From their inception my diagram poems have been an exercise in recontextualising readymade text and exploring the new meanings that creates. Bringing these previously unconnected words and phrases together makes space for new interpretations and redistributes the weight given to words and phrases in their original context. It’s an exercise in unpicking language and I’m particularly interested in the language of belief. Of primary concern in my practice are the similarities between the language used to talk of romantic love and of ecstatic faith and the mystery in which we shroud taboos by only alluding to them. Diagram poems allow me to critique the idea of sacred texts and the notion that books hold mystical knowledge. Words in books can make ideas feel too concrete and I’m keen to both revere and challenge this at the same time. For me playing with holy language is a way to renegotiate the authority of the written word and indeed my own beliefs.
The first diagram poems that I made were a book of absurd piecharts. My process hasn’t differed much since then although I have expanded my repertoire of diagrams. I’m particularly drawn to diagrams whose structure could have religious significance or relates to theories of sacred geometry. I’ll often make up a completely abstract diagram solely for its aesthetic value. For me this combination of clear structure or statistical schematics with affective terms points to the relationship between the everyday and the cosmic. Or the “Transcendent Everyday”. My artwork has always explored this sense of ordinary wonder, and the possibility that that-which-we-personify-as-god is lurking amongst the normalcy of life. This is always my goal as I come to the stage of pairing the words I’ve collected with appropriated or made up diagrams.