Taken from page 45-48 (the end of the Prologue)
These considerations, when sitting in a quiet studio, run the risk of never being able to be acted upon; there are too many complex contradictory thoughts – where action is essential to practice, it is essential to time. To avoid the normative discussions around process I consider craft as intimately entwined with concept and explorations of time; where it is mentioned in these texts it will be in this framing.
craft as action
craft as time
craft as performance.
Back in the studio, thoughts continue in this complex consideration of intention. I am reminded of a strange feeling of emptiness. A remembrance of a void-mind which is contrarily filled with thoughts, but has no ability to action them. A common thought flickers through my mind:
I have no idea what the I am doing.
I remember this feeling on several occasions before, when one project/timeline ends and another begins When, on reflection, the previous work was not what I had intended.
An annoyance that what was in my head was not reachable, where the ungraspable-ness of an idea and the ability of my actions did not meet. Where the intention of creating the untangleable was defeated by the utter relentlessness of gravity and material stubbornness.
John Lennon asked George Martin to make a song sound like an orange. Strange as it sounds, as a request the reasoning is clear: we can never fully know the objects that surround us, and our ability to manipulate them can only live up to our ability for translation. Thought to object, object to reflection, the object reacts back and onwards with a reliable circularity.
The act of making in itself becomes a reason for being. Without the creative act, what do I become? Do I undermine my reason to exist? Creativity seems so essential, so ingrained, that the idea of creativity-in-itself and being are utterly entwined. But these places put pressure on my synapses, moods (and relationships). When I cannot act on thought there is a void.
Here, craft is motion, acting, making, being. What follows the craft is a death of being, the start of a new life of the object alone.
Outside on the window, through the parchment paper, I can see the shadow of two pigeons who have landed and seem insistent on a wide-ranging and noisy discussion of coos and clucks. Human consciousness is not always a fond ally, and there is a jealousy in my interpretation of their simple existence. I am reminded of John Gray’s thought that ‘Lacking (the) self-image of the sort humans cherish, other animals are content to be what they are. For human beings, the struggle for survival is a struggle against themselves.’ (Gray)
Writer Brian Dillon asks:
‘Why devote your adult life, at the expense of more than one of security, to the composition of many hundreds – perhaps a few thousand, in the end – of responses to the world of things and books and pictures and places and memories? what is it all for exactly? To keep certain kinds of fear at bay, or to cultivate anxieties, to replicate the same fear a thousand times and more, as if it were the only thing keeping you alive? Which it sometimes seems it might be…’
‘Beauty exists only in struggle.’(Marinetti)
A moment catches, a moment when all of a sudden, my consciousness registers the complexities of what surrounds. My thoughts and the other actors in the scene join together. The pigeons outside, the drying paint, the illustrations littering the walls, the decaying coffee cups, open sketch book, pile of scrap metal, anti-bacterial cleaning wipes, polishing motor, retro 1978 Scotland top, the indistinguishable chatter from the market and the emptied Tunnock’s Tea Cakes box collaborate, and the momentary blankness has gone.
I pick up a pen