Throughout the MA I have continually asked what my work is about. The answer keeps evolving over time. It was about my wife’s illness, then it was about my emotions during this time and then artistically expressing existence and experience of things contingent to me. In this moment it becomes about experience and the evolution of memory. What was live when I lived it is now packaged up in some form of memory. I kept seeking the right answer.
Yesterday I listened to Ben Smith’s Small Voice (Smith) podcast interview with Andy Sewell. Everything dropped in to place. Andy talked about his latest project Known and Strange Things Pass. As he described the process by which his ideas evolve it sounded exactly like the process I am going through with my project. Sewell looks and looks again at everything around him. His projects The Heath and Something Like a Nest are deep reflections on what can be seen in what might at first seem uninteresting places. He has to trust that at some point as he progresses his ideas he will be satisfied with what he has and can create a work to be shared.
Sewell also makes the point that there is no correct way for a viewer to experience and understand work he puts out. He feels his work is ready and in a form that he thinks captures the subject he is working on and will stimulate viewers in many ways. The intent of my work is to give an audience an experience in which their emotions are heightened. If this resolves something for them or moves them forward then my work has achieved its aim.
In Known and Strange Things Pass (Sewell) is again looking closely at something that is every day and familiar and shows that it is not. The internet and everything we accept at the centre of our lives is held together by very thin fibre connecting continents under the sea.
Eugine Shinkle describes the work thus ‘It’s about the immediacy of touch and the commonplace miracle of action at a distance; the porosity of the boundaries that hold things apart, and the fragility of the bonds that lock them together. It’s about a reality in which everyday existence is shored up by an immense, labyrinthine instrument devised by us, but grown into something that we no longer fully understand.’ (Shinkle)
Throughout life everyone experiences a full range of emotions. We like the happy ones partly as a contrast to the difficult ones. What we all want to know is that we will survive bad times and have happy times again. For some this does not happen and that is a fear for all of us. My work is developing in this space and I did not believe I would again get to the state of happiness I am currently in. My project is relating an experience that almost killed me and is now evolving in the form of a memory. A year ago I could not believe I would feel as positive as I do now and now I cannot feel what it was like a year ago. I quote Shinkle again as he expresses this so well ‘It’s about a reality in which everyday existence is shored up by an immense, labyrinthine instrument devised by us, but grown into something that we no longer fully understand.’ (Shinkle)
I struggled to create the time to write this as my to do list is pressing against me in the limited time left. I just had to put it down as it really Andy’s words really hit a sweet spot for me.
SMITH, B. 2020. 139 Andy Sewell. [online]. Available at https://bensmithphoto.com/asmallvoice (Accessed Oct 18th, 2020)
SEWELL, A. 2020. Known and Strange Things Pass. [online]. Available at http://www.andysewell.com/known-and-strange-things-pass (Accessed Oct 19th, 2020)
SHINKLE, E. 2020. Andy Sewell Known and Strange Things Pass [online] Essay by Eugénie Shinkle Available at https://www.1000wordsmag.com/andy-sewell/ (Accessed Oct 19th 2020)