In a recent interview with founding COUM Transmissions and Throbbing Gristle founding member Cosey Fanni Tutti retrospectively describes her art practice as “Just working with what presented itself, you know, going to jumble sales and finding these fantastic hoards, bringing [them] home and creating a small art work in the house, or costumes that would suggest something we could do, all ad hoc, based on chance, the way I still like it.” This touches on a couple of ideas that came up in the mid point review discussions yesterday.
The first, the idea of unknowing collection, of accumulating materials with no intention as a means of sparking action research by presenting a starting point that already has a process in place – that of collection. The other is the idea of acting on accident, or working with an input out of our control. One relevant example of this is the use of found footage – found in the traditional sense, whereby the results are entirely dependent on what is developed from a particular batch of film/tape/files, rather than selective sourcing from online. I have, in the past, had rolls of film developed that I’ve found in second hand cameras that have had fascinating and surprisingly relevant material on them – one in particular had two shots from a civil rights march that took place in the late 1960s (below, something that could be unearthed and used now?). Mini DV tapes bought second hand on eBay also occationally still have footage on. Something to actively search for? I had considered the possibility of using found footage to interweave into my final project’s documentary narrative, much like the narrative constructed from YouTube found footage in Leo Gabin’s A Crackup At The Race Riots.
On accumulation I actually have a fairly substantial and meaningful practice underway. Since the day I first went to a gig around age 13 I have been collecting tickets for everything that seemed significant in my life – every ticketed gig, theatre show, exhibition, aeroplane ride – knowing I would one day have a use for them. The initial idea was, once I had accumulated what felt like a lifetime’s worth of experiences, to record by scanning or photocopying and ceremoniously burn the originals. Though I certainly do not feel like I have a life’s worth of experiences to set ablaze, the process of documenting is an attractive one given the memories it will no doubt stir. The idea would simply be to arrange face down onto an A4 or A5 space and scan in no particular order, possibly binding together an a kind of first volume of experiences. As this would be fairly time consuming and I would want to give the appropriate attention to each ticket and associated experience, possibly noting down said experience in some way, this would have to be done over the course of numerous weeks/months/however long such a job takes.