(With apologies to both William Shakespeare and the Mighty Boosh for the mashed-up title of this post... did you see the episode of the Boosh when Vince and Howard are out in the desert with Carlos Santana? He has a wooden door in the middle of his towering bouffant, through which lies the pathway to his very great wisdom – pearls of which are expressed via searing guitar solos. This week, I opened MY door to an unsuspecting audience in the Planetarium – without a guitar I hasten to add. Though maybe it would have added something... hmmmmm... where's my Strat? Perhaps a daily one o'clock axe break to punctuate the rhythms of the Science Centre...)
So Simon passes the baton to me, the second occupant of the Observatory – and the studio space assumes a new character, the vessel of another collection of meditations, objects and processes. Does this add another sprinkling of Phillip Pullman's 'dust' to the space I wonder? Yet more particles of resonance to add to Simon's; a cloud that that each of us in succession will enlarge and enrich, turning the structure from architectural space into cultural artifact – a place of resonance...
And on to last Thursday and the throwing open of my Door: a pleasingly chaotic affair, with (for one reason or another) neither the Science or the Art wings of the operation claiming ownership of the occasion. But far from being a problem, I thought that was great. You see, instead of it being an Artist's Talk or an Astronomical Lecture, it became a Tall Bloke standing up and sounding off on a romp through the 20,000 history of Planetaria (based on personal reminiscence)! A tumbling cascade of paintings, objects, ritual and place. Who – or what – is he?
Consequently, it seemed that the Arty lot (there for an Artist's Talk) sat there thinking "why isn't he talking about his Art?" and the (presumably) more Astronomically inclined "who the hell does this Artist chappie think he is, blathering on about Archaeology, Anthropology and all that?" I might have that all wrong, but it's a pleasing thought. Without the usual societal designations, a certain sense of misrule emerges and everyone loses their bearings a bit in the resulting fog. But, in the context of the Observatory, that ought to be a good thing. It's there to challenge hierarchies and silo thinking isn't it?
I do have to admit though that my 'performance' was a little tumbling, probably reflecting the raw nature of my thinking. But, that said, it is early in the residency and everything jolly well ought to be a bit half-baked if a truthful approach to the creative process is being maintained. Personally speaking, to put stuff out there in this fashion is an incredibly effective way of fast-tracking the development process. Consequently, I've learnt not to be afraid of doing a bit of thinking in public...
So, the event, whilst perhaps not the most polished, was an honest lifting of the bonnet on the creative process. And, if one of the objectives of the Observatory is to give insight into the creative process, that ought to be a very good thing.
The best bit was the chat in the cafe afterwards. There will be more of that I hope...
PS. The image is not from the Mighty Boosh – it's by Edward S. Curtis and is entitled 'Dancing to restore an eclipsed moon'
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!