Sunday, August 5, 2012

Phase 2 - be prepared for good things, intro

Minis-in-a-box (with a can instead of a coin for scale)
Despite the fact that I was an honorary boy scout (a story for another day, that), Phase 2 is a challenge for me because I'm generally more of a "defensive pessimist."  Having given it some thought though, I think being prepared for something good to happen is different than expecting it - expectation implies inevitability (which I don't believe in), where as preparation is a state of readiness, "just in case." Being prepared, to me, does not indicate expectation, but is more about acknowledging the possibility of good things as one potential future among many.

I think the "just in case," ties in to a fundamental characteristic of art-making - that art always starts with a "what if...?"  One reason I never worry about running out of ideas is that I could go back to any work and start asking "what ifs" and end up with something new: what if I'd started bigger/smaller, prepared the surface rougher/smoother, worked on a circle instead of a rectangle, used gray instead of red, used a mirror image of the figure (and on and on and on).

*Theory moment: I think this is what the philosophers Deleuze and Guattari mean when they say that the virtual world is always more than reality and that reality is a reduction of virtual possibilities down to a single actuality (saddness).

But to refocus, I think it's a good thing in terms of art to always be asking "what if," but sometimes it seems like there are so many more "what ifs" associated with failure than success, that it's hard not to lose sight of the possibility of something good. So the question for Phase 2 is: what if something good happened?  If a gallery, museum, or grant committee called me tomorrow and wanted my work, would I be prepared in a concrete way?  Can I devote/adapt my time/space to be better prepared?

One idea: build a database.
As I mentioned in the project description, I think one of the great things about time/space management is that it leaves behind data, which can then be organized (and color-coded!).  I love charts, graphs, databases, and spreadsheets, especially art-related ones. If MOMA called me tomorrow and wanted an artwork (since I'm channeling the virtual here, I might as well go big) what would I need to know:

thumbnail image of piece (starting with the visual, makes the record easy to find quickly, confirms the right info for the right piece, and verifies the condition in a date-stamped format)
type: (drawing, painting, sculpture, etc)
title: (good to be consistent)
date: (I never forget my work, but I can forget the dates)
size: (same thing)
medium: (good to record this for future care/preservation, because I use so many different things)
price: (yes)
location/ owner: (I dream of having color coded flat files and vertical storage someday...)
publication/ exhibition history: (my, my, we are ambitious ;) )
display: (framed/ unframed, requires a pedestal, etc.)
notes: (because there should always be room for more info)

Once built, I'll be able to sort by any heading (I want to see all the work from 2011, I want to see all the paintings in acrylic), and I can make sure to have the database backed up so that my photos and records are more resistant to loss (thinking about a hard drive failure only violates the "be prepared for good things" principle if the data is irrecoverable :)).

I'm not sure how long this will take me - it's a pretty ambitious undertaking, but then, it wouldn't be a project without goals, right?