Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Structure, plans & writing

“In the same way as a word can be the germ of a poem, so texture, form, or chance often decide the direction…” p38 Jordi J. Clavero, Fundació Joan Miró: Guide of the Foundation

I started my residency at the Gorman House Arts Centre on Sunday 10 August by writing a plan, a plan of what I’ll do each day. This follows on from the residency proposal, a plan which I put together for the application; and there are longer term designs which this residency fits within. I do like planning. Late last week I discussed with a friend and fellow artist the utility of planning, we both have plans and use different types: the conceptual largely consumed by artistic conceit; operating which assists with artistic practice; and specific for creating a piece or running a show. We were both positive about them, they’ve helped us be part of successful events and publications in and outside the Australian Capital Territory.

The use of plans was brought further into focus last week by another interaction. I am part of a writing group, we meet weekly in Civic shopping centre and each session work through writing exercises. The exercises include free writing, interactive concept generation, and character and scene building. We’ve got a good range of participants and at its best a session cycles through 1) breaking down barriers; 2) working the imagination; 3) developing concepts; 4) generating content; and 5) refining writing; this is all focused on building confidence and writing strength among participants, it is strongest when operating regularly and built on people also writing separately.

Interacting with these layers of writing exercises and structure is a chaos that comes from group dynamics. Sometimes I guess where another writer is going but mostly a session finds hidden lane-ways and ambushes. But last week I was caught by an effort to structure the writing by applying a particular metre as the starting point of an exercise. I struggled with that and I’ve thought about why. Writing for me is an opportunity for the imagination and having that constraint felt like a trial. I dealt with it by writing about the metre in its simplest terms, this writing wasn’t particularly creative but grounded in resisting the structure. I am still struggling with the idea of the tool as end point, but maybe letting form dictate can lend itself to better writing.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

The Queensland Poetry Festival

Poet David Stavanger interviewed me in the lead up to the Queensland Poetry Festival (QPF) 2014. I enjoyed the breadth of the questions and the reference to David Byrne’s interview of himself. This is the David Byrne interview.
I have three performances at the festival, they come under the QPF provided titles of Jungle of Drums, Night Uncurls its Palm and The Unknown Future of Everything. I set all these under the line “Do you know my poetry?” From the film Dead Man, which has been informing the structure of the manuscript I have been working and has the working title of for all the veronicas (the dog who staid).
I like titles and names. Read the interview on the QPF website, and check out David Stavanger’s new book The Special published by University of Queensland Press.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Art, industry, architecture & pets

The New River Gorge Bridge
My poem Art, industry, architecture & pets has been published on the website for zine series Today, the voice you speak with may not be your own. The poem is a response to issue 2 of the series, the Architecture issue.

Today, the voice you speak with may not be your own is run by Pascalle Burton. You can purchase the Architecture issue, as well as other issues online.

This is how Pascalle describes the publications, ‘The zine series…. Includes poetry and art consisting of the words, images and concepts of others – think found poetry, collage and Oulipo inspired pieces.”

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Visiting the Joan Miró Foundation

Joan Miró’s Paysage (Landscape) is my favourite artwork in the National Gallery of Australia.
This painting has always linked to my childhood experience of watching Italian animation series La Linea (The Line) on television.
The show seemed to appear randomly, I never thought to seek it out through the television guide.

I don’t think the La Linea and Miró’s works are artistically similar, rather it is the concept of creation from a simple line that has my mind automatically link the two. In the animation I had the illusion of an instant imaginative creation, and when I first saw Paysage in the NGA with its long lines it made my imagination work. I think for me the connection between the two is this creation from simple lines, La Linea is a demonstration and Paysage goes further by making the imagination work.

Visiting the Joan Miró Foundation was a big deal to me in July of 2013. I had no concept of the artist past the art. During that first visit I spent most of my time in the temporary exhibition Joan Miró. Printmaking. That time spent provided a depth of insight into Miró’s creative process. The exhibition followed his engagement with printmaking, particularly during the years spent in France as the Spanish Civil War was fought and lost. His artwork during this period dealt with his outlook on the conflict. From what I remember and the notes I took, much of the work exhibited constituted sketches or black line paintings and lithographs. Some of the work that appealed most to me were these black line works.
La Juene Fille (The Young Girl)
This year, after managing to finally visit the second floor and walk through the entire Foundation, I feel like some of the most interesting and exciting works that push my imagination into high gear were in that temporary exhibition.

A poem, The Sun Eater, Catalonia, 17 July 1936 to 17 July 2013, Miró and Picasso, which is forthcoming in The Grapple Annual is my response to that first visit and my visit to the Picasso Museum during the same week in Barcelona in July 2013. The poem was started while walking through the temporary exhibition last year and finally finished just after this second visit to the Foundation.
Painting (The White Glove)
In the Foundation Miró is quoted as stating that his artwork is a starting point for the imagination.

I am in Paris now, I took the TGV fast train from Barcelona to Paris. I fell asleep watching sunny dry Catalan countryside zoom past to the sounds of the Transistor soundtrack. I woke up to the sounds of Lume as I passed small French towns as well as farms that alternated white cows with fields of orange sunflowers.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Into the autonomous community of Madrid

“If you give meaning to certain things in my paintings it may be very true, but it is not my intention to give this meaning. What ideas and conclusions you have got I obtained too, but instinctively, unconsciously. I make the painting for the painting. I paint the objects for what they are.” – Pablo Picasso

I went to Madrid for four days last week. Most of that time was spent in the Prado museum and the Reina Sofía museum with Amanda.

I sent a few postcards after the visit. One of the Sunken dog (Perro Semihundido) and one of The Execution of Torrijos and his companions at Málaga Beach (El fusilamiento de Torrijos y sus compañeros en la playa de Málaga). Those are two of my three favourite paintings. The third is Guernica and I didn’t feel like sending a postcard of that one.

Sunken Dog was painted by Goya onto the wall of his house and is considered as never meant for exhibition. The execution on the beach is a representation of killing by an absolute ruler of people fighting for some form of liberty in Spain.

A big part of returning to Madrid for me was being able to revisit the painting Guernica in the Reina Sofia and to finally make it to the second floor of the Prado to explore the artwork there.

I was reading something on the Spanish Civil War generating a large corps of partisan news reporters who soon after arriving to report on the conflict sided with the Second Spanish Republic in an ultimately doomed fight for liberty. Some quit their jobs with right-wing papers to enter the war. I think my interest in the three artworks above is tied to the failure of that fight and the ongoing failure of the left in Australia and globally. I could try and unpack that here but won’t, I write poetry to do that.

This week Pascalle Burton published the third issue of her zine, Today, the Voice you speak with may not be your own. It has a poem that I started after my last visit to Spain and finished while on this residency. This issue has the theme ‘Film’.
Image by Pascalle Burton
The last week has been focussed on a restructure of the manuscript, which is going at a slow pace, putting together two fifteen minute performances, and writing my first ever grant application.

We have an Open Studio here in Can Serrat on 28 June, I plan to use one of the performances I am developing for that event.