About Portability and Cheapness and being seduced by materials.

The issue of why this matters so much to me needs to be revisited – in my tutorial with Lucy Day last week we talked about materials and I identified these concerns of mine which I originally became aware of in MA1.  I think this will also help with my PPP this year.

I think that apart from rational ideologies this desire to work with simple materials and make them transportable or mailable is deeply ingrained in me. It is also reflected in other lifestyle choices. whilst I collect discarded pieces of junk and use them for practical or decorative purposes  I do find that possessions weigh me down.I am good at throwing stuff away. I have now more or less escaped my art school training of ‘never throw work away’ too. The things I value the most are those which have zero or minimal exchange value. I chose to live in the middle of a flea market and I love skips and dislike shopping. I do not really like many new clothes, furniture or other consumer items. Part of my interest in work is that there is so much value placed on what I see as pointless activities. I see value in caring professions, cleaning, maintaining, growing food, but less in financial services, marketing or industries creating new needs. I also question how it could be with so much new technology anyone needs to work more – rather everyone could work less.

I also believe that people are more fulfilled by having more time and less things. That making things by hand gives us pleasure. I am often ‘seduced by materials’ and enjoy working with certain media regardless of their connotations. Maybe that is why I am stripping the materials away for the final major project and collecting dirt and possibly debris along the way. In this way I feel more confident that I can justify what I do end up using in the gallery and in the process.

Although this relates to the exchange value attached to ‘things’ being over emphasized in general I think in my case the need to use low value materials is deeper. There is of course a practical element, I am not able to buy or transport expensive materials but I also question their necessity as I do with many consumer items. Most of my recent work is not a commodity that is for sale as an object. Often it can be ephemeral or given away. That does not mean I do not think I should be paid for making it but not necessarily by an individual. I have of course sold work in the past but I was making and exhibiting it in a very different way. I now need to resolve my relationship with how I make money from work. Until now I have lived from teaching or other part time employment but I would like the balance of my time to change. As teaching has become more and more time consuming I am finding my self compromised and would like to find other means of income. 

 

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