There's just a week to go before my 'sharing' event for my Waleslab Digging Down project. And just a few days before my collaborators, Chris. Dugrenier and Sam Fox arrive to work with me on the project R&D for five days. Then we have 4 days of working together, exploring the ideas in the project, and composing at least some of those ideas, before we have our 'sharing event' over supper in the barn, and then two pop up restaurants on the following nights. There is so much to do! I sometimes feel the theme of the fragment, or absence, is taking over.... what is missing > than what's present!
I thought by now that I'd have things pretty much sorted (I would, if I was working as a facilitator), but really things - ideas, artworks, research, installations, practicalities - are just coming thicker and faster every day. I had a bit of a panic that I was losing the project in the practicalities, as though I have become an outsider, looking in. But today I realised that I'm enjoying mixing all these aspects of my artwork, and I think the project is becoming stronger because of them.
Perhaps we always need the outsider view to help us move on. I have moved on immeasurably since Sam and Chris came up a couple of weeks ago for a pre-visit. And there have been many visitors to the barn in the last few days - Janice, Ed, Will, Gethin. Each has helped me practically. Janice, who lives a couple of doors up, helped me with finding and doing a rubbing of the grave of Mrs Smith, and Ed with installing the wire ball of our old fence more safely,
Gethin re-did our electrics, and Will gave me the opportunity to talk about the theme of time and entropy that underpins my work.
Phil, our next door neighbour came round to tell me of some of the people who used to live here, in Coed Gwydr, the Lynas-Grays - artists, and the parents of Mrs Smith. And watching people look around the barn has given me really useful feedback about what seems to be working, and what not.
And another outsider view has been incredibly helpful: Louise Osborn, our dramaturg, who is going to be working with us, but 'from the outside looking in', has been sending us useful pointers and questions. I sent her through my notes about the themes in Digging Down. All 17 pages of it! She saw through it all, right to the heart of it:
"What came through for me most strongly was the idea of all things being in a state of transition and change - through the process of entropy and senescence. That each of us is simply a 'caretaker' of the present - that we don't really have control over the past or the future - that we are biological beings and 'of nature' - but we surround ourselves in ephemera as an illusion of permanence. Leaving our traces, our tracks, our legacy."
Louise also suggested "it might be worth drawing forth one or two questions that reside at the heart of your intended discourse ... so that you are beginning the distillation/ selection process during your R&D week, guided by your intention".
And I fully intend to do that! But of course, only time will tell....