During an evening section of one of my classes a few weeks ago, one of my undergraduate students and I were discussing her final project – or rather, her concern about what she felt was a lack of ideas for moving forward. I went to the cabinet of books to pull out a few resources for her, and in doing so I was assaulted by the overwhelming smell of mold. There had been a major flood at BCA a few weeks prior (nothing has been without incident lately); I thought I had checked every area but missed this cabinet. Fortunately, the loss of antiquated photography encyclopedias was my student’s gain, out of the disintegration she gained ideas and excitement.
I’m thinking about this as I sit in my kitchen. It’s quiet and rain is falling; it’s 10:30pm. I’m eating canned soup and bread; keeping it simple as I prepare to move. It’s my last Sunday evening in my house, the beginning of my last week calling this small pink house my home. The house is nearly empty; I’ve been moving over the last few weeks, creating space, mental and physical, to work on the installation of my work within the space. It’s been an intense time, sorting, packing and moving abbreviated by teaching, conceptualizing and making the work, mundane and unpleasant logistical tasks, being a resource for others struggling (when it rains, it pours) and managing my own complex emotions surrounding all of this loss and change. I think of a sentence from Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees, where the interviewer comments that Irwin was good at “managing the sadness.” A minor detail in a book largely about visual perception but it lingered.
aaron, adam, me, rita, sarah
i love screenshots.
I’m eating dinner so late this evening because tonight involved a video chat with a few friends in my AIB cohort – Aaron, Adam, Rita and Sarah. Tonight’s long conversation felt like a lifeline in many regards; so great to connect and talk about the work and to hear about their projects as well; a welcome diversion and a needed refocus. I walked my laptop around the house and showed them the work in progress. I was encouraged by their enthusiasm; they could see what I am trying to do with the work and had some helpful comments and questions.
Later in the conversation, Sarah started to tell me about a show she saw in New York recently, and how she thought of my work – did I know about Moyra Davey? Indeed, looking at Moyra’s work was a suggestion early in the last residency from Liz Deschenes, after reading the blog archive from one of my projects. Moyra’s book Long Life Cool White kept me up late into the night during those 10 days in January, the first of a few on-point suggestions from several people that have intersected to help move me forward in ways I would not have foreseen.
And so on this rainy Sunday night I am writing, reflecting and considering the forward movement of time while striving to be present, at least for now. I consider, in the still quiet of this house, the last month of packing and moving, the last 3 months since the residency, the last 10 months of incredible and unanticipated change.