Been changing my theme like I used to change my hair. — Alas, no more caustic chemi fumes; after a last fun blast (“Napalm Orange”) in 2005, I decided to stay “natural” and just wait for my hair to change color by itself. For awhile I wasn’t cutting it, either, but now I’ve reached a good maintenance length and enjoy the clean feeling of a trim.
What am I talking about- Oh yeah, Changes.
This simple theme is comforting to me because it looks relatively old*, which is more reflective of my actual level of computer literacy. I want to be kind of “bare”, not wearing a well-designed mask or hiding behind a velvet curtain. Well, I do want to do that in my future puppet theater! But on the computer, not so much.
(*Actually, it was “Sandbox” and I had to change it again because it wasn’t displaying my photos!)
It’s been raining steadily all afternoon. I might as well be in pajamas, because I’m not going anywhere. The sound of it coming down on the tarp-roof of “the studio” was at first exciting like camping; now it is reminding me (unfortunately) of the Venus scene from Ray Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man. Slight, pointless anxiety- as if some part of me keeps having to make sure I’m not going to drown. It is a beautiful music made of individual note-drops, but after going on for hours, they blend together in monotony. Although at first I thought it was this persistent consistent noise, combined with being house-bound, that was breeding in me a slight tension; now, I think it is more that I CAN hear each raindrop. I am AWARE of their impact. The drought has been waiting so long to break, and now we all have a deeper respect for the impact and importance of this water… And as it fills in the holes that I dug last week (for erecting the posts that will hold up the theater’s roof), I become once again so small, so relatively ineffectual.
Change happens slow and fast, depending on your perspective. To me, the progress out back (see Studio/Theater plans, August blog) is achingly slow: steps forward come only after steps back; I replaced the studio canopy in a three-part process, rain proving flaws in my engineering vision, leading to progressively more sophisticated (though still extremely rag-tag) designs. Building on no budget! Well, I do like challenges.
Yes, so the work I’ve been doing is, to me, behind schedule and beside the point I wanted to be making by now… To others, who have no idea of my plan and to-do list, every change is a surprise! Quick vs. slow. Nice.
Last time I was at my mother’s house/library, I picked up her old copy of I Ching: The Book of Change (translated and edited by John Blofeld, 1968). I’ve been enjoying the introductory/explanatory chapters thus far. As this post illustrates, I am taking thematic comfort from the philosophy expressed (Taoism). The author explains that he chose to title the text in the singular rather than more common plural (Changes) form, because [he believes] “the Chinese authors selected the title to reflect their concept of Change as the one unchanging aspect of the universe normally perceptible to human beings.” (p. 23)
So, the Tao is one unchanging Change; in our human experience, there are many many small changes– to back up and look at the bigger picture, and squint a little: yeah, it does all kind of blend together in one endless flow, like a river. Opposing energies/forces, mixing and flowing. The I Ching, when used as an oracle or divinatory tool, simply tells you how to best manage your journey along that river, by suggesting action or inaction as the better choice for the given situation. The framework is also very moral, based on what the “Superior Man” would do, i.e. one who “[desires] to live in harmony with the laws of Heaven and earth,” (p. 42). I shall enjoy studying this as I continue to seek a deeper and deeper experience of Balance…
I am good at creating the appearance of drastic change in a short amount of time (in performance, installations), mainly through the manipulation of materials. I like this. From a formal perspective, it is based on a very simple/rudimentary fact that drama, change, and contrast are all attention-getters. If I can get an audience’s attention, then there is the hope that I can give them something. Curiosity is one of my favorite of human emotions, if it is an emotion. Anyway, spending time crafting different ways of getting attention is a lot of what art ends up being about; the other part, which is kind of independent of art but nevertheless integral to its meaning, is that which is being expressed. A lot of times after completing a big art project/show/event, I have felt a kind of let-down deflation, because though my material efforts may have been noticed and enjoyed, what I put into my work in terms of thought and concept ended up feeling like coins tossed into a dark well. It’s not that there was no response or impact, it’s just that I have no way of knowing what the response or impact was, not unless someone took the time and effort to respond. Usually it’s just: “Hey, I really liked your show!” Uhh… “Thank you!” Occasionally there are conversations that go beyond that, and I can hear my initial statements echoed back to me, affirmed. Rarely, someone will point out things that I hadn’t even noticed, or they suppose themes that are so far from my intention that I get the delightful feeling of curiosity myself (energy returned back to me). Case in point: some “stranger” at Jo on the Go in San Marcos commented that my installation of hand-made wallpapers there was “obsessed with genetic mutation and reproduction.” Now that gives me something to think about!
I guess some conversations are slower than others. Points-of-view change, slowly, gradually, like evolution. And sometimes there are bolts of inspiration, other times confrontation, and moments when resonance is felt so clear, you really can almost hear it ringing. Let’s circle those moments and talk about them, make art, discuss again.
The frustrations I have on the physical plane, battling obstacles and practicing patience, stem from my eagerness to contribute to the dialogues going on in art and community, compounded by self-imposed limitations on how I want to make that contribution. Vision pulls me forward and mud pulls me down, grounded.
While I am typing, various pieces/relics of art pieces past are outside in my “studio”, slowly accepting moisture through their completely non-archival surfaces. I’ve got a tent full of future trash! Why? (I’m exaggerating a bit… it’s not FULL… and some of it is former trash, future art…) These things hold, to me, not-fully-discharged caches of meaning. If someone picks one of them up, the story attached to it just starts rolling out of my mouth, sometimes. Here at Synaesthetic Breakfast, I hope to someday bring you some of those stories, and pictures-in-words. Then the cardboard may safely melt back into the earth…
It’s not raining anymore! Bye-bye.