Viewing single post of blog Threads

Remember the scene in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, when they rig up a helicopter with banks of lights and speakers and send it up to communicate with the mother ship?

Bah bah bah baaah BAAAAH! KABOOOM!!

That’s what we do… that’s what we did… Day one of Correspondence sees Elena and Stuart in their helicopters, sending out signals. We are trying to find a useful common language. I bring my twigs, Stuart brings his ties, and we see if they can communicate. We try various arrangements, (like building a hill in furniture or mashed potato) just to see if we can find something in common as a starting point. We have loads of “stuff” so we keep trying, adding, connecting, with string, wool, little clips, tying things together. We wrap things and we stitch. We draw lines on the wall, write words, ideas, and we set down traces on the surfaces from one item to another. We arrange similar items in groups, and we start to classify… we start to draw similarities.

Sometimes while we are doing all of this we are talking, commentating as we go, about what we are aiming for, and what we hope it will achieve. Sometimes we are working silently because we have an idea that doesn’t have words. In retrospect now I think about that process, it did have a cadence… an ebb and flow. And that cadence was mutual, because I can’t think of a time when I thought “I wish he’d stop talking, I’m trying to think over here!” I must ask Stuart if he thought the same? Maybe I was not so perceptive?

I think by the end of day one we had established the rules of engagement, and we had a basic vocabulary.

(No KABOOOM here!)

Overnight something changed. By the morning we had both come up with things we wanted to try, so when we got to the project room the first part of the day we spent dismantling, in order to give ourselves space. Interestingly we were both happy to remove, to take it back a step, more than a step in fact. Almost all of the arrangements of the previous day were taken down. Neither of us felt the need to cling to much, it had done its job and so NOW we were ready to start.

Given the empty space, we were now able to put together phrases, spare and eloquent, in contrast to the excited jabbering of the day before. Day two’s Correspondence was about light and form… and of course materials, and the appreciation of folds, holes, texture, shadow.

We both wondered what would happen if we had another day… or two… or a week… and I now wonder if any of what we learned about each other would change if we decided that we would open this conversation to the public at any point? Would the prospect of outside scrutiny have changed the way we worked?

What I have learned about myself is that to fire on all the artistic cylinders, I need to feel that the room is a safe place, there’s respect and trust. But there is also a light touch, humour, a finely honed Sense of Daft. I find, in working with Helen and Bill, as well as Stuart, that the Sense of Daft is serious business. If you are willing to let things go, without fear of ridicule, if you are happy to be truly playful, and not worry about how other people see you, then you can find something really rich.

1 Comment