The Sadness of Being Nothing
October 23, 2015 § 1 Comment
This image is from an assemblage piece called VIGIL, made last winter in freezing conditions in my studio. It was made to honour Spanish Republican exiles who fled Spain to be held captive behind barbed wire in the interment camps on the beaches of France in February 1939.
This post is about that moment when your blogs collide.
I’ve been feeling the need to nurture my art blog space a little. SO much of my energy has been taken with this exploration here, that I’ve been neglecting my other home at a-n (artists’ newsletter blog site). I’m not complaining but I definitely miss my other home.
So I’ve been applying a little elbow grease over there, breaking my blog drought and putting my creative thoughts in order. Today I wrote about Developing a multi-form practice, with some references to the way my neurology influences my working methods. Reading it through I found (as on previous occasions) an extraordinary parallel with my theme of exile and the autistic experience. Such a moment occurs when I describe my new performance piece, entitled, The Sadness of Being Nothing. It has an exact literary reference in the diaries of a Spanish Republican exile writer called Max Aub, and is translated and slightly adapted from the original phrase in Castilian Spanish. Aub’s writing gives us an incredible insight into the state of exile, and elements of it have become something of a touchstone in my own work. It helps me interpret aspects of my father’s emotional responses to exile and my own unconscious inheritance of this as post memory trauma.
I wrote this about my performance piece,
“So my performance for Bangor digs deep into my post memory research, and deep into some of the more painful aspects of my family history. I will be referencing this obliquely, as the thrust of the piece is a more general meditation on exile, which spans over time from 1939 -2015, to encompass the current refugee crisis. The title of my piece, The Sadness of Being Nothing, refers to displacement; a silencing, a becoming invisible to birth culture, an expulsion from it’s history.
It’s about journey and it’s weight, journey and it’s traces.
I will be creating an action, with a suitcase filled with symbolic objects. I’m not sure yet whether I will create a shrine, as I usually do. My intention is always to transform experience, speak to history and attempt ritual healing. This time it feels a little different and I may need to leave the piece more open…”
I find I could be talking about autism. In the past, I have allowed my work to reach into contemporary spaces, and there have been moments when my work has attempted to show solidarity with autistic causes, like for example, the San Francisco Bay Area Day of Mourning, in 2014 and 2015. Similarly this piece will also reach across time and culture, encompassing the intersection of autism and exile in my own experience and in a wider history.
So perhaps this is the way I can begin to develop my ND activism, within the freedom of the artistic zone I talked about towards the end of my last post Shifting the Elephant. We’ll see.