Saturday, March 14, 2009


an image from my "found footage" film, "Perchance"

As Bill observed in his provocation week one, science-derived terms like “hybridity” are appropriated loosely by artists. I have been using it in the way Susan uses it—as a way of naming the “slash” in my self-description and in my tool kit and my techniques: I’m an artist/educator/gardener. I work in film/video/photography/sound design. My pieces are experimental/narrative or experimental/documentary or documentary/memoir. In a multi-mediated world, the tools I use to create media converge, to some degree. I still have one foot firmly planted in the analog world, and hope to continue to work analogically as long as the tools and materials hold out.

Does this matter? I think so. I’m interested in the ways in which the analog world still engages my whole self. I’m much more conscious as I work in the film world of the importance of my hands, of working with my hands, and of the ways my body moves in space. I’m interested in working in film with students, teaching them handmade film techniques, and in having them experience media-making while working with their hands, placing them directly on the materials. Students could then bring this new (old) knowledge with them (back) into the digital realm in which they are already comfortable. Even directionality shifts. Another hybridity.

I appreciated Chris’s articulation of an artistic process. In his week 2-post, Chris writes:

So the way I work is very instinctive, I often start with what I can only describe as a feeling in the pit of my stomach. That is me feeling instantly connected to something. Then you work out how you will go about doing something about this. I.e. method, approach, material, form etc. It is all quite non verbal. Sometimes there is the germ of an idea, but it is missing a bit, so you may put it aside and wait awhile. At some point that last piece of the jigsaw will drop into place; you see something or read something. Maybe its an idea about the material to use, or the way to work. Whatever, it completes a circle whereby everything is related and whole. Then you can make the work.

I’ve been struggling to articulate this process myself. For me, the feeling isn’t in the “pit of my stomach” but rather in my solar plexus, under my heart. It feels like a physical “buzz,” and I try to foster it. It is the buzz that leads, for me.

As a pair of crazy philosophers remind me:

This is how it should be done: Lodge yourself on a stratum, experiment with the opportunities it offers, find an advantageous place on it, find potential movements of deterritorialization, possible lines of flight, experience them, produce flow conjunctions here and there, try out continuums of intensities segment by segment, have a small plot of new land at all times.
– Deleuze and Guattari , A Thousand Plateaus

If it is indeed a buzz, an instant connection, a flow, something non-verbal, we reach for different tools and materials to express or connect with it. Is that “hybridity”? Maybe. The word we used to use was “eclectic.” Sometimes, we reached for language metaphors. The scientific analogies, the appropriations, have their day now because it is these metaphors that seem most urgent, most relevant, perhaps even most fundable.

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