With such different CODA works to start from, I’m running three concurrent projects and am in danger of disappearing up my own bum. Mentor Roseanne Bartley urges me to pause and get my bearings. It’s time to reflect, to find the common thread. Use the blog, she says…
Failing as a digital nomad
Late in 2017 I returned to England for 2 years. It didn’t seem such a big deal: my reasons were compelling, plus: time flies, it’s so easy to stay in touch nowadays, etc, etc.
Straight after leaving NZ I wanted to demonstrate that online connectivity renders location/geography immaterial, and that art need only exist as a virtual entity; after all, it’s common for us to know works only by their digital image. Cue Necklace for the Post-Truth era, a website url and instagram hashtag, for Superpositions in Sydney:
My plan was to string a ‘bead’ online each day over the 24-days of the gallery show. However, life in the virtual realm did NOT go well for me. I’m famously a slow and reluctant writer, so each post entailed hours at my laptop. My sore hands flared up and I resented the isolation from my household. Worse was the sense of exposure: after each post came a compulsion to check for ‘likes’, even through the night, a craven need for affirmation from afar. Separated from my jewellery tribe and without any engagement with physical materials I experienced the project as progressive alienation. I ground to a halt, paralysed after only 16 days, with, fittingly enough, the Eclipse.
Owning it, then…
Clearly, to be sustainable, the activities of my art life must enrich, rather than impoverish the quality of my actual life. For my well-being I need to engage in activities that:
- spark connections between myself and others
- involve day-to-day engagement with a process and materials that bring me pleasure
So, despite the apparent anomalies between my three projects for CODA, they share common origins; they have grown from my situation here. Being far from home and feeling the distance has provided the context that has been impetus, hindrance and inspiration for the work.