Contributing to IdeasFromElse[W]here

Reflections and ramblings on an enjoyable day

The many and varied artistic offerings for the drawing sheds IdeasFromElse[W]here project was the starting point, and key focus, for my own contribution, (I think I was lucky to have been there on the final day of the project). I always consider that in being invited to share your own ideas to an art project there has to be a thought that it might be appropriate for your work to be a commentary on the environment for presentation, or on the history of the space, or at least be fitting to the through-line theme set up by those organizing the project and those who have previously contributed. So, despite Sally’s encouragement that I should play with and deliver whatever I wished (reminding me of my own comfort that art is so about personal interpretation – with a sense of isolation), I took the approach to use what was in the space as a stimulus for performance action. This is of course a simple and easy approach to creation, especially as the art there was so attractive. I set to pick a collection of the art pieces (there was not the time to use all of the art that adorned the space sadly), and then observed each art piece separately, extracting and recording basic and obvious aspects of its presentation e.g. observation 1: a photography image of detail with a black circle set in it, the aspect of this was of absence in time – something missing, an sudden gap or emptiness midst action and happening (?). Once I recorded the observations of each art work I then translated them into a performance action. To help form the performance action the observations were categorized as stillness, inconsistency, or repetition, an effort to lean even more on these three elements which exist in performance art. The second art piece I responded to was a stack of sculptured bottles, with the aspects of difference, deformity and hardness, while these suggest all elements: repetition, inconsistency and stillness, this work was categorized as stillness due to the material used: they were ‘rock-hard’ and cannot be reshaped and appeared with a discomfort which shows a lack of freedom, this art piece was performed as an performance action of a stillness which provoked endurance and tightness/stiffness – shown in the body. My process worked with the aesthetic – interpretations of the physical appearance of the art and representing these using the physical – the body-voice. Perhaps I was too occupied (or lazy) but what I thought about only after I left the space that day was that all the pieces of work were conceptual, with (perhaps) a specific message which I over-looked in my own observation of the work; perhaps these ‘black spots’ , these absences set in a photo are a personal expression and symbol of a lost moment or, memory or identity connected to the artist, perhaps it’s a more generic statement on society(?). I wondered that while I am a firm believer that ‘a camel is a horse designed by committee’ (that an idea is pure coming from one artist without interference) I couldn’t help think that had I spoken to the artists and had a detailed explanation of the work, beyond the aesthetic, my response would have been vastly more interesting. And, I am left reminded that while, should one declare themselves so, everyone is an artist, ones art is perhaps more interesting if we took more time to investigate the variety out there, to understand the process behind the presentation. OR is it enough just to walk into a space and engage in whatever way we as individuals choose with a collection of many varied artistic offerings! – well done IdeasFromElse[W]here!

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