WALKING IN DIFFERENT WAYS OF SEEING.
Somehow, this title is difficult to understand, but once I can explain what the project consists in, I´m sure the word game will be understood.
While trying to go back and see where this idea comes from, I discover it´s very intertwined with many other experiences, although this particular form of the experiment came to me while I was in Vienna last June.
I have a very special connection to this city and have spent a lot of time there. I´m fully aware how biast I must be, to always seem to see the good parts of it.
Anyhow, this time, for some reason, (probably because I was happy to continue working in my studio in Ibiza and didn´t really “need” to travel there and had no working materials with me) when I arrived and went walking in the city, I saw it all looking dirty. People looked unhealthy, and overall I had quite a negative impression. What also added to this was the heat wave that makes me useless.
The next day, same thing happened, same impressions. So this time I thought I needed to stop and see why this was happening, I suspected it was more to do with me and my perception, than the city itself.
I sat down in a café and started downloading all these impressions in my booklet, analysing and comparing my past experiences with this one.
I came to the clear conclusion that it was me. I wasn´t in the mood to just be on holiday and do nothing, when I preferred to be painting in my studio.
I was once again confronted with this feeling I hate of absurdness and pointlessness. I know this, and find ways to put myself in these situations to train myself to tolerate it. But there is a quicker part to me that always finds a plan to fits both my interest in tolerating doing nothing and my neverending urge to engage in interesting projects.
The idea that came to me this time, was to walk in the city with no plan, defined direction or purpose. Looking at the streets beyond their content, as if I was from another planet and had never seen it before.
While walking, try and look at it all from a fresh point of view, as if I had never known the use and context of each of the elements. As I had this idea I returned to the concept of a labyrinth. Life lived in the Labyrinth, as we take choices and move through it.
I suddenly conceived an experiment for a large painting. The painting as such would only have one initial idea to work on once the smudges were on the canvas.
I´d have to work it into being a labyrinth, but not in a traditional sense, just keep the concept in mind as being a space one can move through being limited by the walls of phenomena we perceive.
This painting, (or more than one if needed) will be the visual support that I hope can reflect a mind changing exercise I want to practice on myself for approximately one year.
Every day I will work on this piece I will first go on a walk for an hour with no purpose other than train myself to see what I already know, as if I had never seen it before. Then when the time is up, sit down and write in my booklet about everything that I felt and perceived that I can remember, whether it is relevant, interesting or boring.
Write it all down with no judgement. Who knows if I might find any sense in it later. After I´m done with the writing is when I can get down to the painting of this panel.
I don´t intend to paint what I have just experienced, or illustrate it directly. I hope to have expressed it all in the writing. Once empty, I can just paint with no intention again. Listen to music as I do usually and just let it happen.
See what occurs.
Since I came up with this idea I have been practicing it regularily.
It immediately changed my perception of the city, while in Vienna. It was no longer unpleasant or lovely, it became different and interesting.
I spent hours walking in this way.
Some days were easier to do than others.
Some days I kept getting distracted all the time by whatever I was seeing and thinking in normal ways.
It has been similar to keeping the discipline of meditation. Every time I was back on the old way I had to correct my attention and keep focused. I found that listening to music in my headphones was a very good way of keeping a distance with the surrounding.
Music helps me see it all from a different point of view. I used a lot of Marconi Union tracks, Brian Eno, Robert Rich.
Some days I just heard one track in a loop for one whole hour, just to not change the mood.
I have walked though well known streets, new streets, in Vienna and in Ibiza.
I have also done it while sitting in a park, a café or in the tube.
On days I have trouble concentrating I find starting off by siting is an easier way. There is more control over an image that is somehow fixed. When moving though space, things don´t last so long to keep the attention on.
I originally thought this might be an interesting to have an MRI test done at the beginning of the year and then a second one at the end of it and see if there would be any tangible evidence of change. I haven´t yet found collaboration and I am not fully convinced it might be necessary.
As this experiment is only practiced on one individual the scan doesn´t seem to be worth trying.
If anyone who reads this blog and follows some of the experiences I describe thinks this work might be of use to any other study, I am very willing to hear about it´s details and quite probably would like to take part, if it compliments this work in any way.
To follow this ongoing process please visit:
Some details of the process of this painting…