Making nothing

When I was recovering some time ago from my mental condition, of which I have never fully recovered but am doing fairly well as far as the condition goes, I was reading a lot of philosophy and poetry. I would buy a UK based philosophy magazine and also read books on philosophy, of course, a lot of it didn’t sink in but it was an attempt to get out of my own head a bit in which I am trapped. Poetry was in the same vein, I didn’t really get the topology or what was on the map exactly but I attempted to escape my own mind and just wandered around somewhat aimlessly. I did see a bit of scenery though and had small moments of clarity and befuddlement not really knowing at times what I was seeing exactly, yet enjoying moments and I would sometimes trail off into dense text and lose sight of any landmarks. I think you only see the landmarks if you are familiar with the territory although you may zip past quickly and make out something like looking at a painting with no background into the artist or the aim of the work.

There are times though when I may be embarking on learning something and after a few years I will start to ignore the venture and this is talked about a lot in philosophy where people will purposely make themselves ignorant of any number of things. More recently I started ignoring my recent venture because there were personal challenges that came up and I felt I had to close my mind a bit like closing the curtains. I suppose the human mind’s ability to generalise information is a blessing and a curse. A blessing in that you can make quick calculations under pressure and maybe avoid a collision or whatever but be a curse in that you will close the door on thinking outside of your own understanding because it is fast and immediate. It isn’t just about calculations or understanding but about emotional understanding as emotions are tied into how we think. Understanding is always limited by so many factors, what isn’t it limited by? 

Also, they say it isn’t about what you say but what you don’t say that also creates illusions of understanding, we are at once understanding something explicit and implicit although we can be ignorant of the meaning. I think for me recently I couldn’t get out of my own head and chose to close myself off because I was at a plateau and couldn’t climb any further. As an artist, I will always hope people will make that leap of faith and possibly embark on enjoying a visual art piece but sometimes when something seems to come out of nowhere people don’t know how to engage. Some of my video work has made people feel uncomfortable and it is mainly because they don’t know what my goals are. It is difficult to explain at times because my goals are as much about understanding as not understanding. I want to lose myself and lose any topography, lose the meaning in a world that meaning and values have to be applied to. I guess that is dangerous because what is the point of losing meaning? It becomes nothing but sound and noise.

I suppose poetry is done professionally is normally drafted multiple times and set to free form or meter yet I just let myself go and did the type of free form poetry I did in high school which has a haiku property to it that moves into free form. Sometimes there was rhyme yet only here and there, it is poor form yet I was honest and set it as a recovery piece and I still feel it captures something in that book ‘Recovery: a poetry compilation’ yet I have to accept it won’t become popular as I don’t have the standing in the field. I am an outsider using the guise of poetry as self-help as an excuse to write bad poetry. It is sad though that most fields are cut off from most people, sometimes youth will get a chance to be educated in poetic form and be published which is great but you need those opportunities. For the less enmeshed in social norms, we are always in a way outside of the norms and never quite fit into the professional field.

The funny thing is I have been doing aerosol art for decades and I have purposefully kept myself on the periphery of the field in that I don’t want to be seen as an expert or professional. I accept my own limitations and in a way, I reinforce them by doing work that isn’t professional and still has elements of discovery and naivety to it. I have always kept myself outside of the scene since I went to art school, yet when I was active in the illegal scene I was there defining my own approach. I suppose I have something against being an expert, or I just don’t want to grow up and take on that moniker yet I am happier outside of the scene. It gives you a certain freedom to explore form in ways most people are not allowed to. I suppose the unseen forces of compliance makes one avoid being in error, yet I want to be wrong. I want to make mistakes and not know what I am doing although as you can see I know exactly what I am doing. I am allowing myself to be free although we can never be truly free as there is a lot that isn’t acceptable and is left alone. A lot of things have to remain untouched as society has underlying rules that are unsaid, yet even the most pedestrian approaches are avoided as being unprofessional. I suppose doing nothing takes a lot of effort and there are not many rewards.

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