Set Building on a Sunday

Drew and framed out the first layer of the set for my next round of tableau vivants. Looking forward to using these staged, artifice heavy moments as chapter breaks or visual asides to a larger narrative structure.

An amateur magician as greek chorus type of format.

Also picked up a cheap black suit over the weekend for the performer (me).

  

Now I need to wire the “limelights” and not knock out the power grid for the entire town!

 

Drawings

I believe these might be done.

It’s always so strange and kind of wonderful to see work reduced down to little digital rectangles. It reminds me of when I used to get slides developed (back in the day…) and had the expectation that somehow all the little irritations, missed marks and hesitancies in the work would magically disappear and the image would be the perfect representation of “my work” and not the honest depiction of steps along a continuing process.

So here are five highly theatrical, dense, flamboyant, spatially confounded, ambiguously specific (?) pieces that have me working through and reveling in the essence and excess of  Moby Dick.

 

 

Performing myself

I’ve been thinking a lot about why I’m not getting more work done and feel I’m lacking my normal manic studio drive here and I think I may have found (or created) some answers. One reality is adjusting to the demands of my new position and the workload but that seems too easy. I’ve always had at least one job and have been able to maintain an active studio practice.

I think it may be something else. Something a bit more slippery.

In the states, the work exists because of or becomes a challenge to the normalcy, habit and routine I experience on a daily basis. This isn’t a negative criticism or a nihilistic, escapist posture but just the way I adjust the lens I navigate my world through. It’s a point of focus, psychic release and self-affirmation (no matter how naive) of a perceived singularity and an ability to reveal and perform my stance in the world when I’m in the studio, working.

I experienced a great deal of anxiety and a deep sense of loss when I moved out of the studio I had for over six years. It existed as an archive and repository, a lab and arena and confirmed the necessity to have such a designated space/nest/sanctuary/cell for my stability and continuity.

Here in France (with my still unbelievably bad French!), every moment presents a demand for me to perform a version of myself that can pass, nod, “oui”, “non” and play at being a familiar and member of the tribe. It can be exhausting, isolating and frustrating. 

Why isn’t it freeing, boundless and revelatory? Why am I not rushing to “ma vieille boulangerie” to revel in this anonymity and the somewhat socially unaccountable nature of my current circumstances? 

I’m not sure and it’s driving me a little crazy. Good crazy but still….crazy. 

So, as I reduce my administration time to two days a week and commit to the studio, the challenge is to open out and fully embrace the situation I am actually in and be free of critical hindsight and dismissive forethought and try to exist in that problematic space known as “now”. 

Here we go…….

 

 

Miniatures

In natural history museums, science centers or in any other form of collection, I’m invariably drawn to miniature reproductions. These painstakingly labored depictions of heroic engineering achievements, collective historical moments and revered natural and cultural sites present themselves silently in stasis, arrested in a curatorial amber. 

There is something about the paralyzed moment, the uncanny absence of a temporal progression and the stylistic homogenization of the crafted components that sets my teeth on edge.

Seductive, melancholic, fantastic miniatures that as Susan Stewart writes in On Longing are “a diminutive, and thereby manipulatable, version of experience, a version which is domesticated and protected from contamination.”

   

   

   

Maintenance

Finished editing a small video built from footage and audio gathered in Berlin.

On the day I visited the Holocaust Memorial by the Brandenburg Gates, a crew of men were diligently sanding off the graffiti, scuff marks and stains that had built up or had been applied to the individual components that make up the memorial’s expansive field of horizontal plinths.

I shot some footage and proceeded to walk on towards the Reichstag when a group of musicians in full regalia stepped through the gates and proceeded to parade down the avenue playing traditional tunes. It felt as though I had come upon two incidents of historical and cultural “maintenance”: a memorial being kept impervious to entropy and the markings of temporal and social collision and the spectacle and affirmation of a tradition that exists now in the realm of the performed nostalgic.