I thought that perhaps the solution to the ash flocking piece was to just do more.
A different possibility emerged whilst listening to Gregorian chants during music class. Drawing whilst listening I came up with this solution to the composition. It bares no visible likeness to Medieval music and in fact its syncopated chaotic ups and downs and its polyphonic patterns seem more Jazz like, but in some loose way my expanding knowledge of music is providing a pathway to opening up methods of patterning. I was excited about re-working the design and rushed back to the studio to start masking, painting, drawing and radical destruction.
Out came the white paint and I began erasing sections of the pattern and then... there it was, the problem had not been the design or composition of the work but the work itself. Whilst painting over the flocking I began thinking about the Wabi Sabi idea of all things 'emerging from and disappearing towards nothing' and I found a comfort in the possibility that the ash flocking was being erased before it was finished and that this process of erasure was a process of construction, so i kept painting, covering the wall and trapping the work between the wall and new layer of paint. It was there but dissapearing towards not being there.
The pursuit of contact actually occupied an entire day. Having decided to start my work all over again due to the crappiness of the barely sticky contact, I thought that I could go out, pick up some more, spend another day or so transferring the drawing and I'd only be 2 days behind. It turned out that in all of Manhattan not a single Office or School supply store, Target, Kmart or any other Megamart or Art store had contact. Towards the end of the day as night was already near I located a stationary supply store at Columbia University. As with so many distractions in NY I didn't mind the detour. I like to walk around college campuses, they feel so full of possibility and wonder and brilliance. All those smart people in one place - its dangerously exciting.
Standing in the queue at the stationers I noted the tweedy professors and the mix of international students buying blank notebooks in which I imagined big ideas would soon emerge from there big brains. It reinvigorated thoughts about my own thesis, or at least my own desire and ability to complete my thesis. At the cash register I handed over my supplies and was rudely stripped of my idealistic musing about knowledge when I was told that if I 'Liked' the stores facebook page I could get 15% off. Great I want 15% off... but I don't know how to 'like' a page. I leaned across the counter, lowered my voice and confessed my deep ignorance to the cashier (careful not to pollute the atmosphere around the other highly intellectual beings). "Sorry Mama, I don't know, I just work here". I turn to a woman behind me, showed her my phone and ask for assistance. She didn''t know how to use the fb mobile app. The next person didn't speak English well. And pretty soon my romanticism about University campuses was clubbed to death by the reality that there is so much to learn and learning is an awkward and slightly embarrassing activity requiring you to first have to confess what you do not know. Sadly I had not absorbed any knowledge by strolling around the hallowed halls of neo-classical colleges or the large domed library. I had learned a lesson the Rumsfieldian way - clumsily and without a trace of elegance or eloquence.
"There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know." D. Rumsfield
I started with a drawing.
I traced the drawing onto lengths of contact.
I stuck the contact to the wall.
I began cutting away the pattern to make a very large stencil.
The contact then started peeling itself off the wall.
I walked around the corner to the worlds largest art supply store - 5 floors!- and had a lengthy discussion with the glue department - on the 5th floor.
I brought a temporary spray adhesive and started the processes again with no improvement. I think it's the heat, the hissing knocking radiators which make this studio positively balmy, are softening the glue/s. I tried anyway to flock the wall. This requires a plastic bottle with a hole in it, which you squeeze in quick repetitions, like CPR, to exhale the ash in the bottle into a puff into the wall. Its very unpredictable, but not usually as abysmal as today's results.
Like I said its just the beginning.
A week passed. It just went by. 7 days like that and what have I done? Not enough, not nearly enough. The days got stolen from me and I have let them. Meandering around our neighborhood and catching up with friends and 'settling in'. Seriously - settling in! This is not what you do in NYC, you don't arrive and let some stationary and sedimentary non-action take its own time with you, you don't suspend yourself patiently waiting for your previous life to stop rushing over into the whirl pool of your new life. You don't softly softly ease into NYC as if you are lowing yourself tentatively into a cool pool of water, pausing to brace yourself against the shock of it, waiting for your body to adjust. No no no - you dive in!
So a week passed and I realised I had not made a single list. There is no time to explain this irrationality and uncommon behaviour, I'm moving this snowplough of life forward. So first things first -J made us a calender. Now, rather than leaving our we-should-do-that-intentions in front of billboards and subway posters and in copies of Time Out and mixed up among conversations, we can lock it in Eddie.
Secondly I made a list, documenting what we had done since we arrived. And then I crossed everything off the list. So satisfied. It went like this:
- Cocktails with the Missy family at Dorothy Parker and the Round Table groups Algonquin Hotel.
- Lace show at The Met
- Brooklyn Museum of Art - Most extensive collection of Conceptual art work I've seen.
- Day trip to Philly - Museum of Art to see Cunningham, Cage, Rauschenberg, Johns work in realtion to Duchamps 'Bride Stripped Bare...' inc Cunningham dance piece and Film on there collaborations
- Shoe shopping
- One whole day at Century 21 shopping for winter
- Exhibition opening and Schmoozing at Australian Consulate
- Food shopping, which required assistance and advice from a Homeless man on how to navigate the subway with a trolley
- Watched 4 episodes of Girls and 3 episodes of Newsroom, while I recovered from a bug
- Started Tai Chi
- Practiced Tai Chi walking across the acres of studio space
- Dinners, lunches, and coffee with various friends
- Art material sourcing in the Garment District, J found my special pins that I cant buy in Aust
- $10 Martinis at our local
- Watched creative developement of several contemporary dance pieces
- Got 70% off at Body Shop - Lipstick $4!
- Various landmark sightings
- Finished drawing for first installation
- Recieved exhibtion offer from Chashama
- Rearranged houseplants, then reaaranged whole loft
- Did a little dance
- Had Aust. Council director over for coffee - nice bloke
- Bumped into Aust Attorney General on subway
- Long conversation with our Chinese landroumat about our smalls
- Surrvived a burgulary attempt on our building
- Grew a beard
- Lied awake listing to our frieght elevator and heaters knocking all night
- Slept in
- Waited for snow
- Walked in our door everyday and went - WOOOOOW this loft is amazing