I’m about to start the second leg of my project Tracks and Sleepers. It started out as an experiment into unlocking creativity and opening discussion with others. Part travel blog, part oblique strategies and part social media game, Tracks and Sleepers sees me travelling by train from Scotland to Singapore, then back from Istanbul to Inverkeithing.
The premise is fairly simple, with the help of flip Artists, I asked people via social media to send me a ‘task’ which could be a creative exercise (such as “write to the rhythm of your current movement”) or a question (what is the point of art?). These questions were collected by flip, randomised and put into blank envelopes. Each day on my trip I open an envelope and respond to the task. The results are posted on here. Tracks because I planned to be writing music. Sleepers because I was encouraging people to ask me questions about living with M.E. / C.F.S.
By the time I had arrived in China I had found a comfortable rhythm and a wonderful sense of reflection. The train was like a gently rocking asylum and I had found a place where the work was not what I made, the work was the doing, the being an artist with M.E. crossing the world and responding to social media.
This shifted my perspective dramatically, I felt more of a process driven work with documentation and less a product driven output. Focussing on the how and the message of making rather than the outcome of my effort, I somehow found a richer place, somewhere between composing, performance art and social media. I didn’t separate who I am from what I am making, the making is continuous.
During my 2 month stop in Beijing (for the project Remembered Futures) I felt some of this centre slipping away, and my focus becoming more on the output of RF, underpinned by a series of defined outcomes which are prescribed through our funding process. This shifts the way that work develops and for me, makes gentle creativity suffer at the hand of structured production.
Now, on my way to the China / Vietnam border I can start to feel that place of reflection, the quiet being which allows a voice to bubble up from inside. It’s not as clear, but it’s like starting any creative process again, you start from where you are and find a way in.
You can follow my way back at here.