It’s as if the idea of making objects is suddenly completely foreign to me, both the what and the why. It feels utterly unnatural and I have trouble seeing a reason to make anything at all beyond things with obvious functions and as skill-honing exercises.
I am operating as if this mode and medium are familiar and justified when in fact they are not, even though I have been chipping away at building a practice for some years now, albeit a not-terribly-prolific one.
What I am immersed in and have been immersed in for many years more than I’ve been doing this is dramatic and time based art. The song, the story, the nuts and bolts of production and performance. Sometimes as a writer, sometimes as a performer, sometimes making wigs or doing makeup, most of the time as backstage support. I’ve been soaking in it since I wrote that first seasonal rite back in KC, had musician boyfriends, and then here in PDX started doing all those Crowley pieces, continuing to write my own stuff, and taking that first opera job.
Aside from making a few talismans and cobbling together ritual gear, I have NOT been making object-art nearly as long. Time based performative art feels (relatively) safe and familiar to me. After all, it’s how I pay the rent. It’s where most of the artists I’m exposed to on face-to-face basis are. I have no trouble being involved in a piece and seeing clearly the reasons why, most of the time, YES, this deserves to exist.
It should be no surprise that some of the things I want to make have a time-element in them (i.e. one or more moving elements, and literally “clocks” if irregular ones).
Object-making suddenly does not feel safe or familiar. I suddenly do not understand it. At all. This is a very uncomfortable place to be and I have to admit I’m more than a little scared. It’s like it speaks in a foreign language where before I thought I “got it”.
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And so I run to the word for comfort- I read, I putter around on the ‘net fishing when I don’t really need any more fish, I write, I need a story or a tune or another appointment or…..
Image is very different from word (-though not from Word, who I suspect is a bit of a liar, anyway, however it shows itself. That’s fine with me. At least its lies are true). Object even more different still.
I could give up and immerse myself, go even deeper and more active in the world I’ve been soaking in, the performance one, for some time and let this fantasy of object-making go, and chalk it up as a loss that came with the risk of doing it. Make a shift, put my eggs there and jump (I know, awful mixed metaphor). Maybe really fly. Maybe I’ve been really delusional about that all this time, undervaluing my incredible luck in that department.
Or I could just endure and work it out, wait it out and eventually I’ll learn that language and understand again. Both the thing and the why. Keep with the hard pace of a somewhat split life hoping that it’ll either transition one way or the other or blend someday.
There is just something right about the object-making. That’s all the why I have right now.
But I’m here typing when I should be telling all this to the materials and seeing what they have to say. Running to the word again. Looking for some reassurance. In there, I’m that recent immigrant who is really hard to communicate with right now.
What I wouldn’t give for more understanding, more words, more language. More fluency. More WHY.
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SO, I’m fasting from LJ, internet, books, scripts and e-mail for a bit. Half an hour a day for e-mail business and responding to that, fifteen minutes to check & post on LJ & FB. Goat of the week will continue. But for at least one week every time I want wordy distraction I will march into the studio and face the silent materials.
(BTW, I blame fucking Twyla Tharp for helping me to open this can of worms with that fucking “unraveling your creative DNA exercise”. Be warned, it will definitely unravel something, though of course YMMV. )