During one of the toolbox sessions Anthony pointed out that some of us were trying too hard to make connections between our readings and our own practice. I know that this is something I am particularly guilty of, I do have a tendency to look closely for parallel lines and thinking and I do try to parcel it all up in neat little boxes. His suggestion was to just write about anything and everything of interest and that the connections would become clear on their own without having to constantly point them out.
It made me think about a conversation I had with Rose about how teaching our year one English and Academics class has been cutting into the way we are thinking… and the concern that we are stuck thinking at year one level, where we teach them that they DO have to point out all the connections because otherwise we can’t assume that they know! Of course that is different from working at Masters level. I never realised how much what you do everyday really changes your thought processes, not only in obvious ways, but also in the complacency you get in thinking in a certain way. You are what you think (teach?)
My way of thinking is also evident in the work that I do, in many ways it’s about control and chaos. I realise that part of my way of working is about trying to impose rules, precision, and make sense of things, because I want to be able to pin things down and explain them. BUT that’s not actually the way my head works. I actually have quite a chaotic way of thinking that * means that my brain flicks between multiple thoughts or actions. To illustrate this, see that asterisks back there? That was where I stopped writing to put my washing on the line. Yes, mid-sentence, that’s how I roll. So my thinking is this constant battle between disordered jumping and reining that in, in order to focus. I can sometimes get my brain to be quiet when I am drawing. (I really want to insert something here about how that relates to why I am interested in memory, but I will let you draw your own conclusions).
I was talking to Erich earlier this week about my work and the critiques and some of the feedback I’d received in order to come up with where to go next in my research. We didn’t come up with anything, because I am still under the spell of the ‘disruption’ caused by the critiques. When I had analysed the work that I showed, and told him that the crowd scene was the one that drew the greatest interest and discussion, Erich pointed out that it was the one that I had the least concept behind. He was right! This was the work that I made not really sure of what I was doing… I was playing around with using watercolour and pencil and I had chosen a photograph that interested me (mainly because of the composition). The point is, I didn’t really know what it was about.
I think my problem is that I have allowed my concept to dictate the artwork and the artwork is more successful where this is not the case. Which doesn’t give me much of a strategy for moving forward, beyond perhaps not having a strategy at all and allowing for instinct rather than neatly researched conceptual thinking? I’m not sure. I feel like I had a bit of an epiphany when Anthony told us to just write lots, even unformed thoughts or just things we are interested in. Maybe loosening up my writing/blogging will allow my practice some breathing room?
We talked about art as a disruption in the seminar; I think the seminar was a timely disruption to my way of thinking.