Speech and Urgency

Tomorrow is Friday. Friday may not mean anything to you but to me it means having to talk about my work in class. This is hard to do. Surprisingly I do it with ease online in spite of you having never seen it. Let me show you.

Web perf Draw

So that is the latest one.

This is my performative drawing. I call it 5’4″ and Growing… because I’m five foot four inches and not clever. It was made by covering the wall in willow charcoal. It’s soft and dusty. I choked and got a bit of  a nosebleed. Next time I’m wearing a mask. After all of that effort I pressed my body against it. Careful and worried about having to colour it in a second time. I used at least 50 sticks. I repeated pressing myself against it and it was beautiful but it wasn’t quite performative. So I rolled myself over it! Over and over! The object was to remove charcoal using just my body but it also just became very beautiful and lovely. So tomorrow I’m not sure what to say about it.

I enjoy the work because it all relates back to my physical body and what it can do or chooses to do. The figure, the marks, even the height of the drawing are all compared to me. The charcoal only goes as high as my arms could reach and the absence of charcoal is from where my skin made contact with the wall. Right now these experiments remind me of how little we understand or are aware of our own bodies. I feel much bigger than I am. I feel like my presence takes up an entire room and yet on the wall I notice how small I am. Especially when someone else stands next to them.

I find the work very intimate because it’s me. It’s also multi-sensational; it involves various senses throughout it’s production. The sound of the charcoal against the wall, the sound of my sneakers squeaking as I spin, or the feeling of being coated. I have also eaten and huffed a lot of charcoal by now. While I can talk about all these things I don’t know what is most important or what other people see in it without me speaking.

5’4″ and Growing isn’t violent or sexual to me like the one across from it.

web copy wall

Maybe it’s because this one is wet. Or looks wet. The energy is very different too. This one is more experimental. Maybe the eccentric reads as violent to me. This one felt more aggressive to draw. I used compressed charcoal and less willow, I focused more on the impact of my body. I wet it and ran my hands down it. I pressed my face into it as the water dripped. In every way I wanted to intimately engage with the work and to maintain a bizarre relationship with the wall. So much so I couldn’t work with my prof watching…

I see now I have a lot to say about both but nothing definitive that I feel needs to be said. Nothing yet with urgency. I find this blog has a sense of urgency to me though. I write it nearly as soon as I get home and carefully consider each word and phrase in relationship to the larger picture. I’m learning to talk broadly enough to be understood and with the specificity to interest those in the practice.

I will dutifully report to you all again tomorrow! Until then let me know how you feel about each of the drawings. I will put up more soon!

P.S. The feature image is my tub after today’s work.


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