Sunday, July 4, 2021

Residency 2, Day 4: 'Like any artwork, things become richer if you know more about them; but I don't think that's crucial.' - Glenn Ligon

Been working on this film called Balling which I don't mind sharing. The visuals have been  adapted from materials I'd been asked to create by musician Joe Watson (of Stereolab etc.) to be projected whilst he performed his own new song Bat and Ball. More work will be done on it. Probably. Any thoughts welcome: Such a variety of ball games are played on the Atlantic Archipelago, and the objects associated with them (namely balls) are creeping into the process here.

Uillinn being empty today meant an opportunity to wander around in it, alone, and imagine how work in process will be finalised and then positioned. This blog will not reveal all, nor is it intended to but, safe to say, exciting progress is being made. It is a matter of what, and whether, structures can be sourced, or 'found' as I term it. The week ahead will involve attempting to answer these questions. Some trigonometry will be necessary. That's a hint. Think angles.

Personally I've not got too much interest in putting rectangular things on walls, especially in frames, but a few projections and use of screens will be inevitable. I am happy to use plinths, which the objection to framed pictures sounds inconsistent with. The problem is not to do with hung pictures being passé aesthetically though. Everyone has rectangular image-showing devices in their pockets already so it would seem silly to compete with those. But then why use screens or project in a formal art location at all, I hear you cry. Let's park this discussion for now.

Whilst 'institutional critique' was fashionable for a number of decades, and is unavoidable still, I'm interested in defending institutional structures, of particular sorts (the gallery, the project space, the studio, the art school, the plinth) and in particular ways (i.e. not forgetting the vast availability of space beyond the institution and other means of dissemination). My preference is to apply the mentality of the institutional critiquers to the world at large, rather than protesting too much about something which is probably relatively harmless i.e. rather than pretending to hate art like many needy artists do.

Some hate camping too but it can be enjoyable. I like when it rains but is dry inside. In this regard the tent from Lidl is working well. Great tip from the sister, whose answer to many questions is: 'They sell those in Lidl'. There are down sides to Le Camping for sure but also unexpected treats, not least the occasional instances of unintentional 'sousveillance'. Last night I overheard a long conversation outside my tent between two self-made tiger-economy type men, now in their late 40s, both working in HR, or more bluntly, recruitment. Their jobs seemed to mainly involve trafficking people from poorer countries to richer ones like Ireland. In roughly five decades of life, each had lost the likes of eyes and marriages, sustained painful injuries and been ill with pneumonia and so forth. At points the exchange echoed a famous scene from the movie Jaws. One was raised in serious poverty, the other had lost his father when young. Both had recovered from very different kinds of bad experience in education, and then come good so to speak. One had read Wild Swans and was waxing lyrical about that, the other is currently reading a Harry Potter book. Though neither had left their home towns in Laois and North Cork respectively - except contradictorily the former then revealed he had lived in France for a few years - they had travelled widely for work, leisure and adventure. The latter had even spent time camping in Siberia in the same tent he was now using here in West Cork. I noticed it earlier. The camouflaged, square-ish, person-high structure looks robust, though out of place near my Lidl job. These men were proud of their successes and achievements, their bodies of knowledge, and abilities to work with, and read, people and to psychologise. I wouldn't want to deny anyone those pleasures, and their words of wisdom were brilliantly entertaining. The play of the two strong respective local/regional accents, off each other, and the different turns of phrase, were beautiful to listen to. And beautiful is not a word to use often or lightly.

I could, maybe, have joined in but had, the day before, politely complained to the Cork fellow for running the engine of his diesel-powered BMW, near my tent, purely to charge a mobile phone. Increasingly people do this, so was I being Keith (pronounced 'Keeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeef') from Mike Leigh's early masterpiece Nuts in May? As it happens, the exchange of words we had was perfectly civil as indicated already, and I offered him my power-bank charger in return for stopping the idling engine. Nevertheless it felt awkward the next morning.

The wife of one of the two participated for a short time. She and the man who was not her husband had, at some point, done arts degrees and exchanged negative words about such courses for a bit. She then left the lads to boast their way into the late hours, over a few beers. They committed to doing business together in the future but I sense that was regretted in the morning. This was holiday bromance at its finest!

Some plans:

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