Archive for June, 2008


‘Never betray the way you’ve always known it is’- The Shins

A large part of my empirical research is the creation of three immersive installations with a very large, very definable aural component. The first installation that has been referenced on this blog is ‘Room 1’, is the trickiest for a number of reasons. Foremost it’s the first one, it sets a tenor for how the research will actively be conducted and collected. Up to this point it’s all speculation and guesswork, so there is an inherent fear in abstract mark making and a sense of broad statements and first impressions. I have made work throughout my time doing research but nothing equalling this scale in terms of implications towards the research and my practice in general. I would say there is probably a touch of fear, but that’s not the most paralysing aspect.

Room 1 is based on very specific instances I had staring at about 7 years old until I stopped living with my parents. In my bedroom at their house between the bed and the window is where I learned to love music, not just love music but I cultivated a sense of escapism by sitting in this space on the floor bathed in a waning winter light listening to tunes with my headphones on creating new contexts and spaces for myself within the music and my own head. When I go to visit them I often return to this space and recapture something I have known intuitively forever but can’t explain.

The lack of a language within which I can further describe and or explain the experience is the impetus for the work, duh I totally get that. However, it’s one thing to experience something and be able to call upon it within it’s own given context, it’s another thing to create it such an experience and context utilising memory and intutition.

I am not creating Room 1 in the mirror image of my childhood bedroom; rather I am using my room, as a footprint for size and layout, what I am calling upon is my experiences and feelings. How did sitting there in that room, with that weak waning grey blue light make me feel? Well, melancholic and yearning for something else. What I find problematic is that my ineffable experiences generated by installation have for the most part been rather positive and uplifting, my tears in Robert Irwin were tears of joy or I associate them as such. But when I am creating work I am looking towards the melancholy and the creation of the indefinable but very present sense of being uncomfortable. Within the cannon of the sublime there is equal weight associated with what we might contextualise as unpleasant as much as more pleasant situations.

I think that the issue is that I’m the emotional blueprint and part of me wants to protect 8 year Alex, but part of me understands that it’s not exploiting rather borrowing, and everything is different because this isn’t my room or me sitting underneath that window. Rather this is my work, it’s a room I have custom built, there are no old memories, I didn’t live in it rather it’s a new context, so within that comes a freedom but there is also the issue that I am relying on a memory a sense of something in the past to guide to me. Is that a factor I want to place in to the sound, nostalgia? A nostalgia for what or whom, to me nostalgia implies some sort of narrative and detracts from the viewer being present if they are occupied in the past. This is kinda of me just writing to figure stuff out, so I apologise if it’s a bit of a crap read.

The space for me as a kid was about escaping the melancholic and the creeping sense of anxiety, but I am choosing to invert the experience and try and produce those feelings. Is that really what I want to do?

I am going to leave this open ended and probably readdress this 100 times between now and when it’s gets finished but it’s probably useful to have a think but now I gotta make something.

Listened to:
The Shins
Smashing Pumpkins
Sonic Youth


Bring da motherfuckin Ruckus….

Hey dudes, what’s up?

The last couple of entries on this thing have been weak. When I started doing this research blog I was told not to be to loose and write in a stream of consciousness style because it makes it hard to analyse that kind of data. But I am curious what then point is the point of a reflexive research journal if not to be reflexive? Looseness is just as much a part of the process as informed thoughts and ideas.

At this stage of the research I am both acting like a highly qualified PA to myself and an artist: organising funding applications and making sure I finish my ethics committee forms and making the work that will produce the data. Aspects of both the PA and the artist head-spaces aren’t supernatural -they don’t always produce a lot of food for thought if you will.

I think the thing is doing a PhD is about the chase and the race. I am looking for information I know is out there but I am not necessarily sure what that is. At the same time I am running a marathon of sorts. Trying to stay focused and interested in my subject and not let the sunshine or sinful delights pull me asunder. But it’s complicated.

I am aware of the whinging factor that can be associated with this. I mean what I am doing is a pretty cool thing. I know that, but I am mired in the petty bullshit that comes along with it. It’s like dating someone for a long time. Some days you like seeing them, and some days…

I aim to write something that’s a bit more research focused, but this is how it is for me today, it has nothing to do with the ineffable and everything to do with the minutia.

Listen to This:
The Black Keys-Attack and Release
Lil Wayne- The Carter III
M83- Saturdays=Youth
The Avalanches-Since I Left You
The Wu Tang Clan-Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)