Here are a few points that should illustrate most of where my mind is with this…
1 – I think the words history, word and all are perhaps not quite equally important parts of my title but the first two shouldn’t be forgotten. I’d chosen them before I chose the word all, after all. I sometimes feel like I’m making a project about absolutely everything. I’m not. It’s about the history of a word. I want to look at the word’s use and misuse, with a view to examining language in the process. A significant part of this is looking at the images and ideas that flood into people’s minds when they hear the word. Which leads me on to part two of this post.
2 – A few posts ago I put up lots of work by people like Boltanski, Gursky and Kiefer. They all work with big emotional brushtrokes. Though with all of them there’s space for other subtleties. They’re all very good at creating atmospheres in which the viewer can then sit and contemplate the ideas at hand in their own time. With Kiefer and Boltanski especially, absent things loom at you. I’m not sure how else you could talk about death and the holocaust. I think, on the surface of it, this is the key. But there need to be things under that surface that can be picked at. This is where Andy’s comment about depth becomes important. I’m warming to the idea of having the initial impression to be very streamlined. This is for the simple reason that it means I can get that broad brushstroke effect. I need something that people see and feel a bit mesmerised by. This can’t be all of the work, though. I must figure out ways of ‘hiding’ things, but pointing to them, so people know that they are there.
My thinking with the layering thing is that we don’t really experience the history of a word in a line, with one thing coming after another. When I hear the word all, whether residually or clearly, there are a lot of resonances. And I feel, see or hear them all at once. It’s as if the word is a complex multi-dimensional object. Part of it is very real and present, parts of it much less tangible. When we discuss the word they’re all there, though, those resonances. I’m interested in depicting this presence. I’ve spoken about this a bit in my blog post of the 4th February.
3 – Here’s the proper version of my proposal essay.
4 – We were asked to list times when things have been difficult so far. That would be now actually. There are a couple of things I need to grasp that are annoyingly out of reach at the moment of writing. One of these things is the fact that part of this project is about the way people bring their own histories to bear on the word they hear. I don’t know how to bring that into it, or even if that’s the point when the balance tips into the whole thing being about too much. When I think about it, I come back to the title of Wolfgang Tillmans exhibition though: ‘If One Thing Matters, Everything Matters’. All parts of the project matter. If I take anything out I lose part of everything else as well. Just for the record, a friend of mine told me this was relevant to Gestalt therapy, in which the present objects refer indirectly to the absent one.
I think mainly I just need to make some things. I have blogged and read for a long time. This has been good, but the time for making is upon me.
5 – One of my essay objectives was to learn more about Flash. This objective has been served by undertaking the building the bulk of www.purpleflame.com in November and December. At the start of working on this site my knowledge of Flash was sketchy. Now it’s pretty good, I think.
6 – The most useful moment so far has been having to write my proposal essay and the blog post I wrote while thinking that through, which is linked here: January 17th
7 – I’ve also read some books over the past few months:
– Cobley, P. Illustrated by Jansz, L. (1999), Introducing Semiotics, Cambridge: Icon Books Ltd
– Collins, J. Illustrated by Mayblin, B. (2005), Introducing Derrida, Royston: Icon Books Ltd
– Manovich, L. (2001), The Language of New Media, The MIT Press. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Cambridge, Massachusetts 02142 http://mitpress.edu. 0-262-63255-1 (NB – I’ve not read all of this one. I plan on
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