a list: 27 April - 2 May
The last week has been weird and trying. I’ve felt teary eyed a lot of the time. I even feel teary eyed right now, writing this. I also haven’t done anything of note to write about. At all. I did go on a Sunday morning photoshoot with Jake, which involved me taking photos of him naked up a tree. I could spin that into something exciting, erotic even. But I’m not sure I cba.
I suppose I have been reading and listening to a few things. I’ll make a list. It’s the only way I’m able to create order right now, as my internal world falls apart a bit. Also, as Umberto Eco said, making lists of things is “a way of escaping thoughts about death. We like lists because we don’t want to die”. Uhhhhh.
1. Jungian psychoanalyst James Hollis on hauntings a metaphor for complexes and projections
Hollis argues that the universal belief in spirits, ghosts and phantoms throughout history is a way for humans to conceive of the past’s power over the present, and to make sense of the way in which all time coexists within our pysches. Experiences of the past – of our personal history, ancestral history and even universal history – play out in our daily lives, effecting the way we engage with new experiences. Humans like repeating patterns. We struggle to encounter newness without bringing baggage to the table. He argues that this is why we sometimes have fear based reactions to strangers, and even fall in love.
Here’s a quote from Jung: “Spirits, when viewed from the psychological angle are unconscious, autonomous complexes, that appear as projections because they have no direct association with the ego”.
I think a lot about projection. A and I first met in a writing workshop on zoom, and then slid into each other’s DMs. We talked about Sophie Calle and the existential boredom we were both feeling, the need to go to a fucking bar (it was February in lockdown). We had a zoom date, thinly veiled as a feedback session on an audio work I was working on for an event we were both taking part in. We transitioned to WhatsApp. One day, whilst we were texting, he called me on the phone. I was genuinely shocked – what lunatic calls someone they haven’t even met irl. We spoke for three hours.
We met in London a few days later. After the encounter, I was totally disinterested. The irl version of this person was a total disruption to the – I’ll admit it – projection I had formed. I mean, like Hollis says projection is always in place when you fall for someone. (Does the way they move their mouth remind you of an ex? Of a character you loved on a tv show you watched as a teenager? Of a parent?). But the whole possibility of projection, of fantasy, is so heightened through a screen. Especially if you have set up your webcam lighting perfectly and can’t stop staring at your own face on the zoom call.
After a falling apart, we came back together. (A refers to the interim as the time I tried to ghost him). I allowed my brain to acclimatise to a reality, to eliminate a past, fabricated fantasy. I realised how much I liked him. And how unusual it was to be able to bare speaking to someone on the phone for seven hours in one day.
A laments the fact that, so far, his character in my writing seems quite two-dimensional. I explained that it’s somewhat intentional.
“At least you’ve levelled up from ‘a guy I’m in the very early stages of seeing’ to having an initial. There's room for an upward trajectory!”
I thought about maybe adding an extra letter to the initial to demarcate an incremental attachment. Ah for now then.
2. I’m re-reading The Philosophy of Andy Warhol, which is, quite possibly, at the moment, one of my favourite books.
It completely undoes this idea of him as plastic. Well, I mean, he likes plastic things; television, cookies and celebrity. But he authentically likes those things, and explores them in such unusual ways. No shit, this is Warhol’s whole schtick!, blah blah, but the erudite attention he gives to the experience of wanting to eat sweets for dinner rather than protein is something that gives me a lot of joy.
Quotes from Andy:
“I believe in low lights and trick mirrors. A person is entitled to the lighting they need.”
“Fantasy love is much better than reality love. Never doing it is very exciting. The most exciting attractions are between two opposites that never meet.”
“I never fall apart because I never fall together.”
“I had a lot of dates, but I decided to stay home and dye my eyebrows.”
3. On Wednesday, I spent a lot of time frantically googling and reading about compartmentalising, as I struggled to balance making art, my emotions, living and working at DARP, and having irl jobs.
I didn’t learn much, besides the fact that compartmentalising is GOOD. We should be able to put all our emotions and three jobs and life passions into separate boxes and only think about them in carefully planned out time-blocks. I also learnt that compartmentalising too much is BAD. That it could result in too many boundaries, too many walls and too much escapism from reality. Too much fantasy, I suppose.
None of the articles told me how to actually compartmentalise though. Still wondering how to stop everything from swimming around simultaneously in my head. The excel spreadsheets are sort of helping, I guess. As are the lists.
4. Six Memos for the Next Millennium, Italo Calvino
In this text, Calvino explores five virtues he believes to be at the core of great literature. (There would have been six, but he died :S). Sometimes, I find it useful to remind myself of them before I start making any art. They work pretty well for making visual work too.
The virtues are:
4. I listened to a playlist from 2015 by Perfect Sound Forever on NTS every single day last week. Multiple times.
It makes me feel sort of like it’s the end of the world, but it’s very beautiful and I have a purpose, a mission. It also allows me to astral project out of Derbyshire and into a landscape that reminds me of Mad Max.
It's good to make art to.