Saturday, 25 June 2022

Having multiple outlets helps me

There are several different series of paramontage:

  1. A4 with overlays on single image and 6-line poems (ongoing)
  2. Multiple different-sized images and sonnets (ongoing)
  3. Multiple different-sized images and free-form long poems (paused)
  4. Multiple different-sized images and 6-line poems (paused)
  5. Grid with free-form long poem (paused)
  6. Grid with sonnet (paused)
  7. Long format with prose poem (paused)

I’ve also made a series comprising eight items, including one with a sonnet but most of which have 6-line poems. This series is 28cm square each print. 

I plan to get this series framed and there are some of the type-3 type that I want to frame as well. Two problems exist however, one to do with sharing and one to do with legibility. I’ll deal with the first of these problems by saying that I don’t know about other writers but you don’t want everyone to see what you’ve written because some people might identify themselves. I was thinking about the relationship between fiction and autobiography and it might be that the reason for fiction is so that we can say things people close to us are able to be exposed to. We don’t want to alienate the very individuals we depend on but on the other hand they inform our worldview.

As for legibility I worry with the types that have been paused that the poems won’t be able to be read when the items are framed and hanging. In fact I’m certain in some cases that they won’t be readable. For the rest (the series that are ongoing) I’m still a bit concerned about legibility.

This is a stumbling block in terms of paramontage. The Cubists 100 years ago included text in some of their paintings but in some cases it wasn’t really meant to be read – newspaper clippings for example – so the demands on the letters used in their works is different from how they’re used in mine. 

I also have a problem that text in the items I get made looks different from how it appears on-screen. What appeals to me as ravishing when I look at it on the computer turns into illegible text on some occasions when I see the final product after I get home from the print shop.

I’ve got 82 A4 type-1s (see list above) which is astonishing as I only started doing these a couple of weeks ago, it seems, though it could be longer, time seems to twist and bend in odd ways. I feel a distorted reality when I think back because though I only began to make these assemblages at the start of last month I’ve been collecting photos for 15 years.

Many of the photos I’m using date from 2007 and 2008, the ones for Myall Creek massacre commemoration events sitting in time back when travel to remote parts of the state was possible – I wouldn’t go to New England now. I did do some Photoshop work at that time, for a set of photos taken while I was waiting for a movie showing at Burwood, in Sydney’s inner west, to start one night. But the paramontage project could only start once I had poems prepared, a practice that began also in 2007.

The poems, as I said, are often autobiographical and because we’re social animals they often include observations sparked by interactions with friends. A “friend” is a special person but he or she is still a person so shares traits and characteristics in common with other individuals living in the community. These give rise to thoughts about the species generally, and I wonder if it’s this reticence to share certain observations with certain people that makes fiction so attractive for writers. We want to talk freely so cloak our ideas in generalisations, in embodiments of ideas, in scattered clues to that elusive identity. Are we just telling white lies? Would it be better if we were open about what bothers us, about what inspires us? 

What do you think? I’m grateful I have many ways to express myself. One week I might be making type-1 paramontages and then I’ll stop and just do housekeeping for a couple of days, including blogging. Then I might spend a day doing type-2 paramontages I’d planned long before but that I’d not got around to completing because I’d been interrupted by type-1 methodologies and ways of seeing the world.

The type-1 methodology is helped by the fact that, because they’re relatively small, I can do them quickly, the type-2 paramontages taking a lot longer to complete in the software. Now, however, as I’ve done so many type-1s I need to write more 6-line poems in order to furnish new material. I’ve added many paramontages to the A4 binder I have used for ‘Before Dawn’ and so am going back to some sonnets I put aside for bigger works, but building up the reserves of energy needed to get through making a type-2 paramontage can take a few days.

I made two of this type yesterday morning and so am a bit depleted in that vein. Luckily I can blog, do housekeeping, and use one of my many Twitter accounts to get through the dark hours before dawn.

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