Vulnerability and the Value of Not Knowing

This is my first post since I’ve started on site. One day exploring along the river with Karen Wood so far and lots of conversations via WhatsApp and Instagram. Countless thoughts and feelings, ideas and wonderings.

And one of the wonderings is what the hell I’m doing.

It’s not really a problem, I always come to this stage, I just don’t always admit it. On a residency people usually need me to seem confident, in control, and clear about where I’m heading. This time I’m giving myself permission to be more honest.

Being openly yourself in a place you don’t know, with people you don’t know, as part of a collaboration that has no set way of working or fixed outcome, is an incredibly vulnerable position to be in.

Not knowing is a rich place where all the sensations of place, body and emotion can mix and swirl and flow. And after a while they will cluster and tell me what I need to do next. That’s how my process works. But again I don’t always say that out loud.

Multiple Exposure Image – Collaboration with Susan Merrick, Maija Liepins and Karen Wood

When I work in education we talk about the value of not knowing, and the importance of being open to being taken in new directions. We also talk about how that can feel uncomfortable, and that structure and mutual support is necessary, alongside documentation of the process, so you can look back, reflect on what you have said/made/seen and so realise that you do ‘know’ what you are doing. But that feeling your way forward, followed by a retrospective piecing together, is a different kind of knowing to what is often valued, or which can be easily articulated.

Playing in the river with a doll body and a tape drawing. Photo by Karen Wood

“The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct.” – Carl Jung

I guess what I have been doing so far is playing. Play is so often misunderstood. It is seen as something that children do, and children in turn are seen as less than adults.

I can’t say what is going in the exhibition in the Winchester Gallery yet. I can’t say what I will have learnt at the end of this process yet, I can’t say what I will take on from this to seed new projects and beginnings. But I know l that I will make what I need to, I will learn what is needed (within the context of the place and people that I am sharing the experience with) and that my practice will be all the richer for it.

This isn’t the post that I was going to write – it was going to be all about what I’ve done and why, with neatly made links and well chosen images. But I’m trying to keep open a space to play so that I don’t close things down too soon.

Karen Wood drawing in response to our explorations of the River Itchen

For now I have some loose clusters of ideas, some images of playful moments spent on-site, and a question that I am asking myself and the rest of the LOD2 team.

The key areas I’ve been exploring are:

  1. Water inside and outside the body. Rivers of blood and water (including medical processes and sampling)
  2. Play and its links with no. 1 (boats, dolls, toys, paddling, laughter and fun)
  3. Flooding and burning as a result of climate breakdown (in connection with Andy Jones)
  4. Seeing/being beyond boundaries (and its link with the damage done through our inability to perceive ourselves as continuous with the ‘More than Human World’ – see no. 2)
  5. Linking with all of the above – embodied and artful ways of knowing and their place in preparing for an uncertain future

And the key question that’s occupying me at the moment:

Q. Is Dissent a privilege of the Insider? (having the freedom to choose to step outside rather than living there)

outside the perimeter

Outside by Perimeter – conversational poetry read by kbwoodnews
drawing #kbwoodnews
by Sharon Harvey – Wed 13 November 2019

outside the perimeter

thanks Sharon 
for drawing with us
joining in the fun
of being on
the go
outside
the perimeter
of a school of art
revisiting of old
your haunts
sharing river memories
of lochness monsters
of sharks

making new memorials
inclusive
of James’s #bodyplace
“memory of feet”
of toes squeezing mud
in the river flow

me noting
James floating
AndyJones word of partaken
mapped with Bluey
on his viking burial ground
drawn taped recycled
on his own personal
lilo
handmade
to take him into
the other world
with these words
flowing out of my head
fast
speeding past

did you know
my otherworldwords
have arrived
in a cyclical
coming home
i rejoiced
for they have
honoured me
with their residence

i dub today
my “dialogue Saturday”
yes Dave
i can
talk all day
i thank CAS
for this portal
to shout out my words
to be heard
or not
they shall be

 James Sharon Maija Andy
those I encountered
facetoface
on Wednesday this week
together with #insideoutside
virtual dialogue

 we have all played
in childlike fascination
although i call it
my natural
base state
watching
listening
sharing
feeling anew
on our station
#crosspollination

i am still trying
to understand
the disentire meaning
explained to me
in black with white
by Maija
by many

words
of who we meet
of who we are
are more explanatory
to me
alongside us
on our associate path
from here
i hear you
SaraMisselbrook
from over there

plus words with actions
SusanMerrick
floating on a lilo
on my carpark lines
of yellow over white
over the grit of grey
hidden under a puddle
for me to explore
another day

i digress
back to Sharon’s drawing
above
words in explanation
of how i feel
my ‘literal’
visual meaning
on show
I would rather
be in action
making drawing
talking sharing
noticing the words
which flow
in explanation
of each encounter
within without
inside outside
of our LIVE
dissenting
laboratory show
– – –

Post Rebellion: New Terrain

View this post on Instagram

Disturbing the status quo #labofdissent2019

A post shared by Clarisse Halverson (@artin_thegarden) on


The lower rotunda this morning, my square under the stair is gone
A new square of papers awaits my response
Unknown event
Unknown event
Islands
List of Artifacts

Top-left: bloom of yellow and a paper lily (group 3)
Top-right: close-up photograph of an ear on Andover College paper
Bottom: Artifacts from a visit from James (left, a boat) and Andy (middle, words in ash)


Inside
Outside
Dialogue (Andy and Maija)
M.L.
Julia and Kimvi, arrangement by M.L.