Activity and Reflection…

This week I seem to have been talking about myself a lot. Hopefully not in a trumpet-blowing way though.

I have been asked to record two podcasts. It’s a coincidence in terms of recording, that they both happened this week. The first one to go out, probably in the next week or so, is for Polly Orton, who is doing a series of podcasts for MA students at Birmingham City University. It’s ten years since we did our MA together, and ten years is an interesting amount of time to revisit people I think. Much has happened, things have been shaken up and settled down. Coincidentally I am also in the midst of writing a sort of Q/A (with Stuart Mayes and Kate Murdoch) about the habit of long-form blogging… also at it’s tenth anniversary. So much reviewing and reflection happening.

The second podcast is for local radio online, this time with sound artist Bill Laybourne. The focus here is definitely on my current practice and the use of sound. I haven’t known Bill for long but we always have really good conversations about the work, our studio practices, life, the universe and everything. He always has lots of gear for me to admire, be confused by, and envious of too. 

There will naturally be overlaps on all these things, but with a different focus for each it has been really interesting to revisit work, decisions made, paths taken, coincidences and the life circumstances that push you this way and that.

I have discovered that working for a particular target, whether that’s an exhibition, or a funded project, requires one to go through a cycle of mad frantic making, admin, mad frantic making, reflection, admin… and hopefully also periods of relaxed play and discovery… after which another period of reflection can lead to real strides forward with the work. What works for me is that combination of being obliged to produce something for other people to see and comment upon, alongside not having to worry so much about money, so I can sink into things.

I’ve done some mad frantic making, a lot of admin, and some reflection through the eyes and ears of other people as above. I’m heading into a period of overlapping exhibiting, which is very exciting. And then as I slide into August I’m up for some serious playing. 

I’m hoping by the end of the funded period of Drawing Songs, by Christmas, I will be able to see the next stage clearly, take my foot off the pedal for a while, and just steadily carry on working at my own pace.

Until I get the next Big Idea.

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