Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Some (vague) thoughts...

I did quite a bit of driving yesterday morning down to a photoshoot which itself took 5 hours then back and forth with other things. So much driving and cable-release-holding gives me a disturbing amount of time to think ... Never a good idea. The shoot itself went very well. It was the second phase at one venue with some of the images from the first phase being included in the qcp show. It wasn't really what I expected but it did fill up a few holes in older ideas.

On the way there I saw a sign - 'Senior citizen library' - that I first found amusing but then later engaging as a concept. The first thing that popped into my head was a group of elders who you could poke - or 'borrow' - for information. Looking at it with more distance I really like the idea of some form of digital archive of thoughts from those with more experience of life. Not so much a historical document of what life really was/is like but rather how it was/is perceived.

My initial ideas involved going to various elder 'outlets' and filming interviews but I actually prefer a crowd-sourced model. That way, he/she who is being filmed is potentially more comfortable and less inhibited.

I saw something similar whilst researching a location two years ago in that a writer interviewed some of the last protagonists on audio cassette prior to the venue closing. These were then archived at the state library. Similarly, photographic projects have been made where an artist engages with an environment close to it's closing to give a 'snapshot' of it's last moments.... Warts and all.

The other thought that has bounced around for the last week or so is an older concept that I've rather lazily not developed. Whilst shooting work in 2005 for 'What I Am' at breadbox, I noticed that I was drawn to measuring devices like gauges, rulers, wheelwright travelers, etc. Typically I personally avoid as much as possible measurement of my abilities as I've noticed how anxious this makes me. That said, such things do tend to populate my life and it does take up a significant patch of headspace.

As an example, at this time of year it does get a bit warm in Perth so we have a thermometer outside and well as one inside so we know the magic moment to open the doors and windows to cool the house. The other morning I woke up, opened all the doors and noticed how often I would glance at both thermometers rather than read my book. The same routine happens every night.

Similarly when driving, we spend so much of our time looking at the speedo or clock rather than the road. Others count, weigh and otherwise quantify swathes of variables in their lives to ensure what they are doing is 'right'.... The key problem being that what is 'right' varies from commentator to commentator so people run though their lives perpetually worried that they have it 'wrong'.

It's a vague - and not particularly unique - idea but something that was further prodded by said book - 'Omnivore's Dilemma' (Michael Pollan) - and how it puts you off a huge portion of the food landscape. As outlined in the book, marketers play on this right/wrong dilemma by using vague, non-consistent terms. The consumer is then confused by yet more variables and more likely to fall into their traps.

Disturbingly the book also introduces the concept of 'industrial organic' and how that also proves problematic. A classic example of this is the 'organic spaghetti in can' that I spotted on the shelf the other day.

Rant over....

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