POST 26: (Paibian)
Time has passed, but not much time…
Correspondence with a friend (MU) has been vital throughout this project. He was running a project based in Milton Keynes and both of us were keeping blogs and making work-in-progress publically visible. We ended up having a discussion about the merits of keeping such things as blogs going which, in retrospect has been a vital tool in clearly transcribing the entirety of my thought-process and is allowing me to pick up the work again after a necessary break.
Here’s how some of our conversation went…
MU: Hellish week on Scottish coast sounds great! If a bit unpleasant. Like a film in which you get possessed by Hutton’s ghost.
Talking of blogs… I was wondering what you[r] thoughts were on presenting developmental work and ideas more generally. I’m starting to find that for me the defining characteristic of the MK project has been it’s presentation as something partial or incomplete. I don’t mean because it’s split across a series of iterations, but because of the blog and the presentation of ‘test films’. I kind of hate it, like it feels like a big cop out. But it’s also kind of interesting if you think of the project as an attempt to learn more, and the socratic thing about being aware how little you do or can ever know anything. But I’m not sure it’s interesting enough. Like is it liberation from the pseudo-completeness of normal work, or is it a big lazy excuse for not making any proper work? I remember reading a quote a while ago with someone talking about artist’s practices and asking when are people going to stop practicing and start actually doing….
Is the ‘I’ in your blog completely you or a character or between?
CG: Yeah it was pretty good in retrospect. What was required. If I maintain the balls to take this work to fruition, I think it will end up better for it. Possibly. Certainly more in keeping with the power of the original text. Whether this will equate to a piece of art that would be more interesting is another question.
The blog-thing is indeed a many-sided sword. I’m a big believer in honesty always being radical and powerful but I also believe that a sense of mystique is a vital component to many pieces of art. Not necessarily in the physical construction or the conceptual content, but rather the journey that the artist took to get to this point. By presenting a working method with all it’s fairly mundane turns and troughs… I feel it might suck any final power out of the work.
And yes, you’re totally correct – the blog is a product and therefore it can feel like enough of an artwork to disable any other residues of the process attaining the status of something worthy for presentation. Not sure if I’ll do it again. And yes, the I is definitely just me but due the insanity of the week that ‘me’ certainly shifted a fair amount.
Back to the mystique-thing. I read that ‘On Pornography’ essay by Susan Sontag about a year ago (it was in the back of George Bataille’s ‘Story of the Eye’ – have you read it?) and three things stuck with me. 1. Porn is about death. 2. Porn and sci-fi are very similar in interesting ways (that I can’t remember)
and the third point was just a really obvious and I guess slightly clichéd statement about the role of the artist being a ‘broker in madness’, travelling to the limits and extremities of the human experience and then returning to report on what they found there. I guess we’re taught to not imagine the artist like that, like some bonkers Van Gogh character. BUT I think there is actual real truth in it, at least in terms of the stuff that floats my boat. Seen through this lens, what does the blog do? It’s like the video diary of that Ellen Macarthur woman, i.e. containing far LESS IMPACT than if the journey was simply embarked upon and no reports were made until the final presentation.
Hmmm. Good ramble, managing to fit both Georg Bataille and Ellen Macarthur into the same discussion! :-D
I think it all remains fine as long as there is final work, or at least a re-processing/presentation of the blog at the end.