Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Explorative

I think it is a strange, yet metaphorically telling, phenomena that we believe as a culture in things like exploratory surgery. We don't know what's wrong with you, but we are going to cut you open, look around, hope that we find something, and attempt to fix you. All of this could potentially make you worse, will undoubtedly be painful, and promises no results.

This is where I am in my artistic process. I have no choice at this point, either from a pragmatic or an artistic perspective, but to press on and keep trying to produce. This body of work is painful for me, has moments that are both caustic and liberating, and in the end has no defined affect. This may be a great and necessary catharsis that will ultimately lead to the revelation that I have been waiting for my whole life, and it may just leave me with fresh and large scars and a body of work that is simultaneously eerie and perky. (For the record, I do not desire to be either.)

But the other remarkable thing about this process is that a support system sometimes erects itself beneath your flailing limbs before you manage to tip over and fall. In the past several days alone I have been pointedly told that I am a worthwhile human being, given links to lectures on shifting perspective, shown presentations about painful yet beneficial regeneration, and been reminded that I am a photographer and that is my chosen form of expression.

The only trouble is that I am both surgeon and patient. Both curious and expectant, in control and vulnerable. But at least I can see all the encouraging glances from the waiting room - the crossed arms, the stoic nods, the nail biting, the steaming coffee - all from a group of people who care about me more than they care about what I am doing. My health and well being are paramount above my product, and the support is there whether I soar or stumble. It doesn't actually make the process easier, but it does make surviving it more plausible.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Soulless

Happy Valentine's Day

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Hmmm

Well, the committee has spoken. Rin has won out.

I still hate her. The only difference is that now I have to figure out why.

Which means spending lots and lots of time with her.

Will the irony never cease?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

What Really is the Purpose?

I am starting to wonder what the real purpose of an MFA program is. To one degree, it should be a sandbox, a place where you can try something new, expose it to your colleagues, get feedback and critiques, and grow - all without judgment. Criticism, sure, but not judgment. On the other hand, it is a limited time frame endeavor that ultimately asks a lot of the student in terms of graduation requirements and deadlines.

It seems to me that these two concepts are at odds with each other. How can you be expected to play without consequence when a very real consequence of inaction is looming in the very near future, nine months down the road?

I misspoke in class yesterday and started an uproar. What I said was that Rin was a project that I could complete, which is why it was worth doing. What I really meant with that, though, was that it is a clean concept that I think has the potential to make much larger statements that I can explore, write about, engage with, and complete. And yes, completion is a huge part of that. What I didn't mean to imply is "What the hell, I may as well do something..."

Oh boy. That is not in any way, shape, or form what I meant, but I understand the outcry. It is difficult to go through a process such as this and a million times more difficult to realize that the thing you really want to say, that thing that is burrowed deep in your subconscious, or boring its way into your marrow, is not something that you can get out on a deadline.

It isn't that I intend to stop pursuing all of these black demons, this murder of chaos and light, but instead that I am starting to feel the pressure that a project of that nature is a "personal time" endeavor. It doesn't make sense now. Not to me, not to anyone. It might not for years, decades. Unfortunately, I don't have years and decades and a focused concept is required in the next two weeks, sooooo....

I have my first meeting with my committee today. In some ways I think my honest approach to this reality isn't helping my cause. The cause being actually graduating with a project that I don't hate. Hate and want to burn. But, lying to myself or those who are guiding me is not my style. I hate lying. It is the ugliest thing about humanity and too often justified. So, I might be screwing myself over, but the honest to God truth of the matter is, I need a f@&king concept. Take it or leave it, I can't keep flitting around with no focus.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Back on Track

Okay, I suppose it is time that I started this up again.

First things first, my committee has finally been assembled. Hallelujah. That was a stress that I was not bearing well. There were so many uncertainties in my life that I needed some resolution and, thankfully, I at least found some here. So The Three have been determined and will now begin in the process of aiding my progression. No choice in the matter, sorry.

Second off, my progression is a thing of enigmatic ebbs and flows. Where last week I was shooting 100 birds for no particular reason other than it was loosely suggested, to this week's decision that my project should go in one of two directions, I have been torn in many directions. Now I am starting to find peace. I would be hypocritical to not admit some element of serendipity in all of this, and just plain rude not to admit that three of my classmates in a united effort drove me to one of the ideas. Herded might be more accurate. With whips and prods.

I am, of course, talking about Rin. Ah, Rin. She is a beautiful, crazy creation that I greatly fear says a lot more about me than I would like. Because I very specifically have characterized her as that which I am not, which is an impossible characterization. She is the things I hate most, so she is the dark side to my Demeter, the yang to my yin, most assuredly the truths that I wish would remain hidden. Damn her. And yet she is also a very clean concept. So clean, so raw that she has become an elegant solution to what ails me. She could very easily be a project.

The additional idea is an evolution of something I haven't shown you. I should, but there is a sense that I need a little more discretion with this one. Just for the time being. I have been so eager to share for so long, so eager for validation and approval, that I have unintentionally bastardized my process. For, more than anything, I am a private and introspective person. It is something I need to stew on a little more, germinate and bring to the surface before I share it with anyone, let alone the blogoshpere lurking behind every post.

Fear not, my loyal readers. I will let you in on all the secrets in good time. For in some ways I am only realized when my work is seen by someone other than myself.