Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Thinking today about artistic vision. Probably because of the odd moment of laying out the Party Girl installation and recognizing that it's so obviously a rough draft. I can't explain why it's a rough draft, it just feels that way. Here's part of what I've set up so far:

I love the Marilyn Monroe poster, by the way. When it showed up, I had a moment of "oh, it's just too perfect a detail, can I actually use it?" The answer is, yes, I can. But this feels like a rough draft to me, like the way my text work feels when I finish a draft. It doesn't inhabit that alive space yet that finished work does.

I'm also thinking about vision because it's the writing assignment in the class for which I am a TA. We talked about it in class last week - which was nice. In my undergraduate program, God forbid we talk about anything like that, anything that smacked of what it takes to be a working writer. We were writing for art's sake and art alone. the professor threw out the question to the undergrads, "What's your artistic vision? How many of you know what it is?" Other than the prof, I was the only one who could raise my hand.

Vision is such a tricky thing to name for yourself (the prof asked if anyone wanted help naming their vision and two of my small group members were brave enough to ask - it proved surprisingly easy to think about what they've written over the course of the semester and say, "you're vision seems to be this" and give them a nice meaty idea to chew on. It's so much easier to read the instructions on the outside of someone else's box. I still wish someone would read the instructions on mine and tell me what it says.) The only reason I'm able to articulate it is because of the application I wrote for the residency. It made me take a look at everything I've written and articulate what my vision is so that I could then say, "And here's what I want to do with my time at the dump."

What I realized about my vision is I am, and have always been, questioning the creation of identity. How do we become what the world knows? And creation of identity through the narratives we tell about ourselves and the world around us. We are storytelling creatures and we try to fit the stories we tell into the narratives we know - the rags to riches story of success, for example (how many Presidents have framed their personal history in this way?) We pick and choose the details and, in the telling of the story to ourselves and others, create the identity through which the world knows us.

Which brings me back to why Party Girl feels like a draft. It's just a collection of stuff at the moment. Party Girl doesn't live there yet. It doesn't embody my questions about identity and how we create the story. It will. By the time May 15th rolls around, it will.

And here, in case anyone is questioning my use of the word "container" when I talk about my studio space, is a picture of my container.

It really is a shipping container like you see on freighters. And, thank God, the heat wave has broken. It will no longer be a sweat box, so I can get back to work.

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