(Sub)Conscious

This is a good moment to write about my latest working process. Right now I am still in the middle of it, the action and reflection have been very conscious while making a new experimental work for the Summer Interim Display. This will be shown alongside the Summer Show 2018, which presents the final projects of the soon to be graduated MA’s in Fine Art Digital of Camberwell UAL.

I started about two weeks ago with first ideas and set myself some clear limitations for the project. As I know limitations generate forces (like borders do too). Limitations will make you more creative and better in problem solving, as you have to deal with them. Without limits anything goes and this means often that nothing is done. So setting constraints makes always a good start.

My constraining list for the work looked like this:

  • There must be something to be seen, something to be heard and something to be influenced
  • Do an experiment with soft interactions – whatever that may mean, but I wrote it like that originally
  • Maybe this means the work should be interactive with the recipient becoming subconscious aware of some interaction
  • Let’s try-out an Arduino and small stepper motors, as I have not used these before
  • Materials should be mainly available in my store, so a limited budget to buy new stuff, as I like to recycle as much as possible
  • Watch closely to different kind of potential scalings: what could the size of the work be? Measurements should be flexible as the work will be presented in a group exhibition
  • Practically thinking about transport of the materials, the work should fit on the backseat of my car

My inspiration came from these:

  • The visual work will be a kind of installation continued on my learnings of my work ‘Seven strangers and the mover‘ but maybe has no video projection involved, therefore limiting myself towards an even more visual challenging setting.
  • As I liked Duchamps’ questioning idea of how forms are obtained through chance, I was inspired to draw something from…
  • Three standard stoppages‘ by Marcel Duchamp,which felt correlated in a way to social matters as well. Reading “Duchamp in context” from Linda Dalrymple Henderson ideas about ‘the beauty of indifference‘ stated to play some role here too.
  • The idea of the philosophical object or apparatus with social implications which I think can be communicative in some way and could be part of the research too.
  • On the side, the continuous evolving debates and news of Brexit, which are on my daily news feed. I follow many of the UK arguments on the BBC and online media as well as the European developments, with a special interest in the negotiation of this potential bad deal for everybody. How do people behave socially in such matters keeps me fascinated and may be of influence in this work in some way too. How, I don’t know yet.
  • And of course my former MA experiments thus far.

So after some days, my desk looked like this, playing the “instrument” of the sensor, stepper motor and arduino and changing programming and physical parameters a lot of times. I found an interesting list of tutorials and gained some new skills along the way.

While searching in some feedback concepts, that keep reiterating in my work often, I saw in my files a small booklet with previously made work again (see the picture underneath). It was an inner-portrait work as installation and resulting film and in some way became another important influence in the process at hand. The movement obtained by chance ties a phenomenon in that will be addressed in the work here too.

After about another 3 days, I became strongly aware of continued doing as a creative tactic that brought me further and further in the making process. To what extent, I had no idea, as I was concentrating on the what-if and how questions solely. But in the back of my mind and due to zealous experimentations I knew that something was growing out of my hands, mostly in the analogue part of my studio to paraphrase Austin Kleon from his bestseller. A set of materials was chosen for, the aesthetic parts became more important and ideas of different functionalities were tested.

Just last Monday, I was dismissing a lot of the done experiments and I felt a little lost what to do next. As deadlines approach I get this gut feel about time for decision making. Suddenly, after some hours of doubtfulness, the literal breakthrough came about.

I realised what missing part should be involved in the work as I would be in London. An idea of found objects – litter from the London streets could be incorporated in a certain way too – made sense and gave me immediately a narrative direction which was missing before during the experiments. The social factor helps to make this work worthwhile for me.

Then, I looked back to the first picture in this post and saw that I did forget to mention one source of inspiration, which had been there all the time, apparently quite subconscious. A book about Plastic Soup is there on the floor waiting to be read! I’ll start it now.

There are few days before the work should be ready. So I have to get going. The working title appears now to be: ‘the sound of indifference’ and later I will write a more detailed post on its content and potential meaning. This post has been written specifically for documenting the working process, which reflects my evolving and circular thinking at the same time.