Monday, 27 June 2022

Revisiting type-2 and type-4 paramontages

Type 2: Multiple different-sized images and sonnets (ongoing)

Type 3: Multiple different-sized images and free-form long poems (ongoing)

Type 4: Multiple different-sized images and 6-line poems (paused)

Some type-2 paramontages are still at the print shop but when I spent 30 minutes looking through these I felt glad that things I thought about had already informed my practice. One problem I wrote about recently is legibility, and with some of the type-2 paramontages the sonnets are too small. I’m not happy with these particular examples and in future if I feel inclined to do more I might go back and change them in order to improve them. Doing so would, of course, require more expense so I’m holding off for the moment.

A type-2 paramontage titled 'On the way to New England'

Type-2 and -4 paramontages measure 38cm across. They’re longer than this, in centimetres, so to frame them would cost several hundred dollars each. 

I’ve paused type-4 production for the moment – I hold off using the word “stopped” because I don’t know what I’ll want to do in future – though a need for new type 2s remains an issue as I have hundreds of sonnets that have no assemblage done for them, waiting to be picked up and dealt with. I’ve started doing new type 3s having paused them for a while.

A type-3 paramontage titled 'In'

Just a further note on my reaction to my review, before I go on to talking about other things. As a general observation I felt happy with the subject matter, even if some of the execution was sub-standard. This is hardly surprising as the subject is engendered in the poem (the title always comes from the poem) and these are writings that go back years. With the sonnets I have additional clues to my state of mind at the time of writing as for them I always put down the date the work was done. Sometimes they were written on one day but more frequently they were written on several days, sometimes days spaced years apart. 

Revisiting these type 2s and 4s gave me a chance to augment the quality of the pause I’m currently engaged in with regard to type 2s, though it’s a time I’m using to do more type 3s. By critically assessing the type 2s and 4s I think back not only to the creation of the assemblage but also I remember what caused me to write the poem. It’s a kind of double indemnity against lack of meaning, the looking guaranteeing satisfaction even if judgement as to quality (especially regarding execution) tends to veer toward the negative because that’s the nature of a review: you want to find fault, it’s human to do so, so that you can progress. Even if I don’t particularly like what I’m exposed to, the act of looking means something to me.

A type-4 paramontage titled 'Tail lamp'

This is important as it adds an extra layer to the creative process. What I mean is that meaning is generated when you’re taking the photos, writing the poem, putting it together on the computer, and even when, in a stray moment while watching TV or while cooking, you have an idea about what to do with a particular poem in your files. All of this varied activity, more of less active, is meaningful.

The other layer – by looking and critically assessing paramontage – heightens the pleasure the process generates. Creating meaning in this way helps me to avoid pain, it fulfills me and makes me happy in a way that few other things do. I might get this kind of happy feeling when I drive over to a friend’s house, especially when I’m plugging in my phone to connect it to the car while the radio is playing music in the cabin. I might get this happy feeling when I get home from an outing, having completed a number of small but important errands. I might get it when lying on the couch settling in to watch the Nine News, or when a rerun comes on at 7.30pm. 

In the latter case I often think of mum as she also liked these silly crime dramas, and we’d usually watch one of them when I went over to her apartment in the late afternoon to cook dinner. If she were alive she’d be delighted with my new practice, I know this because she used to applaud each new article I placed with a magazine when I was working as a freelance journalist. She especially liked it because I got paid for my work.

To a certain degree making art shields me from thoughts of death. When mum passed away I struggled for a significant number of months, and I remember also when dad died she struggled for a while, finding it hard to get up in the morning so that when I went over to her place for breakfast she’d still be in bed on those days when life felt too hard. 

The number of stories involving death is spellbindingly rich and varied, we seem to never lose this appeal for each other. I wonder what animals think. Do dogs think about death? Do cats? Do pygmy possums? 

What about bananabirds? Up in Queensland I lived in a small town so there was much more wildlife than there is here in Sydney but life up there was often pale by comparison, I resented the quiet streets even if on occasion I got to see a bush turkey, shy animals that stalk away, fearing death, if you get too close but that live among humans, building their nests in people’s gardens.


Basia Sokolowska said...

I don't think animals think about death. They fear death as they avoid harm but it is a self preservation instinct, no philosophy involved. They just do they thing - pure life.

Reading about the different types of paramontages, I thought it would enhance the communicative quality of your posts if you included a photo or two of paramontages. Just as an example of what you are writing about, so the readers would have an idea of what they look like rather than just information of their size and contents. Some of your posts from earlier years had photos, which I thing was good.

Matthew da Silva said...

Sorry abt that, have put in two photos to make the post easier to understand. Thanks for the feedback.

Basia Sokolowska said...

Thank you, this makes things clearer.