the real will be rare

Still from the brilliant film, “Weighing and Wanting,” by South African artist, William Kentridge.

From my previously unpublished journal of a half mile knit-to-the-sea, begun last May 2012.  Updated comments in brackets…

May 6, 2012
Beautiful, clear day today.  I knit and as usual my hands got very cold towards the end.  Two people, actually three, came up.  One man took a picture and said I looked like Whistler’s mother sitting so straight and tall.  This is a well-educated, cultured bunch.  A woman named Jenny told me they do a neighborhood block party in July and she’ll be sure to give me a flyer.  She asked if there would be publicity, a press release.  I said I am getting the word out–but one person at a time.  It’s becoming an important part of the piece–to be making it within and for a particular community.  “The real will be rare,” I remember my professor quoting Paul Cezanne. [But the only Cezanne quote that I can find  that comes close is: “The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution.”] There is something special about an event that is not broadcasted in the (impersonal) mass media.  Besides, I don’t want a time constraint.  On May 15, for example, Christen Mattix will finish knitting a line into the ocean.  Ideally, I would like to be done before the end of May, May being Mary’s month, Mary sounding like mer–French for sea.  The beauty of this piece is in the anticipation, in the holy expectation, of its completion.  I told one lady that I was knitting to the sea, and she smiled and said she could see it in her mind.  Is an event “real” if it is caught on camera, planned and executed?  I don’t think it’s as real as something that just happens…Today I didn’t videotape myself knitting and I’m thinking of getting rid of the camera all together.  I’m not sure about it, but I think it’s intimidating and off-putting and it frames the work as “art” or as “film” or “performance.”  I want the naked act itself.

 

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