a big gesture and abstraction

It was pointed out to me that the writing I am engaging in/transcribing onto the rice paper scrolls is constrained. So I am experimenting with a more gestural approach, scale and abstraction. I am starting to think that the current covid situation is clouding my thoughts. Perhaps my intention is not as simple as commenting on the influx of information. Perhaps there is something–a feeling–that persists from before and that I struggle to make front and center.

It is hard to be honest to myself and others. Automatically, I respond ‘fine, thanks.’
news headlines and my poem written/painted on top
rice paper scroll with news headlines (unfinished) and new experiment at right

a poem

I read a quote by Martin Heidegger; it’s from his book The Concept of Time. I don’t know much at all about Heidegger or his ideas but this got my attention:

Now, as I do this; now, as the light here goes out, for instance. What is the now? Is the now at my disposal? Am I the now? Is every other person the now? Then time would indeed be I myself, and every other person would be time. And in our being with one another we would be time–everyone and no one. Am I the now, or only the one who is saying this?

The Concept of Time, 1924, page 5

Using Heidegger’s first few words in that paragraph, and using them as a prompt, I started writing a sort of poem–something which I never have done. Here’s a small sample (this is just something I am playing with, it’s not polished or anything and it might not go anywhere):

How does this fit in with what I’ve beein doing/collecting? This is more personal while everything else has been about something that already exists out there, produced by culture. I am thinking about how the personal can co-exist with the public–I’m not sure ‘public’ is the right word, and I’m not sure ‘political’ fits either right now, at this stage. But, this writing and the collecting (see previous posts) share handwriting as a visual element, a mode of expression.

the cold news of private pain

On October 10, I received the news that Zia Sandrina had died that morning. Sandrina is my aunt in San Benedetto del Tronto (Italy) with whom I lived for a year when I was 14, and whom I had visited in 2002. Sandrina was a few months from turning 100 years old!!!

Sandrina did not die of covid, but because of covid she died alone in a hospital. That cold fact is hard to imagine…to die alone, in a strange place, with perhaps no one next to your side, and after having lived such a long life, that, is, a cold fact of life.

emails I received of the news of zia Sandrina’s passing

I got the news on my cell phone as I checked email. Such important news received in such a cold manner makes me wonder about the coldness of technology. Would receiving a handwritten letter be better, nicer, more human? I am not begrudging the messengers of the news but only feeling the coldness of technology, how it unceremoniusly sends the news. Sandrina deserves more, better. I am noticing and witnessing this moment.

collecting news headlines

I have settled on writing the news headlines–I’ve been collecting since March–on rice paper scrolls. Written on this material and in my hand writing they seem poetic. Their power is taken away. Is this a way of processing? Of witnessing? Of being present?

What I’ve been collecting since march 2020

a corner of my studio where I am laying out what I’ve been collecting
Things Dr. Bonnie Henry said or says
The experience of being noticed as Asian right now
Women who have died through the hands of their husbands, boyfriends, sons in the UK in this time of covid – domestic violence
the strangeness of my studio at the school, the plastic makes the space feel weird, private but hard to connect with others; I have stuck polaroids outside the plastic, on the side facing the hall, so that the 2nd year MFAs know who’s behind the plastic; I see people walking by, I say ‘hi’, but I don’t really see them, we don’t really connect