Sunday, December 26, 2010

Between the studio and the library

My fascination and exploration of this medium has me thinking about the place it has in the creative process. It can be viewed as a blank tablet upon which to write, draw, share visual images and do it all rather quickly, while reaching a great number of people by sharing. But is this place really a part of the creative process? Is this place of digital communication, this corporate-sponsored stadium array of billboards more fundamentally a place where one can bring a creation to share?

The creation must happen somewhere else; a place, a page, a canvas, a studio, a dance floor, upon a material, a building site, a stage, a set, a blank screen, a piece of paper, a bolt of fabric, an instrument; where the body blends and attempts to interfere with a material in some way; pen strokes on paper, fingers on strings, hands on clay, applying fire on metal, cutting then reassembling fabric, forcing air into ones throat to make sounds, moving feet, hands on a brush dipped in colored ooze applying it on a surface, transforming things that grow using heat and cold, breath and body applied to an instrument built by hands.

For me, it’s easy to be drawn to the screen and easier to plunge into this rich sea of information and imagery. At a young age I learned to enjoy libraries. I read and while reading realize I want to read more.

Artists are teaching me to use the studio in my imagination as well as the physical place of studio, that place where imagination confronts emptiness; the blank, raw material of the whatever. Between the studio and the library lies a vast interesting space, a long bright chute with colors, sound, aromas, advertisements, couches for lounging and absorbing it all for a time. But I’m learning how to stay longer in the studio and appreciating the fear and hesitation there. That’s it’s not always a place, but a state of mind, how one can be away from one’s instrument and still compose and sometimes even when one wishes to stop composing, the imagination says, no, I’m not quite finished with that yet.

Slipping this series of words into the new slot, no envelope, no postage required, note to self first, realizing that a few of the possible readers are the ones who helped me write this in the first place. People with studios and people whose life is making the library, the stage, the screen, the theatre, the building, the restaurant; places of collective creation to which artists bring their solitary studio imaginings to the eyes, ears, nostrils, taste buds and hands of an audience.

This place between the studio and library; the commercially-interrupted conduit, this place where we share the announcement of that art is a good place, too. This incredibly connected immediate place of awareness and choice, promises, and enticing invitation, this long swift stream of tributaries between the source and sea, this wild ride down rapids, twists and turns, between melted ice, single crystals, minerals, strands of fiber, waves, pulses of air and the symphony on the other side. Perhaps too simplistic to think in that way, but it strikes me as a way of thinking about how to dedicate time spent in the studio, the library, and this space in between. We need the commercials to sell tickets, get to the library, theatre, gallery, watch and listen to the audience, sustain our studio, feed our brains, strengthen our bodies, gather more materials, so that we can imagine, empty, and once again realize that we have no idea what we’re doing.

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