Writing my way to an end
PM00000010000003430 15: 2012 § 1 Comment
The idea really came to me the day I got my new false teeth. George Orwell Coming Up for Air 1939.
It’s saturday morning, three days before we are to meet at The Greenwich Gallery and discuss HOME. I have no idea how this discussion is to go, what its content will be, what will emerge from it if anything, what coming together will generate so I’ll concentrate now on what comes from the threads that I’ve woven together into ‘do-able’ ideas.
These are the threads so far:
:: the 40s/50s HOME; the HOME in which I grew up; the HOME that consisted of hand-me-down-and-cobbled-together furniture items, post-war utility kitchen tables and chairs, presents of linen, table cloths, serviettes (or should it have been napkins?), handmade armchair covers; flock wallpaper, turned-around carpets and rugs; the aspirations of under-threat lower middle-class; the standing army of Lower Binfield.
:: the idealised HOME; the home to which the lower middle-class aspired; the small semi in Beckenham, up the hill from Croydon Road; the small detached in Petts Wood east of the railway line; Shortlands at a pinch; something pre-war but with space for a twin-tub
:: living at HOME; with mum and gran in the corner shop; text pictures; re-worked album snaps; Picture Post/Illustrated/Daily Mail/Radio Times repros; knitting patterns; advertisements; collage, overlays, montage, modelling
:: current HOME; collections, comforts, arrangements, historical associations & recreations; prominence of literary, artistic, musical features of my life; hoarding; personal historical references; representations & remembrances
I also made the following brief notes-to-self:
:: google maps > the comparision between the homely home & the manufactured home :: approaches to remembrance :: the contrast between the preservation/enshrinement of a memory & a swiftly downloaded one
:: partick keiller > distributed remembrances etc
:: a collection of images that have the same ‘value’ in that one can choose the whole collection or one or none > exploring ‘none’
These threads are comfort zones. They form a body of work ideas that I’ve addressed in other pieces over the last ten years or more [‘Déjà vu all over again’] but …
I am a hoarder. That might come in useful; I could make something of that; I’ll put those together sometime and see what comes of it; That reminds me of …; I knew that would turn up sometime. This stuff will be thrown out when I die. Why on earth did he keep this. Even the ‘revelatory’ stuff will be passed over. We haven’t got time to read through all this. Dump it. So …
I’m led to thinking that a return to the archive doesn’t have to be a Spice Girls/Led Zep Let’s reform the band and do the 02 moment. Everything that I have in my flat is a re-presentation of re-building a HOME which emphasises the ‘re-’ part.
I’d already begun photographing objects, combinations of objects, juxtapositions of objects and text but the result was too instrumental, too intent on promoting a suggested personal connection that I wasn’t bold enough to proclaim, too much of a tease.
I moved on to consider mounting objects, the making of boxes, methods of attachment but too redolent of surrealists in exile.
I consulted my notes made over ten years ago from Marianne Hirsch’s Family Frames to remind myself of Jo Spence’s Putting Myself in the Picture and her co-edited Family Snaps: The Meaning of Domestic Photography but I’d already visited these matters in a previous presentation. However, the idea of the ‘photo not taken’, of the ‘absences within the photo’ still hold value for me.
Last night I recalled Wolfgang Tillman’s exhibition a few years back at the Serpentine Gallery and how it made a commentary on representations of photography, of the photograph and the ‘hierarchy’ of photographic images.
The idea of the archive as commentary, as representational, as hierarchical is my current HOME direction with a view to a piece that makes no commentary and is non-hierarchical.
Thus, the piece will be untitled and without commentary. It must also be distributed and unrelated. I relinquish ownership of it. It may not be displayed. It needs more [or less] than this.
This idea may morph in the making of it.