Monday, December 12, 2005


Location: Brixton, UK
Weather: Grey sky, not too cold (by my standards).
Suchness (n): the unintelligible way in which certain artists write about their art; art that cannot be understood and, when explained by the artist, becomes even more confusing.
(Word coined with friend J when visiting some art galleries in Toronto in October 2005).
Just passing some time as I wait for photos to be developed at Boots, then will head home and leave shortly after for work (the second school, Salisbury). I woke up early this morning and went to the Modern Tate Gallery. I was sitting in one of the galleries on a bench, watching a 'strange' video piece byCatherine Sullivan. I picked up one of her brochures explaining the work, but have not read it in detail yet. So I won't go into detailed explanations about what I saw, in case I misrepresent her artistic intentions. But, from a woman-off-the-street perspective ... the room was dark and small, the walls were made up of panels of video, each showing different actors/actresses making strange almost mechanical and spasmodic movements and bizarre clicks and noises with their mouths whilst classical music played in the background. A little boy sitting next to me summed up my sentiments well by shouting loudly in the dark silence: "Dad? What on earth's this all about?!" The father didn't answer, perhaps feeling embarassed because the boy was being so loud about it. But after the boy had said it, I chuckled and looked at him, nodding in agreement - and the father, perhaps realising that there was someone else who felt the same way, admitted: "I don't know what's going on, son. I don't know." Nevertheless we stayed until the end. This experience follows hot on the heels of a dinner party Rose (hostess/coworker) had at home last night, where part of the conversation around the dinner table revolved around artists who write/talk about their work in academic ways that the general public, myself included, can't understand. Things like: "The dichotomy of the diaspora is essential to the fabric of my work. I intend to study the ways in which people breathe as they walk down the road, expunging fumes of existence from the framwork of anatomy, asking the question ... are we real? Is this London?" (I find they usually use the word dichotomy. I'll look through the brochure to see if C. Sullivan uses it as well.)
Amazing that the weather doesn't seem cold to me - and I don't necessarily feel the need for warm foods and drinks (not that I'm averse to them, but I enjoy a cold drink of juice or water rather than hot tea. And I often crave ice. The other day I was eating an ice lolly outside the train station. It was a 'cold' day. A man rushing by, huddled in his coat, looked at me eating the lolly and said: "Hot day, innit?"


Blogger Kaivalya said...

Some 'suchness' is so compelling, you can't stop watching...sort of like a slow-motion train wreck. The video piece sounds like a bit like that...

9:47 PM  
Blogger Hope said...

"artists who write/talk about their work in academic ways that the general public, myself included, can't understand. "

This comment reminds me of the experience of taking my husband Mike to my annual ethnomusicology conference. He was excited to find out there would be a panel on punk rock and was then of course disappointed at how boring it turned out to be. One guy kept talking about "the hegemony of the diaspora", so now when we are joking about something that is very boring we say it was SUCH an "hegemony of the diaspora" experience!

11:28 PM  
Blogger Elspeth said...

The slow motion train wreck hegemonies of the diaspora are everywhere.

5:03 AM  

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