I don’t feel especially confident with my August update and am somewhat reluctant to write. I haven’t made much art. I’ve been miraculously pragmatic and clever with my finances and career planning. I’ve been going to interviews for positions that promise interesting and relevant teaching experience for the qualifications I have thus far acquired. I’ve earned money. I’ve found a home in which, for all its flaws, I feel very happy and mentally free, and I am sensibly looking in advance for my next living situation. I am remarkably practical and daydreamy at the same time. But I haven’t made much art. I don’t have a focus. I have a childlike desire that directs its enthusiasm everywhere. Everything enthralls me and I am content doing nothing.
I am excited by the dangers of our time, and of the potential to participate in the world’s deliverance from destruction by the force of some great utopian global upheaval that will be remembered in history. I work to fashion myself into something exemplary, advanced from the age of consumerism into a conscientious being that is poised wisely between her faculties of traditional lore and technological nimbleness. Somebody industrious, yet peaceful; in touch with nature and digitally savvy. I am interested in contemporary design and lifestyle principles inclined towards a reconciliation between the primitive and the technological. Today’s minimalism preaches a withdrawal or reconsideration of received consumer habits. Owning less, becoming light, making room in one’s home but also in one’s mind. Minimalists attempt to keep their possessions to a bare minimum to increase their spiritual capital by practising management of desire and appreciation for what one already has. But it’s not only a moral cleansing or asceticism they strive towards, rather, an indulgence of a different kind. Spending money on travelling for instance, or gaining skills, or events, as opposed to material goods that then become a burden by obsolescence and sheer physical weight. The Youtube videos of (mostly girls) promoting this lifestyle I found appealing, though also disturbingly fetishistic. I couldn’t deny the desire I felt towards the shots of minimalist interiors and the characters of the authors themselves. Simply the seductive quality of contemporary self published videos is enough to win me over! General design practices have improved considerably since social media began to permeate our lives. The production quality of vlogs and blogs, their shiny finish and smooth edits, are really top notch for a large margin of amateur publishers (though many of these amateurs soon turn professional as a result).
I don’t even know why I’m talking about this. It would seem on the surface of things that an aesthetic association with minimalist or social media design principles interest me as a kind of visual research in my practice, but it is at once both more philosophical and more pathetic than that. I am genuinely questioning what matters every day, and art is my chosen language for substantiating these desires and their implications. I am utterly driven by my jealousy. Those airy, expansive minimalist rooms, consisting only of white walls, clean wooden floors and a mattress on the floor and a clothes rack with carefully chosen, sparse garments invested with love, fill me with inexplicable rapture. I look at such a space, realising that’s what I want the inside of my brain to look like. Decluttered and so light that thoughts seem to levitate freely.
I am reading avidly, whatever I can get my hands on. Generally easier reads than what I’ve been gruelling over through the university terms: novels and light non fiction. I noticed that I write better, and am more inclined to write, while I am reading something. It is the long stretches of public transport journeys that lead to my spending a couple of hours a day reading. Right now it’s Ian McEwan’s Atonement. A modern classic, they made a movie of it. I’m firing anywhere. I asked my mum to select a bunch of literature from her shelf for me, and that’s my reading list. I am hoping to stir something by introducing pictures to my life. Making new friends here and there, perhaps learning a new skill.
I have lost touch somewhat with my world though. I want to write my novel, but I am not depressed as I was when I started writing it. And I think the novel is about depression. It translates the condition into a set of imaginary physical symptoms, an invisible veil that entirely encapsulates my body and renders all touch artificial; a pair of eyes that drip off my face like a plague. Ought one go back, try to remember where one was in order to continue? Or merely let that go and write something new and uncensored right on top of the foundations, unconcerned with the awkward seam between foundation and renovation? The story itself is rather threadless, a series of episodic instances. It’s supposed to be that way but when I reread it I find that the links between chapters are rather too loose. I think I want there to be a thread, a causal flow. How to reconcile that with the extreme disorientation of my character?