AIM: To await inspiration.
HYPOTHESIS: It is believed that artists spend much of their time sitting, staring out windows, waiting for an inspired 'eureka' moment. The project puts this theory into practice, testing what can be elucidated from an endured ritual of anticipation and waiting.
MATERIALS: Artist (me), Ikea ‘IVAR’ chair (assembled), Book of Work Done (to record activity). Later introduced materials include white chalk pastels, water, a second chair (identical to the first).
RISK ASSESSMENT: Potential boredom and lack of inspiration, or alternatively, an overwhelming amount of ideas and inspiration.
INDEPENDENT VARIABLES: Gallery opening hours, which determine the hours I will ritually return to sit on my chair.
DEPENDENT VARIABLES: What phenomena presents itself; my thoughts, ideas and potential inspiration; how visitors will engage with the space, how they will interact with me, and how I will behave as an 'artwork'.
METHOD: At 7am on 10 April 2012, I flew in to Melbourne from Hobart, Tasmania. Equipped with no art materials, I had the single aim to occupy a seat by the window of Blindside gallery and await inspiration. Upon the assessment of Blindside’s available chairs (all unsatisfactory) I made the decision to purchase a new Ikea chair, which I assembled on opening night. On the gallery wall I wrote a passage and placed a small black and white photograph of a previous artwork, to reference the moment (inspired in itself) I arrived at my idea for Blindside. On a plinth I placed a blank workbook, titled Book of Work Done, in which I recorded my daily activities.
From 12-6pm Tuesday-Saturday I sat in the chair and looked out the window. I meditated, thought, and observed. I greeted visitors when they entered the space, but talked more only if they initiated further conversation.
RESULTS: (SEE ATTACHED MAP/LOG AND WORKBOOK ENTRIES)
CONCLUSION: Setting a chair in an otherwise empty space established a simple concept – a framework – within which a more fluid unfolding of aesthetic sensitivities could play out.
The longer I sat in my chair the less inclined I felt to act on any possible inspiration. I became more intent on absorbing as much of the space as possible, and in a sense, I was inspired not to act. The small interventions I made in response to the space were deliberately liminal, near invisible suggestions of ‘work done’, but quietly peripheral so as not to distract from the main focus.
Overall the feeling persisted that I could produce nothing material that would compare to the idea of inspiration, or to the intensity that was effected in the anticipation of creative outpouring.
With the addition of a second chair the intensities shifted. When visitors entered the space a palpable sense of a potential shared encounter was set in motion, and the interactions I had during these last days were rich with a feeling of genuine, contemplative connection.
It is somewhat impossible to draw definitive conclusions and isolate a point of resolution, which perhaps suggests a crucial recognition: that the comprehension of impossibility might be conclusive in itself.
Lines of Flight took place at Blindside ARI, Melbourne
11–28 April 2012