Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Playing is hard



I’ve been thinking a lot about playing lately. Playing experimenting trying out letting things happen not working with a plan, it’s something that doesn’t come natural to me. I like to know what I’m working on, even if it changes while I’m working on ’it’. I like to have a bigger plan that guides my creative steps. Lately that has left me dissatisfied. I found that it quenches strangles chokes cuts off some of my artistic impulses which suddenly demand to be followed up. I am torn. Between my need to work in a structured manner, to produce coherently, to be good, to do good, to do right, to do well, with a clear aim in sight, and this new urgency to stumble mumble fumble in the dark. Normally I start out with an idea about what I want to say, what I want to explore. Things branch out from there of course, accidents happen, new ideas and impulses find their way in. And I’ve done some good work like that. But then I started thinking about playing… and found that playing and thinking are mutually exclusive. As soon as my ever-domineering head kicks in JUDGEMENT comes into play and spoils the fun. Judging does not go with playing. This is not new to me and playfulness has never been my forte, but having ME has strengthened that forbidding voice: every small period of energy has to be used and made the most of, every instant of alertness probed and squeezed and utilised and manifested and made meaningful in that vast grey fog of fatigue. In those short moments I have to prove myself. In a strange way I’ve remained a workoholic, only one of a very condensed kind! First work and then play is still my self-activating self-regulating over-arching motto. Ha! No more! Says she and then doesn’t know what to do with herself. Panic. I’m breaking into a sweat just writing this. But I want to play and see where it takes me. I want to be excited and surprised and have adventures with myself. I have tiny moments when I can, do, tiny moments.

4 comments:

Kruse said...

Perhaps this sense of play is what your poor old body is crying out for. In play is trust. When we play we release fear and trust in the moment. You do not need to prove anything any more you know. We all love your work. You don't have to be 'good' anymore.
So put on some naughty loud music, throw on a smile, know that there are some (very) cool people out there who think your work is great...and let go! Have fun! Play!
Playing is what artists do. It is all we do. And if you're scared I promise I'll hold your hand.

ainesse said...

I completely understand what you are talking about Marjojo, I always think of creativity within my fine art practice as a combination of these factors i.e., playing and assessing and then acting on what is going on with the materials. I am just thinking about what I did where my current installation is concerned. I started off in January February playing about with lots of different materials and media that had been on/in my mind for a while such as for example
http://www3.flickr.com/photos/ainescannell/502540530/
where I started playing around with a pyrograph tool that I bought on EBay, and I certainly didnt want to use it and get the kind of results that people usually come up with (Gruesome crafty landscapes or pics of pet dogs!!) In that one ( that I linked to) I coated it with beeswax which was/is another material I wanted to play with. I also liked the effect of wax on mirri card http://www3.flickr.com/photos/ainescannell/502540522/

Like the first person who responded to this latest posting of yours ....I feel that you should play about for now. As I was saying with my installation ..after playing around with various materials I then thought tht I would extend the print series I had made called Traces on Wood and I went along that path for a while. But really I did not have sufficient 'solar plexus' investment in it What really sparked things off was when somebody made a positive and enthusiastic response to another installation I had made which had featured the use of the Aran patterning
http://www.axisweb.org/seCVWK.aspx?ARTISTID=176
see "Silent Witness"

anyway I got my stack of Aran jumpers out from my collection of materials and decided I would make a primitive doll of sorts and thats how it all started --- and it just developed.
By the way thanks for your email and comments and I have added a little more to my Flickr folio.

And remember I am here for you too as a fellow artist who also has to live with chronic pain and health problems. Take good care

Aine

redredday said...

Marjojo, i am excited, and at the same, a little confused by your words...i thought you have been playing all this time, no? who in their right time would be so obsessively wrapping and crocheting and making things that could not possibly fit anyone or anything except the most wildest and maybe even some deep and dark corners of the mind if they are not enjoying themselves with it?
if that was intense thinking and judging, i can only imagine what more crazy stuff you'll be making when you're really having a blast.

i am scared by your talk about ME and how it takes so much time away from you. did not know what it is until i came across your blog. i looked it up some more and it is something that will eventually go away, right?

cusp said...

Came here via Amanda Watson-Will who I'd tagged and has nnow tagged you.

As an artist with ME myself, I can appreciate what you say about play It was and still can be something I was good at. But, as you say (and Id never really thought about it until I read your post -- so thank you) the notion of 'playing' when you have ME has the spectre of foreboding all over it: wasting time, not using the energy you do have productively. However, I think Kruse makes some very good points and I think you have been playing without knowing it, maybe. Play can be quiet and gentle too -- it doesn't have to be raucous and spirited and as artists, unless we play we discover nothing.

I think your work is very sensitive, fragile and beautiful.

I'll be back