Image: Mud. 14.03.20 50°18’49.0″N 3°38’02.7″W 14.03.20
First: ‘why blog?’
The medium seems problematic.
This takes me back to art school. I was talking about humans as animals and illustration was my medium of choice, it was and is also my problem. Animals don’t illustrate, so why choose illustration as my medium for blurring distinctions between human/animal?
The medium was muddying my message.
It’s happening again. In the same way, if this is an exploration of disengagement from the attention economy (and engagement with… something yet to be defined), why blog? Surely I ought to embody disengagement; be the sage, head off into the woods, abandon possessions and BECOME disengagement. No blog required.
Returning to Odell’s ’How to do Nothing’ 2019, she quotes Ursula K Le Guin’s novel ‘The Dispossessed’; “The explorer who will not come back or send back his ships to tell his tale, is not an explorer, only an adventurer”.
What is key here is the telling of the tale; the sharing of stories and the opening of conversations between fellow travellers for fresh perspectives and feedback.
Under normal circumstances society looks to those who self-isolate, i.e. sage, monk, hermit, recluse, for having some kind of vantage point from which they can offer fresh perceptions about the world by being outside of it. As Odell says: “mainstream society needs the perspective of its alternatives, that aren’t visible from the inside.” But these aren’t normal circumstances. We haven’t chosen to ‘force-eject’ ourselves, as she puts it, Lockdown force-ejected us. We are all now hermits. So if we are all united in our isolation, are we inside the world or outside it? The inside and the outside are becoming blurred or muddied.
“Mud, I decided, is one of those things in life which is only convivial once you’re in it” P166 ‘Waterlog – a Swimmer’s Journey through Britain’ 1999.
So I’ve decided to jump in; the blog isn’t problematic after all. In order to share stories a medium is required as a vehicle to express something internal to those external to ourselves. “Stories are the means by which we navigate the world.” p.1. ’Out of the Wreckage’ by George Monbiot 2017. The story is sharing and sharing is conversation and conversation is what is needed, especially now: “Stories are medicine.” p.15 ‘Women Who Run With Wolves’ Clarissa Pinkola Estés 1992.
We might all be islands, but in our new predicament the community is arguably stronger than it was before. Look at Channel 4’s seminal ‘Grayson Perry’s Art Club’ on Mondays, to see what I mean: a national art collaboration, filmed from people’s homes, through their smart phones, telling stories through art. Conversing together. Healing together. Sharing.
To get into fast running water you have to first wade through mud, or paint, or blog or… whatever.
Images: Self Portrait 02.05.20