Attending two quite different explosion workshops this week (as part of the ‘Normalcy Cluster’ activities – not that I really understand what that means) has led me to wonder if I am spreading myself too thin. This wondering concerns the impact of explosive substances rather than the attending of yet more workshops. It is all about energy – and its effective employment. Applying the metaphor to my current situation I can think that I am doing the equivalent of igniting old-fashioned caps (from my childhood cap-gun) spread across a large field, as opposed to detonating the same amount of explosive material in a single spot. This results in a lot of ultimately insignificant little bangs rather than something with some real impact. Have I been treating my energies as if they are eggs rather than dynamite? Conscientiously making sure they are never in the same basket … before I tie myself in a metaphorical knot I will say that perhaps it is time to begin consolidating and focussing what I am doing.

A week ago I began to write a post that remains unfinished, it listed the things that I had achieved in the preceding two weeks – things that had prevented me having time to write here. That (unfinished) post has now been superseded, and I wonder what to do with the unfinished un-posted unforgotten text. I wonder whether to try to re-call my impressions about the Supermarket Art Fair (now three weekends ago), my thoughts after two days teaching in Gothenburg, my excitement and anxiety in writing a PhD application, or to consign those things to an unrecorded past and trust that the impact of those experiences is now a part of me that will inform what happens from this moment on. A question of whether I write looking backwards or forwards. Today ‘forwards’ seems more appealing …

I feel a shifting of gears – this is not unsurprising as I negotiate my transition from student to teacher. This week I will begin teaching the Introduction to Artistic Research course that I was taking this time last year. Attending a research conference at the new Stockholm University of the Arts, and making the PhD application, has re-assured me that my interest in non-institutional research is vital. I am beginning to be better able to argue my position that artistic research is about process as opposed to being a process in itself, though I am aware my ideas need substantial refinement!

Discussions about artistic research with another artist have led us to the conclusion that there are clear and obvious needs for independent research platforms. It is our intention to establish one in Stockholm. This has great potential and, like the Supermarket Art Fair, is a necessary artist-led counterpoint to the institutional (/commercial) establishments. Noting that 151 applications were received for two research positions at the Royal College here we realise that there are an awful lot of artists who consider themselves to be researchers and their practice to be research. Our ambition is to create a platform for these kinds of artists and their activities.

Through these weeks of hectic and diverse activity something has percolated. And that something might even cause me to reconsider my resistance to the word “project” to describe an artist’s (my!) activities. From writing a research proposal suggesting an investigation into the material and conceptual qualities of glitter, to thinking about the space between reality and fiction inspired by the idea that cinematic explosions need to fulfil our expectations of an explosion rather than the reality of an explosion to be believable, via a truly inspirational presentation of artistic research that has lead to the establishment of foundations for fertility and family planning in developing countries and child victims of war, I have somehow begun to think that if I have a project then that project might be about wonder. Wonder as noun, adjective and verb …

… wonder

it is a beautiful word!