results in something for consumers to consume. Essentially cognitive dissonance is that chaos Elizabeth Grosz alludes as the source of the drive and negotiation via the framing and deframing, the territorializting and deterritorializing of chaos except this is occurring within the mind relative to one’s shifting constructed identity as one attempts to perform according to what seems and “feels” “right” and “real.” The framing and deframing to manage the chaos is a sort of dissonance management with attempts at normalization, reducing the mental deformities that occur when life, self, etc, are unstable. Grosz suggests that this process of managing chaos stems from the impulse to organize space. So as the artist works with material space, does the artist simultaneously need a way to organize the space of the mind? And is this ordering of space a function and source for the compulsion of visual artists to write?
Joseph Nathan. Straus, “Disability Within Music-Theoretical Traditions,” in Extraordinary Measures: Disability in Music (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), 104-24.
I am equally impacted and influenced by Judith Butler and Elizabeth Grosz’ writings. It is not yet directly clear as to how all these threads from the four authors fully relate to the visual artist’s practice of writing, but I think that if I follow each thread—new materialism, metaphor, dissonance, performativity and the impulse to organize space—they may weave together in a revelatory and useful manner as I unravel the function of writing for the visual artist. Or in the words of Grosz I may use them to frame and deframe, territorialize and deterritorialize the chaos of the impulse to write, to order linguistic and mental space.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Silence or nothing more than a vibrating string robbed of self

Ha. I normally work in silence. In rare moments I will turn on a tune and let it run through me. In these irregular passages, if it strikes my system just so, either brushing away, smoothing over, mental clutter so that my thoughts flow more fluidly coherent or I slip away into the sounds imagings of elsewhere, there is a pleasure of sorts. But most the time, mechanical or voiced music, buzzes like an incessant gnat disrupting my mental musings. I laughed today as I tripped over Vladimir Jankelevitch's textually voiced thought:

"Music acts in human beings, on their nervous systems and their vital processes...The man inhabited and possessed by this intruder, the man robbed of self, is no longer himself; he has become nothing more than a vibrating string, a sounding pipe."

Is not cinema (TV) not almost the same?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Visceral making was my first move out of silence.

Visceral making was my first move out of silence, a move made at a time when I was unsure how to speak into or even grasp my own lived experience, when my body had a more cogent language than my mind.

That has now been partially purged in the pursuit of a clarity in purpose and voice. So I continue the move out of silence, but it will never stray too far from the language of the visceral.

Where that will lead and how it will resolve is an adventure to strike out upon. 

Clearly (ha), there will be no retrospective based on the 14.7 tons of work and residue taken to the dump and a large part of the remainder burned.

Tear wipe. Palm smack to forehead. Dang. Seriously, seven loads, 14.7 tons. Since I harvest from the waste stream, I do not feel overly guilt returning it. But dang if it didn't hurt to dispose of it all.

Ha. Even purged seven years worth of my steel tip work books.

A tad of the purged

Waaaa! It is what it is and it needed done. Shipping or hauling and storing is simply not in my budget. And though I've set myself upon a scholarly path, I am sure that my body will always speak more cogently than my mind.

And to quote my dad, "Make new work."