course instructions/ literalness

Returning to my notes that I started to work through a series of initial exercises for Research, I see that I have done a lot of it already: mapping, tracing, evaluating, prospecting existing projects; what animates them and what they could turn into; how they speak to each other, to the disciplines they situate within and transcend; and how they speak about myself and my practice.

I map, I draw, I photograph; I go back to the gap and explore it further in extension, in negation, in translation; I seek and touch other spaces that sit off and aside the functional ones. I also begin to use the developmental course tools as site/ enquiry into artistic form.

I felt always really constrained by observation: I have no experience nor vision to draw and conceive of stuff that I can’t access experientially; I never attempted a graphic novel, e.g.. But over the past year I have found means to experientially move with the stuff that isn’t quite there. That is a huge revelation, it moves some of my facilitation/ coaching experience much closer to my practical artistic practice. It seems conceivable now.

In all this, I get flustered. I check the instructions in two coursebooks; they relate – kind of – to each other and yet they are different. I haven’t figured out their difference yet. I thought I had it when I started to produce new work: work that sits as hybrid between instruction, tool and art object. The maps thus move from instrumental form to potentiality – in a similar way as the Photocopier Manual did; as Parallel Praxis did as m(e)use | use me did. It seems expandable, workable as practice; and I begin to conceive of far more other forms – academic presentations – to become hybrid objects. (I of course know of the format of a performative lecture, yet: until now its experiential modality seemed alien to me; it seemed more of a naming convention than something inbetween).

What I get flustered with is the linearity of instruction which yet does not resolve. I realise at various points, and yet forget always again, that I am too literal. I try to follow the steps outlined and yet they don’t resolve for me. I want to be a good student and submit to the process but the process stands in my way. I am too literal. It is the literalness that I understand as culturally different–the reason why we are assumed to have no sense of humour. I remember the teasing that people who are close to me start to dare at one point or another once they hit upon that literalness, that naivety. I always recognise the emotional marker when I am being teased with it, it rarely registers otherwise: I still follow the instructions.

Yesterday morning I dare to write out which part of the instructions make no sense to me. I feel better. And yet: the Research and BoW themes don’t gel yet, I feel any differentiation between them is artificial and premature.

I go back to an early note about the theme of significance:

Three ideas (are maybe only one):
Body in movement (my body as drawing tool) >> starting theme for D2
Interdisciplinarity in Drawing practice >> the wider theme for the Critical Review (if the Jonas’ essay would have been 3500 words longer than what it was)
Production of space, the idea of reaching, touching a utopian spacetime aside the corridor (or, the latter intruding)

At night, I think about a project about touch, about contact

I think about the touch drawings, the pencils on long sticks that produce a nervous line while registering every stutter and stammer along the transmission from hand to paper surface.

It can include movement, the walking back and forth
It can include distance via digital circulation
It can include one to one performances

It is about private, about public,
Tenderness and violence 
Love and withholding.

— and I am certain it can also accommodate some institutional critique and a wide-open grassy field should I desire either.

From this, I propose:

the Body of Work: drawing / contact (modality, practice, site)

the Research: The site of interdisciplinarity in drawing practice

With these two related themes; BoW can explore all that is in the concept maps around Body as movement, Touch, Contact and Spatial Praxis: it will do so phenomenologically; I have the sense that theme can cover most of the quote above, while the Research/ dissertation then underpins some of this a research form that can explore conceptual forms, moves and potentiality; I hope that it will concern ideas of production of space/ site; utopian forms of hybridity and how this relates to institutional critique.

Both will likely become more narrow and yet it is a field, play ground laid out to start within, that picks up and relates all important things from before.

2 thoughts on “course instructions/ literalness”

  1. I’m not sure your being, ‘… too literal. I try to follow the steps outlined and yet they don’t resolve for me. I want to be a good student and submit to the process but the process stands in my way’ can be accounted for by a cultural difference. Most of the time our course materials drive me mad. I spend far too much energy nowadays getting wildly angry about them. I now simply question the overall quality of the materials writing. I think I’m now treating them like a poor recipe book – it’ll just about do?

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    1. Yes – fully agree in one respect: the courses don’t quite add up, and I needed to remember how I learned to read course materials and how to work with them productively. That aside, the literalness is an issue; and I also remember how I find the first assignments for each new module tricky. That there are two of them which are similar but don’t quite add up at this point isn’t helping. Also: they are just outlining, planning; and I realise I rather do and define as I go along: too much seems to be needed to be clarified too early on, which isn’t too helpful. But: I think I am beginning to see what I have for what the assignments are asking for.
      However: I also find there are realy gems within the coursebooks, so I tend to spend a fair bit of time with them too (and sometimes it’s not all that obvious as to what is precious in them, if that makes sense)

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