Monday, February 26, 2007

Show Busy

I've been refining ideas for my installation, Sex Tourist, at Art Melbourne '07. I'm still adapting to the mindset shift required for conceptual work, even at a very basic level. I'm so used to working alone in two dimensions that I have to remind myself constantly that the drawings I make of the installation are just maps – nothing more than technical diagrams of logistical problems – and not artworks.
I am completely unfamiliar with almost all of the materials and technology that I need to realise the concept. I don't know the names of some of the things I want to use and I don't know if they even exist. It's a new experience to be pulling together disparate strands of elements beyond my usual expertise while undergoing a steep learning curve about how things work and how I might make them work for me. I have researched new materials before, but only in a conventional, even old fashioned, sense. I have certainly never worked at this speed.
My days involve a flurry of emails and calls which are outside what I once thought of as the norm for a working artist: for example, contacting a major chemical company to find out about a light conducting plastic film, or talking with an audio expert about 24-bit digital recording, or buying equipment from a rather spooky electronic surveillance specialist (don't ask!). Some elements of the installation will be manufactured for me, some installed by specialists. For a control freak like me, trusting the expertise and advice of other people is probably the most difficult part. Sometimes I feel like I am mounting a film production or directing some circus-like event rather than creating an artwork - although I guess, in some ways, I am doing all of those.

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