Our final crit for the pickup project was on Monday, and I meant to update then when the comments from critique were fresh in my mind, but I was so exhausted I just went to bed instead. Luckily I take extensive notes, not only on my own critique (which lasted a full forty-five minutes this week- wow!) but on everyone’s crits as well. You learn a lot when discussing the work of others.
The reception of my piece was very successful, though the installation of it wasn’t what I wanted it to be, and thus I feel slightly defeated. My intention, as shown above and in the details below, was to roll the piece in on itself so parts were concealed to mimic a scroll in as non-literal a way as possible. The problem was that I was reluctant to roll the cloth around anything, and so the weight of the cloth pulled the piece down and squished the roll against the wall, making it look sloppy and lacking in intent. I guess the thing I have most to think about in the next few days is how to revise my installation plan, especially if it’s going to hang in the show in January, before we meet on Monday to discuss which pieces will hang in the show.
What it comes down to is what I find most important in this piece. For me, to begin with, it was the process, and how the process of pickup mimics the impromptu nature of storytelling, especially in the folk tradition how things change as passed from person to person or even by the same person when told over and over again. It’s an evolution of thoughts and ideas that shift subtly, but can change the entire course of the story. So for me, then, this piece was an exercise in storytelling while I was at the loom, and thus the product, the piece of cloth, is a coincidental result of that storytelling, and I wasn’t sure how important that cloth actually was, or even how important the content of the cloth was; the class was challenged to interpret the story, and one of the girls took the challenge, and I was pleased that someone was able to make up their own story from my images.
Then I had an experience, after taking it off the loom but before the critique, where I was sitting around with friends, the cloth laid out on the floor, doing the knots to finish it off, and someone asked me if it was a narrative. I said that it was, asked if she wanted to hear the story, and so I began to tell it to her. By the end of it, I realized that everyone in the room had stopped what they were doing to listen to me, and all eyes were on me. The power of storytelling, huh?
So I related that story to my class, and they insisted that I tell the story, and after that the critique took a much different direction. It was a performance piece, they said. I should find a way to tell the story with the piece, or make it interactive, or have a book for people to write their own stories. Of course, I’m uncertain as to just how important the performance is to the piece, if that one performance in the quiet of my friends’ apartment was enough, or if that needs to be shared somehow in the gallery space.
Or maybe it just simply isn’t meant for the gallery. Perhaps it is a private piece. I’m still figuring it out, but I have to think fast.
Read Full Post »