April 19, 2017

Indistinct instinct

On the cusp of a dream … I returned to Blaina and Abertillery, last night:

Berea (1991) 24 × 24, acrylic on board

9.00 am: Studiology. The challenge of ‘The Talking Bible’ [working title] project is twofold: the scale of the source material, and the absence of any topical or thematic steer through or focus to it. (The source, after all, represents every story, event, person, precept, law, prophecy, hymn, poem, and thing in the Judaeo-Christian scriptures.) Which is why the history, context, purpose, provenance, and medium of the recording are indispensable. Within this ancillary body of knowledge, conditioning or limiting ideas and principles will be found that offer pathways and structures.

Domestic analogue:

Having listened to Scourby’s date stamp at the close of his reading of the the Book of Genesis, I strongly suspect that (contrary to everything that I’ve read) the whole project was begun and concluded in July 1964. Therefore, I need to find out what went on in the world during that period.

I’ve no sense of the scale of the work, its divisions, beginning or end, or anything in between for that matter. At present, all I can do is play with fragments of sound (and continue digitising the records, in the background). Its rather like painting on a canvas of indeterminate dimensions and format — pushing a few small shapes around; observing which stick together; reordering, rejecting, and returning them; and doing the obvious, the unlikely and doomed to fail, and what I’ve done before (but, now, in a different context. (And context makes all the difference.)). Metre, repetition, pulse, superimposition, and a certain musicality are among the mainstay of my creative means.

11.10 am: I ventured into the School to retrieve a parcel. A printmaking workshop was underway. 11.30 am: Back at the mixing desk, I calibrated the ‘blind’ samples to a common metre, so that they can be synchronised. Polyrhythms abound.

2.00 pm: I synchronised several of the sample tracks. There was the beginning of something. These days, if I’m not struck forcibly by an outcome, it’s rejected … no matter how component the sound. Somethings are, now, for me, too easy to achieve. I need to be astonished, pressed harder, and challenged to exceed my best efforts.

7.30 pm: A poster for my May 1–2, 24-hour outing at the National Library of Wales needed to be begun.

In the period from the mid 80s to the mid 90s I drew, habitually, anything … in order to understand something. During the three years in which I undertook a PhD in Art History, the practice kept me ‘visual’ (as Greenberg used to say):

Self Portrait (1985) 14.5 × 9, pencil



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