Monday, 29 August 2011
reflection on action
It may be really obvious to say this but I've recently discovered that as I create these textual collages about my recent experiences on Arran, as a way of 'visual thinking', that unless I write notes as I create, then subsequent writing about them can only be an interpretation of the visual content.
Yes, I know this sounds obvious, but it wasn't intentionally done. I hadn't realised what a difference it would make. I found that such was my intense feeling at the time, I couldn't write, I just had to make, with my hands, touch familiar materials and do it all intuitively, Writing would have been out of place within this action/response. I also didn't have time to think. This is especially true of the second, lower work featured above, when I used old, familiar objects from my studio windowsill to express my 'head', as it were. There is so much empty, white space on the paper, the objects chosen are quietly tied down, the paper, the most delicate I have here, almost translucent, has been neatly pleated but the torn edges are irregular. I used the minimum of imagery to speak volumes. I wonder why? Might it be that with great depth of feeling, rather than breadth of feeling, words are no longer effective? Only the visual will suffice? It leaves the work open to interpretation and the understanding and communication needs to be implicit.
Not rocket science, but thinking on Schon's Reflection in and on action, I can see disadvantages. Both methodologies offer insight, but each quite different to the other. Writing , at the time of creating, gives an accurate description but may miss elements which silently slip into the frame and it's only later, when viewed again, that these elements are obvious? Might this have happened anyway if I'd written words at the time of making the second one? I don't know.
I suppose it's not a case of either reflection in action or on action but that both are necessary, to give a fuller 'picture'?
But then, it all gets rather clinically objective, with 'self' in the 'frame', like a specimen in a jar?
I welcome comments/thoughts on this as I 'reflect' further.