Punctum week of experiments
Jude wants to know: Does durational process lead to making, or does making lead to durational outcome?
I’ve been thinking about: Repetition, duration and creating meaning; and how human’s contextualise themselves within their environment.
Daily report: Thursday 23rd July, 2015
My experiment for the day: Recontextualising the object (duration>making)
Relocating my rocks yesterday I was thinking a bit about how changing the context of an object can give it different significance. My aim in changing my location and activity was to better understand the rapport I was starting to have with these rocks, and how others would perceive my actions.
This week I’ve been reading a small stack of old National Geographic mags I got form the op-shop in town. Two articles have fascinated me in particular: The first is about Palaeolithic humans and features some really beautiful art they made, the other is about the Byzantine Empire. Apparently when Emperor Constantine Christianised the Roman Empire his mum popped over to Jerusalem on a pilgrimage, and handily found the real cross, the crown of thorns, and the lance along with the tomb of Christ. These relics and others that get discovered are constantly being removed, cleaned, sometimes decorated, and recontextualised in special spaces where they can receive the reverence they deserve. If they had been left where they were, undiscovered, they would have continued to languish in the guise of some bits of old wood, a circle of weeds and a hole in the ground.
The tribes people of Palaeolithic days were prolific drawers, painters, sculptors and dancers (they left footprints) most of the images they made were of themselves and animals. One work in particular was The Lioness Altar: a drawing of a lioness on a large stone in a little nook of the larger cave. The image had been repeatedly struck with sharp instruments and the archaeologists proposed that this was done during ceremonies. In my mind this is really similar to the detritus or documentation left over after a performance work: replacing the archaeologist with the viewer and the caveman with the artist…
Today I set up the camera, my large pile of rocks, scrubbing brush, soap, towel and bucket of water ready for the new action. I scrubbed with the intention of finishing. After almost three hours I threw in the metaphoric towel and squeezed out my real towel. I hadn’t even done half of the rocks, my hands and feet were cold, my body hurt and I really needed to go to the loo. Finally a durational exercise that beat me.
What did I learn? That perhaps I do need durational exercise as part of my practice, but that doesn’t mean the audience has to be there with me. The mind numbing boredom of that action and the others I have done over this week helps me think and connect with the materials and context, it deepens my understanding of the work in a way only time and sweat can.
Thanks for reading,