In the late 90s I was researching digital encoding as part of my Honours paper. I opened sound files in image programmes to illustrate how files are encoded and decoded. I tried to tie this back to graffiti and its encoded nature in regards to Phase2 and Vulcan. After leaving University I did a lot of my own research spending a lot of time in the library. I mainly researched open source technologies and the nature of files. This eventually has lead me back to being engrossed in text files. My dialogue works were all based on text files. From scripts to control the computer which are just text files to the dialogues in the text files. Illustrating the point that everything on a computer is simply text. Some text is encoded so not readable in terms of dialogue and some is not encoded in that you can read them. Essentially though they are all encoded though in different ways and for different purposes. I think research is still my primary strength. I am good at it in that I am patient enough to dig around and I am curious. I love to spend time in the library but its great that these days the library comes to you in regards to the NSW state library and its vast online catalogue.
Well after a year of trying to ignore it I got the editing done on my second picture book “Reading the world”. After six drafts it actually makes sense and carries through. It is very short and there isn’t a lot of writing as it is a picture book primarily so it positions my practice and where it sits currently. It is more an attempt to introduce people to think about graffiti in a wider frame. It basically gives my own personal account of doing graffiti with ways of thinking about urban environments from utility and form to aesthetic design. It asks what are you primarily looking at in the world around you and why do people subvert spaces. I bring it all down to thought. Bringing together the obvious combination of thought and the environment. It concludes that these combinations are simply cultural and culture is at once divided but unified in the bigger picture. The images are what keep the interest going and I hope it is a good companion to my first picture book which was an overview of my work over a few decades.
I was lucky to get a good editor. In the end though I just had to clarify the points clearly and make them carry through. My next piece of writing has no pictures and is fiction. It feels natural because my graffiti is pretty hard to make sense of. Also graffiti is probably a tired subject for me. Though in saying that it needs a lot more clarification in the wider world. So I submitted it to iBooks today and it may take a few days to get submitted if all goes well.
An excerpt from some writing below. I seem to have more to say than I thought I had.
It wasn’t the dream of money and fast cars but instead a perpetual state of waking sleep. The world itself was the dream and difficult to manipulate or touch. His legs were slow and when he ran he felt he hadn’t moved. In these states of mind he felt aloof and seemed to watch the world as though it was a movie. Would he be the hero or fail before he had even began?
The onset of madness can be like this. An indistinct set of ideas and possibilities that seem to become immersive. It is sometimes called a fog that slowly appears making seeing ahead even harder than before. We don’t really know what the future holds but for the mad they start to think they know. They imagine the world is against them. Slowly shutting them out. Their terror becomes their reality. The paranoid plot. It must be more than just a fog though. Soon they simply see shadows. An abstraction. A hole. A metaphor. Seemingly they feel they know too much. When really they know nothing but semblances, and indistinct shapes and forms.
- When I was living with my Dad he always had very odd ideas and he would write letters about his ideas and world views. Me being a visual artist would say to him ‘ why don’t you make a picture or diagram?’ It never occurred to me at the time that writing was just as valid. It was a creative escape and clarified his world view and projects. He wrote thousands of letters over the years. Many didn’t make sense but they followed a logic of their own. It was difficult to read Dad’s letters because they seemed quite critical and personal. Now though I can see the attraction to writing. To setting out ideas and trying to understand the world around you. My own foray into writing books has been a tricky journey to start. There is something very fragile about the written word. It seems so direct and almost a being of its own. It is full of emotion and that is maybe what I find hard about it. It isn’t just a big thumbs up to your mates though it can be. It can be embarressing and revealing. I think though it can be cathartic in that it opens up a conversation about the world and world views in general.