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MA: initial reflections

tuesday 13th september 2022

it's always a bumpy, unsure process to start something new. i've been feeling a little unsure of myself. a little tentative. i think this is at odds with the self i project, but maybe i'm wrong about that too.

i've been reading the blog posts from others on my course, the first murmurations. lea ⧉'s posts have consistently reached in and Got me. i'm glad she took the time to write about the art/selfishness/genius/community/necessity question that was raised in our call on monday. i'm reading a thousand plateaus right now, and to think of art as human constructed framework, yet so in dialogue with animalistic tendencies, feels fitting to contextualise it within the multiplistic viewpoint deleuze and guattari outline. creating an artwork as identifying a trajectory, vector, line of flight through an interconnected whole.

i put off reading deleuze and guattari for a very long time. those around me would talk about it, about these concepts that sounded absolutely inaccessible, sentences that wound around themselves to construct a world i couldn't even begin to comprehend - but to actually be diving into it feels almost like coming home right now. it's hard to describe a reading process that is less like organising, linearly processing, and more like swimming within and accidentally swallowing a bit too much water.

in should data expire? metapost + notes on ANTICUBE i talk about a piece of writing called either ANTICUBE or Word is a Trojan Horse i created almost automatically in 2018. interestingly, this piece taps into the rhizomatic + planar worldview that D+G illustrate in plateaus - a worldview i constructed through reckoning with my alienated (schizo, in their terms) lived experience. i've nowhere near finished plateaus, so i'll put it down for now - but something in it feels very pivotal. as allan haverholm ⧉ said to me the other day -

"It's always great to dig into some intimidating canonised work and go "Yup... yup, I knew that... I've been saying this for years..."

i'm going to take a moment to go through some of the questions posed in the module handbook, specifically intended to blog about. it's always useful to have a framework with which to take stock.

what in your daily practise gets you really enthusiastic to find out more about?

who do you admire who also works with what makes you enthusiastic?

i am massively benefitted from having a rich network of people around me with whom to discuss ideas that inspire me. to read my blog (hi, everyone!), and to figure it all out with. the vast majority of people who inspire me in what i do are people who are in my life, and i'm so thankful for that! endlessly!

what gets you angry or makes you sad? who do you admire who shares your feelings or has found a way to work around the sadness or anger?

this is a really big question. this is hard to address, actually.

fundamentally, it usually comes down to ignorance, pursuit of false goals, and valuing monetary gain over the emotional, connected, spiritually fulfilling goal in anything. misrepresentation of oneself. injustice, in that it is perpetuated by a system which deprioritises actual needs in favour of manufactured or superficial "needs". fixed viewpoints which don't hold space for growth.

i think everyone i listed above has a relationship with that same or similar kind of sadness or anger.

what do you love about what you do? who do you admire who also seems to love this or is an example of what you love?

i wasn't expecting this prompt to be hard, but it actually really got to me! it feels like maybe the first time i've actually recognised that i spend a lot of time navigating hurt, mitigating pain, and performing damage control. it makes me appreciate the moments that are pain-free, where i feel seen, where i can surface from the alienation.

that isn't quite the question though. i love when people can see something in a new way because of something i made, said, wrote, or did. it could be their own work, or something broader. running show & tell ⧉ with gem last year was quite pivotal for me. we spent hours each week holding space, focusing entirely on what was brought to us. we became sounding boards for the ideas of others. some weeks nobody came, and we used the space to explore ourselves. but some weeks 20+ people crammed into a little basement to explore, discuss, and grow together. it was so special and important to me to lead that space, and i'm a much better tutor, sounding board, and communicator because of it.

i find it so hard to relate these ideas to other people. i think i'm too insular, in that i find it hard to pin ideas on specific individuals - not that i never look to others. i need to get better at identifying the individuals! i have such a general, cop-out answer; that people who i admire are generally people who share my values, who work to further these values, who work to find the truth in things. i don't usually think about it more granularly than that, and it's hard to just start.

i guess i could point here to anyone who writes, speaks, makes outward facing work dealing with the same topics. people like ben tarnoff, as above, or maybe even david graeber. the creation of outward facing works is inherently in dialogue with others, looking to if not change their worldview then add to it.

what do you feel you don't understand? who do you admire who does seem to understand it, or who has found a way of making not understanding it interesting or beautiful, or has asked the same questions as you?

i don't understand why everyone else isn't on this same journey towards truth. except i do, because it hurts too much.

it's hard to make explicit something which feels so implicit. i feel like all of this oozes out of everything i've ever said or been or made. i'm not shy about what i'm about, where i come from, or what i think it means. i feel challenged right now, and i'm glad.

as always, i would love to hear responses to this via email 📧

note to my coursemates: i have emailed a couple of you in response to your blogs, so please check it didn't go to spam. if you didn't publish a personal email, i sent it to your university one. i hope i'm not alone in really loving the blog as a form of discourse, and i'm not going to hold back from engaging in that. it's part of the fabric of the world for me, to reflect through text, as intuitive as breathing.