freeing up the brain
Even before joining the MFA program, just as an artist paying attention to the art world I felt certain kinds of pressures on my work. In art school the current canon is all the more palpable. My generation of artists (if they are to be considered proper Contemporary Artists) have the pressure to figure out their conceptual framework and justify their concept, use of materials, etc. before they even touch any material. It’s stifling. Sometimes the process informs the work through the material or the unconscious. This pressure to think through everything and justify everything stifles certain essential parts of the artistic process.
The project I took with me to Norway and Sweden this trip was an effort to shake some of this off. It was an impulse project. I started not knowing what I would do more than a few steps ahead and deliberately not trying to figure that out too hard.
It’s still unfolding, and it is a relief to have something unscripted, though deadlines are putting more pressure on me to resolve it quickly now that I’m back. Maybe that’s all it is for, maybe it turns into something I’m really happy with- we shall see. It looks like it will be the first project that involves sound for me.
Travel generally helps to shake out the rigid bit’s of one’s thinking a bit. I didn’t get in as much drawing as I would like, but I did get in a lot of walking and looking and just the movement of travel- planes, trains, buses… even reindeer. My brain feels flexible and open again where it had felt a bit squeezed a couple weeks ago.
On another note, I did see auroras on my aurora-hunting journey. A series of pale green and lavender ones, and one huge serpent of a thing arcing across the entire sky- pulsing and blazing. It was incredible. Riding back down from the sky station to the lights of the nature center below in the silence while pale auroras bloomed overhead was somehow even more precious. Silence that huge is a beautiful thing.