exploring art and writing

How to fill a blank page.

In Stressed on November 29, 2009 at 8:31 pm

This is how I'm feeling right now - and it's independent study!

Or how not to fill a blank page. I find it very hard to express a personal stream of consciousness; I find it embarrassing. I tried it for a year or so and still can’t bear to show anyone. Now, however, I look around and everywhere there are streams of personal thoughts and revelations, confessions here and there, thought processes and so on. And so, as this is a blog and a blog is the ideal production tool for all sorts of informal things, I thought I should try and relax just a little. My being overly conscious of new media and its sometimes overbearing presence – or perhaps I should say influence – in my life was at one point annoying me in the extreme, but I’ve realised it’s not the technology that is at fault – and I’ve read some pretty good blogs. The fact that I write these messages and hide them away, de-publicise them, is perhaps more me being cowardly than socially aware. I just think: who would actually want to read this? I suppose it links into my blog entry from November 11th; the audience, if they so wish, can just walk out. I’m not writing manifestos after all.

My latest ‘stream’ – let’s call it Stream Number 1 – is not really about art; it is about something that penetrates it, at least academically. It is the ultimate way to fill a blank page: Independent Study. Those two dreaded words. And why do I dread them so much? Surely, as an art student, I should automatically want to explain myself and my art, my thought processes, so that my work has more of a chance of being understood and affecting someone other than myself. The thing is, I was very much hoping that my work would do that itself.

A fondness for Ingmar Bergman doesn’t mean that I am not extremely wary of potent symbolism; I am specifically wary of it wholly carrying the ‘meaning’ of my own work without allowing the audience to take their own liberties. The joy of experiencing any artwork, after all, is what you take from it via your own personal perceptions and relationship with it, irrespective of whether you are aware of its intended context or whether you choose to accept the piece in a different light altogether. I was speaking to a friend today about a durational performance he is undertaking; it began today, a Sunday, when no one is in university, and it was fuelled partly, I think, by a slight panic to do with the impending assessment. And then one person saw him, instigated a discussion and appeared to understand the actions without any in-depth explanation; he perceived something and was affected. Following this my friend forgot all about the assessment, of course. If only we were all allowed to forget about it.

And so, watch me in all my hypocrisy as I go on to blog and blog – and blog – all sorts to do with my independent study. Above is the promo picture for Hitchcock’s The Birds. I watched it, I enjoyed it, I occasionally found it amusing. Next I’m going to watch Rear Window, and then I will think of something useful to say about them.

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