Over 24hrs into experiencing a new continent (South America), a new environment (the Uber Uber Corporate Conference) and a language that ‘belongs’ to many countries ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community_of_Portuguese_Language_Countries ) I am more sure than ever that my practice exists within an intra-silo space. By this I mean the conversations that support, enrich and facilitate what I ‘do’ are located at the intersection between art and ecology, the environment and our impact upon it. They are as likely to be with a curator and a gallery space as with a plastic recycling expert and their reprocessing facility that covers thousands of square metres.
And so, my attendance at the World Congress on Solid Waste Management has so far required me to be:
– flexible and responsive in terms of my use of language as an Artist. My ‘material’ is an engineers product. My platform for dissemination can represent a tiny fragment of their marketing output (twitter, photographic documentation, an interview)
– to communicate an aesthetic/visually orientated perspective to scientists/economists and suit wearing professionals (yes, we wear suits sometimes too) whose bottom line is often motivated by profit, efficiency and long-term schedules (and yes I know we too are motivated by these factors as practitioners)
– to process, understand & formulate (in real-time) the inter-disciplinary space that merges, seeps and shatters boundaries during collaborative conversations and projects. At times these ‘spaces’ can seem impenetrable. Whether that’s gaining access to & working with a multinational company or a member of it’s staff.
Where design meets expression… emotional response meets practical action …fiscal/profit orientated strategy meets gut feeling.
These are the spaces and places at the edge of the silo of knowledge that we all call home. The conversations are both interdependent & intra-silo, they occur across sectors, and within differing perspectives of the same material/plastic/product.
Perspectives are ‘situated’ and collaborative practice, as a base-line, requires conversations that build ‘bridges’ between knowledge structures and comprehension. To ‘meet’ the material, person or company on their terms, in a language that is understood, often requires you to step into an unknown territory where the words used are unfamiliar, the environments that surround you may not have a map and the outcome (hopefully) forges a path into a new and emergent space.
“Lost really has two disparate meanings. Losing things is about the familiar falling away, getting lost is about the unfamiliar appearing. There are objects and people that disappear from your sight or knowledge or possession; you lose a bracelet, a friend, the key. You still know where you are. Everything is familiar except that there is one item less, one missing element. Or you get lost, in which case the world has become larger than your knowledge of it. Either way, there is a loss of control. Imagine yourself streaming through time shedding gloves, umbrellas, wrenches, books, friends, homes, names. This is what the view looks like if you take a rear-facing seat on the train. Looking forward you constantly acquire moments of arrival, moments of realization, moments of discovery. The wind blows your hair back and you are greeted by what you have never seen before. The material falls away in onrushing experience. It peels off like skin from a molting snake. Of course to forget the past is to lose the sense of loss that is also memory of an absent richness and a set of clues to navigate the present by; the art is not one of forgetting but letting go. And when everything else is gone, you can be rich in loss.”
Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost