Wednesday, January 18, 2012

No pretenses, what would be fun to do:

I was talking with Tessa yesterday and I was ecstatic to hear that both of us not only make work to make ourselves happy primarily, but also we had a lot of similar ways that we are frustrated, numbed but also excited and hopeful. What started as a way to get ourselves to read things that we would like to force ourselves to engage we ended up talking about the program, how we're getting on, and more importantly how do we get what we want from the program.

I've made my list of favorite things to do before, but I'm not sure if I've ever listed "things that I think would be fun to do (without worrying about what it all means). I could easily combine this list with another list of "ways to direct, focus and jumpstart the creation and completion of projects" which actually right now looks like I'm primed on taking that list very seriously as I have in the works a 365 day calendar. What do I do that I am passionate about, that I should celebrate and focus on which really means that I enjoy it so much I couldn't actually kill the joy if I researched it extensively, or worked on finding its most suiting context and implications or

But back to the list of fun things, I've actually have quite a few started, but I think that I haven't been clear with myself about what do I genuinely enjoy doing and what could produce some beautiful, meaningful, engaging work that is based on what I can sometimes do better than other people, have fun.

It's always time to kill the fear.
  • Knit / Crochet anything (check)
  • Make colorful abstract paintings that combine the graphic edges of impossible textures to make by hand and uncontrollable forms that are made by hand that also create textures not possible to make on a computer, layered and combined to create... uh... um... magic. (check)
  • Eat dinner with people and learn new ways to make food (check)
  • Learn how to bind hard cover books through a workshop led by a friend (check)
  • Watch movies, read comic books, watch TV series (check)
  • Make my own painted version of settlers of Catan (check)
  • Make a toy art tool (check)
  • Make relationships with technicians and learn how basic processes work and through hanging out with them, learn what they think students should try and should appreciate, who else has this kind of working knowledge of what would be going beyond the norm or nailing a technique? (check)
  • Read good fiction (check / pending)
  • Find out what other people are watching, reading, enjoying (pending)
  • Work with ceramics (pending)
  • Learn about Marx by taking Rachel out for coffee (pending)
  • Create something that uses sensors (pending)
  • Make a gigantic  spiralgraph that takes a lot of engineering (pending)
  • Make a video in collaboration with Corrie B. back in the States using friends over at the school called "Bauhaus at Home" where I combine learning about the Bauhaus to creating a Bob Ross-like platform to make it fun to learn art theory. Bob Ross would quip with anti-government messages which I hope to also include even that delightful detail, but have it be about a Independent Scotland. (pending)
  • Metal Pour (pending)
  • Make a reading group where instead of a dialogue specifically about the readings, people have to produce ideas for a work of art as an exercise (pending)
  • Join/make a collaborative that produces fun things
  • Have plants that work within a work of art that have to be taken care of
  • Direct a movie
  • Direct a music video
  • Dance in my own production or someone else's
  • Make something 10 feet by 20 feet made of small things
  • Hang out and find a way to display or interview talkative/excitable taxi drivers of Glasgow
  • Blow thousands of dollars on hookers and coke
  • Talk with people and enjoy their company as the art show
  • Make a gigantic paper-mache version of myself learning against a wall holding a beer, and other version of myself passed out on the couch
  • Create my own version of "Improv everywhere"
  • Setup drums/an impromptu Talent contest on Sauchiehall street
  • Completely analyze the accent of a particular part of Scotland and attempt to dress up, wear fake facial hair and try to blend in
  • Change the ways that an orchestra could work, such as giving headphones to all the musicians and letting them see the conductor but only playing one note and only when hearing through the headphone a particular musician in the orchestra, to create ripple effects
  • (I'll add more later, things hit me when I see someone else having fun)

Perhaps this could be a list for potential relative aesthetic works, or perhaps, it can just take the pretention away from what it means to create my 'practice'.

And here's where it gets really tricky in grad school. I already know I like doing these things SO, I know I'll probably do these things if I wasn't in grad school, the question is what can I do that would be out of the norm for myself since I should assume that grad schools is both a safety net, a place for instant feedback with respectable professionals and a place to play WITH other people. Being in graduate school implies that I know how to get things going and that I am willing to give an institution wads of cash and probably that I have something interesting worth investigating.

Also I just thought of something, really I need to make a list of things that I find fun that others might not find fun normally, another list for another day.

My art heroes of fun:

Jeremy Deller
Maurizio Cattelan
Allora and Calzadilla
Erwin Wurm
Tom Friedman
Judy Pfaff
Miranda July
Oliver Herring
Pierre Huyghe
Yayoi Kusama
Wayne White
Pipilotti Rist
Jacque Liu

The funny thing is that I wouldn't necessarily feel like it would be a lot of fun to have all of these guys in one room and to have a party, but actually, I envy their working methods, whatever they are, that causes them to produce works that have sincere levels of serious play and their work looks good to boot.

I will refocus on what it means to feel alive and to make work that is weird, exciting and not possible out of grad school while at the same time finding fun new ways to force myself to do the things that would create a means for having an even more meaningful practice. I was making good work when I left for Detroit, and gawd as my witness, I WILL take new risks!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Coming up with a new artist statement

How do we acknowledge the moments and days where we feel the most alive? Being present gives me clarity to choose what to do with all of my free time. I think this kind of space scares people normally, or offends people as if I am not pulling my weight in society.
But I do believe that there are simple ways that I try to live by that are profound.

Trying not to work too hard,
trying not to be satisfied,
trying not to lose time to mindless tasks unless I want to,
trying not to master something to the point of where it becomes mindless,

trying to avoid small talk,
trying to avoid competition,
trying to avoid irrationality,
trying to avoid being the only one who can get something out of my art practice.

trying to avoid doing anything just for the sake of it
trying to avoid being stubborn

There comes a time a point where you adapt a strategy that you don’t know how you got started, but you start getting exactly what you want and you find yourself sharing a moment with another person, or with yourself, or with time.

Before graduate school it was the realization of the kind of social capital that artists have and being able to demand free time without judgement, to become part of a subculture. I would navigate the world in ways that would allow me to join other people's journeys or bring people with mine and to achieve every kind of success on every level without having to compromise my sanity.

So what am I doing in grad school?

I’m watching a lot of movies
I write things like this that are somewhere between a diary a manifesto and a shopping list
I’m sharing meals with new friends
I’m getting to know new technicians and learning about new processes

I’m spending as much time as I can with my partner Rachel
I’m making mockups for artwork that isn’t possible to make just right now
I’m reading books that have topics that are so interesting that I don’t feel the pressure of reading them as research
I'm expressing everything I think I know with the tutors that come in to my studio

I'm bidding my time for an opportunity to flex my abilities on an in depth scale
I'm trying to figure out what to do with all my free time.

Everything I've just written is a precursor for my artist statement that almost seems too short to be real, I don't think that I'm simplifying my practice as much as I'm realizing through some of the tutors that almost everything I do comes to a desire for genuine exchanges and subversion.

This is probably all I really need to say:

Having a good relationship that makes one feel alive is everything.
Even if we give with the knowledge that there will be a return, we can do things
in a way that doesn't require a hierarchy or make others passive; making something
so that other people feel free to express themselves.