Thursday, 26 May 2022

Too much work for myself as paramontage jobs line up

What started as a mere experiment, the genesis of the idea stemming from my frustration with linocutting (which I recently tried and found too hard – I don’t have the patience that I had when I was young, nor the steely nerves required for intense manual work) has ballooned out of control as I give in to intimations and urges to create and to make things using skills developed over decades. This need for expression is unquenchable and strong, I’ve had a lack of outlets for so long I cannot remember how to draw and have fallen into a kind of hole to get out of which activities I spent so many of the lost years doing have been productively recycled into another type of art making. 

It feels somewhat like I’m living a different life, or else it’s a feeling like I’ve travelled to a new country to live. It’s a bit scary but the views are nice.

To whit: in the last post in this series I listed the four types of work I’ve made, I group them into “classes” starting with what I designed at the end of April. It seems like more than a month, however: it feels like an age but, then, memory doesn’t serve very well to place markers on time and its passing, I need to consult file property information, data that my computer stores and that’s attached to the little bits of code inside which my artworks are organised according to principles – the logic of which I am completely ignorant. I can only marvel as the facility with which a file opens up like a flower when I double-click on the icon on my computer screen inside the comforting embrace of its graphical user interface.

On the morning of 24 May, about a month after all this photographic enterprise began, I had a hunch that I’d buy a piece of furniture to organise and store the artworks. I planned to put it downstairs in the dining area where it’d be close to people visiting. I could grab a print to show someone what I’d made when they came over for lunch, I thought to myself complacently. 

My paramontages were taking on a life of their own, compelling me to open up one poetry PDF or another looking for something to go with a series of photos I had in my computer – and in the cloud – look! Here … This one. That one. These. Those recent poems from 2021, from a time after I’d just written a long biographical sequence. 

“I like this match,” I’d think to myself as the reading consoned with the images I’d just spent a few minutes perusing.

Like this, putting together a poem and a sequence of photos involves a kind of alchemy, the paramontage just sort of clicks into plan when I read a poem after having decided to use a series of images. Once I get to the end of a poem – in the case of snapshots dating back to November 2007 showing Marlowe Street – one titled ‘Everyone an artist’ I knew that it could constitute a work, that it would summon up the muses in a certain way and convey a certain message, something forlorn and lost among the intimations I’d fostered while watching TV or while walking down the street among Saturday morning shoppers.

I had a hunch and now I would put it into execution, realise the potential of the material, make something unique that the world had never seen before. 

I am the artist I but what surprised me more than anything was that it is precisely the skills developed over years working in idiotic roles in stupid organisations come to my rescue. Or that hijacked my impulsion to create. Imagine a machine taking over, gaining control of the levers that drive daily activity and using them for its own purposes. Because I make all these works of art with a machine I am alternatively like some sort of pilot or machine operator, beavering away in obscurity while the mechanism runs rampant through the world like the robots from Mars in ‘War of the Worlds’. In fact because of the way that software needs to be operated I was turning into a kind of machine myself, pulling on the synthetic arms, dragging the metallic costume out of a cupboard and getting ready to enter the world.

But as the title of this blogpost says I was looking for someone to help me, someone to assemble the “uniform” or “grid” paramontages I had plotted out. I took the photo files set aside in their own folder, labelled conveniently so there would be no ambiguity, I the poems selected and ready to deploy, I‘d even chosen the background colour for the text of the poem to sit on like an emerald in a signet ring.

But then I balked at the work, remembering those tiring years of labour as a wage slave, those endless afternoons and those crowded suburban commutes in a packed train swaying as it lumbered over the river bordering Tokyo or through the suburbs ringing the Sydney CBD. 

I decided to use a different class of paramontage for the Mardi Gras photos. I decided that the class I’d use would be different though I had no label to describe it. 

I wondered what I should call this class of work. A class of work where all the photos are different sizes (well, not all, but where no single, uniform size dominates completely). 

1 comment:

Basia Sokolowska said...

They could be called parallel montages perhaps, to differentiate them from more grid like paramontages?