Being on time, particularly all the time, requires a tremendous amount of energy planning.
Embedded in the planning is the reason for meeting or the person you are meeting remains a part of your conscious thoughts long before the actual time of arriving to the agreed upon meeting. This form of social politeness shows a value in which another life has value enough to consider before that life that’s taking place right now within your immediate surroundings. The meaning embedded, the dedicating of thought energy toward another life or shared goal…other than a singular or self-oriented interest or goal.
This supposition also implies an independent body. Independent bodies seem to be a total myth today. The idealism of self-sufficiency appears based on a lie entirely…for not a single life came into being through sheer independence, but rather through a complex series of relationships. From the advent of life, relationship and networks are already deeply established.
In cultures where this matter-of-face is deemed as a fact of reality, the bodies are invested in activities which are not singular in function, but rather of the group entirely. People in independent cultures live in sort of perpetual exiles when looked upon through a lens of people in community cultures. Several alternatives exist, as also a solitary existence does not imply and greater or less value than a life embracing interdependence and relationship. The cultures produced are quite different indeed.
Years ago, while living in Chicago, I read a book during my commutes to work at a marketing agency titled Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl. While reading this book, I found a couple of things that struck me a bit sideways-or a little bit odd. One was a single pointed style of solution orientation, and the second as contained in the title-the implicit emphasis on something called, Meaning. The observation and claim in the book was that Meaning was essential to not only happiness, but to functioning in life. Taking into account the horrifying psychological and physical conditions of Nazi occupation and totalitarian regime which imparted citizens and human life with the scars of trauma in the forms of depression and anxiety.
Meaning, has always been something I observed as a friend of Narrative. And Narrative works as a raw material of stories. Stories are not truths-they are fabrications, similar to fabric. Stories are often to convey an underlying message that is sometimes direct and other times more available to subjective interpretation. Stories can become fables, with these moral ideologies embedded in them, or stories can become the histories conveyed through generations as truths. Stories can also be entire fabrications, in that bits and pieces of experience or ideas are selected, quite often for political or capital gains. In other words, stories can run a close but different aspect of a lie, a fallacy, a fabrication.
When I get to thinking about Fabrication, as a word, and what it means-to strip away meaning to find some kind of truth (because I am always interested in this business of truth finding) I use a mode of deconstructivism and etymological research. For in seeing clearly a meaning, I can form a closer to objective view and perhaps locate an element of truth.
Here we go: What is a piece of fabric? What constitutes a garment? It is not just a color and shape and material. No, this material is made up of many threads, woven together. And where did the thread come from? Labor, efforts of resources such as human, animal, land, machines, energy. In deconstructing to the basic elements about a literal piece of fabric, I am able to access the truth of a garment, which is really not a simple object but rather a complex constituent of many many efforts. Then there are the psychic or ideological components to what brought the choices forth in the garment. Before going into that, the question worth asking: how does understanding a garment relate to meaning as being an aspect of a story?
There is quite a famous story about an Emperor who wears no clothes. That when people awake and SEE they find that the riches and grand life the ruler has been promoting around-are all pomp and circumstance. The Emperor is actually nude. And when he is nude, his body bare and able to be seen. This undeniable truth, both is the doing and undoing of this popular story and fable.
And so, when I have been finding some writing’s by Hannah Arendt, I am excited by the ways in which she articulates the difference between Thought, Reason, Meaning and Truth.
Personally, I much prefer the Truth-as it sometimes stings -the bullshit obliterating quality truth has on lies, fabrications offers a sense of freedom that Meaning cannot offer. Meaning gets messy fast, as it ties objects and desires into some kind of feedback loop-one which I would describe as a snag in a sweater. An annoying thing that begs to be fixed otherwise the risk of a hole is made.
To be free from the desire for meaning, through the avenue of a desire for truth has led me through a path that contains a more complex variety of experience.
I hope to continue this conversation, through comments, and in sharing the article I find greatly fascinating. https://www.brainpickings.org/2014/09/16/hannah-arendt-the-life-of-the-mind/
There is also this delightful article https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/06/21/mary-mccarthy-between-friends-evil/
as I am quickly becoming a fan of this Brain Pickings website, as it makes learning and reading fun again. A refreshing experience from any of the current news events taking place in the media. And I am inspired to see so much writing about thinking, truth, desire, compassion, and things that really work in life that are not based in fear, manipulation or control.
The desire to share this, is of course to share the excitement of joy, contentment and levity that I experience within my mind and body with these ways of thinking, which has translated into greater freedom to enjoy every sip of air and go forward making any artwork I feel deeply inspired to and offer a value to others in doing so. This experience replaces the heavier experience of fear what clouded my vision and held my body back from taking action on the ideas and things I care about deeply. I always seek to share avenues in which others may find more freedom, joy, contentment and satisfaction in the elemental basis of existing. For life itself, the only truth I found between the relationship of truth and love, through the pursuit of experiences that are not for meaning, but rather for the truths to exist in and of themselves. A powerful love that has me gaze in amazement, wonder and awe-while navigating any of the fears or challenges in life or work.
Careful and continuous observation over time. This habit and practice is something I have been led to the same practices happening long before the world as I have come to learn it was around. There was always something about the way of charting months and days that never added up-and I mean literally the numbers don’t ever add up without some kind of remainder or extra here or there. Due to facts such as: the sun and moon produce cycles of notable change every month, cycles in my body produces notable changes, I have been interested in following these patterns, and seeing if there are some ways I can discern any kind of notable differences or similarities. These kind of basic bits, elemental, have always seemed most pressing and relevant to me-for even the idea of “more” I have found often tied to ideas about “getting” and that tends to be a tricky little trap. I’d rather steer around any kind of traps, as the trails are far more inviting than being stuck in some kind of hole (which has often and thankfully been psychological more than real-though real things have a concreteness to them the psychic don’t-but dealings with the mind is for another post).
Farming and farming calendars, popularly called Farmer’s Almanac’s have been scooed-off by some advancements in creating food for people in the world, but these calendars often sync up with subtle sensory changes I have observed over decades of observing reality, my body, and the connection between the environment and the body. Moreover, observing social behaviours, fluxes and changes in policies, attitudes, values, have followed a trend of media-driven narratives.
The idea the world is driven (ala psychological motor) by stories, is not a new idea either. Yet, these words: new, progress, advancement, efficient -have infiltrated my own bodily system through modes of thought and belief. It might seem strange to think that a calendar or a way of measuring time can be internalised into a bodily system, but I have had this experience over and over. Ideas that are somehow planted in my mind, infiltrate my behaviours and then end up causing a repetitive cycle of tension-the tension arising from an internal conflict-because somehow that idea conflicts with what feels natural to me, otherwise known as what I value. This is why I have always been wary of beliefs. Beliefs have a long history of being tied to business and religions-neither which of these activities am I interested in vilifying-for qualities in and of themselves are neither benevolent or malevolent. There is this saying about following the money, and you can follow a motive…well, I would also caution against accepting any kind of saying or colloquialism without longterm observation over time, also. Bearing these things in mind for a little while, it’s not very radical, my findings, but rather sort of funny-not the funny in the way of laughing, but funny in the way of, what was I all tensed up about because these stories about new, progress, advancement and efficient are based on ideas and ideals about a certain way of being-which become tied to attitudes, lifestyles, one-sided conversations and generally do not work over long periods of time-perhaps why fashions and styles change so frequently-while strongly built objects and architecture, farming and basic health and well being practices don’t change as much over time. Or if they are, I am not alive long enough to experience the differences myself. Anyhow-Certain ways of being and doing things tend to look like shoulds- and people who go around all day telling people what they should or should not be doing, tend to be mired up in making larger moving parts go-whatever those moving parts may be producing: products, capital, business models, ideologies, spectacles.
Whether we are aware of it or not, as anything living, always creates something. Water makes things wet. Yeast makes dough rise. Seasons calibrate and facilitate magnetic forces-or maybe it is the other way around 😉 It’s really far more complex than I can understand right now. But the point is-to take a look at the calendar, the way we are measuring our days, to consider the elemental forces of nature can provide relief for headaches, ease for diseases, fuel (food) and fodder for creating beautiful objects that enhance our human experience, learning environments which develop instead of deplete our bodily systems–and these observations are not new, not esoteric, not even weird or unusual at all. And I do trust that over and over, people will come to discover nature as the way, because whether become involved in making up stories by tagging on the world mother, father or a gender neutral term to nature (mother nature, father time as coming from mythology), we will exist among facts. And these facts of reality, of life, can flatten out an ego, and connect you to the life instead of you-that is already shiny, already creating, already aware, already desiring.
I have also been forgetting what day of the week it is. What time it is sometimes. And my husband had a revolutionary idea-maybe there is nothing wrong with me in that. Maybe it is more natural to not compartmentalise existence by arbitrary means, but rather align life more closely to what nature already has going on. And it feels more harmonious too.
Allow me to begin this letter by first addressing the hesitancy I have in beginning a sentence with the word “I.”
The idea is not nascent, but rather actively created by voices from real life bodies, that have demonstrated a continual campaign against the use of the word, “I.” What a moralistic and seemingly grand gesture to remove the “I” or oneself, for the notion of a self has become aggrandised through the cultural proliferation of personal blogging and lifestyle posts. This “I” is not to become confused in a tangle with notions of identity. The issue at hand here is not what defines and confines a concept of an identity, but that the “I” both symbolises and makes actual the inhabited position of being alive in a body.
The Institution, of precisely Contemporary Art, shall we say of Contemporaneity, of the International Arts as beneficial to culture production, has shrouded the biographical in all kinds of cast glances and slights of hand. Bells, whistles, halls of mirrors-art has become a non-local site, a paradoxically precious state of flux. This slippery kind of quality, has a taste akin to the bad taste of narcissistic politics. And bad taste here may not be subjective. When bodies of people who sought after a result and came up with what we have here today (and I doubt I need be more precise to reference the current names in the news), we know what something bad tastes like. A politician, or a body stripped of it’s “I” position or biography for the sake of an ideal upheld The Institution, known to some as a Myth of Modern Art, is not a Durian fruit-or Koriander (cilantro) to which some find the taste of feet and others the taste of ecstasy. No, this kind of taste runs through the gut-not the mouth. It’s a sucker punch feeling, one that has psychically infested the minds through propaganda or ideology.
And so, we have ourselves a net of lifestyle blogs, a web full of photos of daily food pics. And they are humanising. They contain within them an “I” quality. And in this position of subjective experience, we can witness the behaviours of individual bodies-for their commonalities in life can be comforting-more over, these practices can Locate the seemingly non-local. Where are these people posting from and to? The media transferred through flashes of electric signals, through wires, towers of boxes in data centres, supplied by energy we hope for as “green,” and yet we know required mining from the earth.
So what is the point of all these posts? What is the point of someone attempting to remove the “I” or have someone question whether or not they are socially appropriate by starting a sentence with and “I”? What is at stake? A complex network of Power and Control-to which what else can be found at stake? So all me, one of the I’s to share with you, the non-monumental event that at this time can be completely subversive. The monumental being found in these personal/non-personal moments shared through social space and time, a food pic. I loved every bite. I chose to make this look this way because it pleases me. And doing such does not make any less of anyone by engaging in these activities. Instead of actively demonise the daily or the “I” can we all get down to the teddy better bits of positively creating life. Be subversive through the biographical. Make a position. Eat the food and photograph it. And if you don’t want to, then don’t. No one makes anyone do anything like this-we hope. And if some subtle ideas have launched into the mind and exorcised your beautifully energetic life, subjective or non, then rid your mind of such internalized powers, and stay true to the values that are within you, that fill life with love, joy, and whatever else that makes things feel real for you.
What is the matter of sharing this message to you? because if you are reading this word “you” then you see “I” and “you” and “I” are sharing this common ground for a blink of time. Thank you.
Books list / Bøkå lister
In an attempt to share the inputs which have facilitated a verbal learning of the subjects of my work, please find a list of books I have read. These pages I found of additional value in terms of creating and navigating life. There are many more enjoyable books read for pleasure. While pleasure certainly holds a high value in life, there are some things which I reserve for my personal, and not shared, experience. This list works as a rock tossed in the pond-perhaps a small drop which may send waves of ripples outward. Please note, I’ll be updating these books with links which kickback a small amount from being referred to the site where you’re guided to purchase. And for those who do not like to read, I’ve started to record book readings on Vimeo. Please share your donations which facilitate my continuing to sharing the process of my work. Thanks for your care and contribution.
How to Love, Thich Nhat Hanh
Watermark Documentary, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocjUAqKWBaw&feature=youtu.be
For a year, I wrote by hand on paper, a haiku-a-day. Then I translated the haikus to Norwegian, using Google Translate. Of course, these translations are not accurate and likely make little to no sense at all. This was part of the fun, in that sometimes a bad translation can be funny. Sometimes it can also be considered rude (beklager), but I also underwent this project to expand my sense of humor. I was just coming out of graduate school, and had more than my fill of serious theories. Plus, I am always looking for more reasons to laugh. I don’t enjoy frustration at all, so if I can transform a frustration into something so ridiculous I can laugh, then I am glad for this. Also, translating from English to Norwegian breaks the rules of the haiku, no longer making the words a haiku. This rule breaking being of a micro and utterly benign transgression-also something to laugh about. I’ve observed people breaking rules of the sake of breaking rules where harm can be done-but sometimes taking a course a little bit off path, that’s utterly safe, is just as much fun without the risk.
The idea to do this haiku project started with a desire to learn Norwegian; not because I had to since so many people speak English in Norway, but because I wanted to because my husband and his family’s native language is Norwegian-and I want to be a part of this new part of my family. Plus, I have always wanted to learn a new language.
The classes didn’t go so well for me, where I was confronted with dyslexia. I never noticed this when I was learning English, but in a formal classroom setting, I kept catching myself writing the letters out of order, and because the grammar is different, writing words out of order. Over several months, I became frustrated and surely doubtful I would ever speak Norwegian. Add to this, I was in school again after an incredibly arduous two-years in graduate school. Though I maintain nascent desires of taking to deeper study of Embodied Cognition or Cultural Studies, my brain was at max capacity, multiplied by confusion.
After taking some months off, a funny thing began to happen. I was starting to think of replies in Norwegian. It felt funny and then fun, even when people were speaking English to me, I had this new inner voice på norsk. I have read about latency and and became interested in understanding latency in learning through studying photography-in that the latent image shares some resemblance to how the human body imprints memories within it’s nervous system. This project has been the first time I was aware of this latency on a practical level. And I found this latency to be a great ‘aha’ in that when people talk about having faith that things are working themselves out, I was always skeptical. What is this thing people call “faith”? I have too many religious connotations to the word, and being a skeptic and not religious myself, preferred to banish such a word from my vocabulary. But now I realize faith as a part of the creating process. In that if I want to learn something, I can put a lot of effort into it, and whether I believe it will work or not, over time, through latency, I will eventually learn.
Such experiences reinforce the tendency I have to never give up on something I really care for. So in this year of writing haiku, failing at learning, then realizing I have learned, I’ve also had to learn to take it a lot easier on myself. As my husband always is volunteering to remind me I get caught up on details too easily, I have to learn to unwind a bit and practice more of the flow I attempt to create with my artwork-save the strenuous attention to detail for things like….well, I don’t know, perhaps beaucratic paperwork. But even then, all of this haiku project, struggled learning and past years have had me come to face myself in the mirror and let my shoulders relax even more. To gå sake.
Exhibition Note: This haiku project I envision as an interactive exhibition, where people can write-in their haikus in their language, and people can translate them as part of playing/learning new cultures. I would like to see a world where things are not all in English, but rather where different languages and cultures can be celebrated for and tolerated in their differences.
Teknovisuell Experience 5, from the Virtual Material body of work, was publicly installed in Los Angeles, CA.