Thursday, 28 May 2009


"We've disguised ourselves
as an extraterrestrial invasion
so as to not alarm people
with what's really going on."
An Entity to Terence McKenna

My emotional involvement with events of the past week have made it difficult to shift focus for the end of the next. This will pass of course, but that doesn't make it any easier in the moment. Not for me, anyway.

But first, remiss would be not to at least attempt to convey just how astonishing it was to witness the extent to which our species continues to utilize the overhead projector, the results of which are anything but primitive. Not that there'd be anything wrong with that.

Everything from Ivan's presentation on the subject of Powerpoint - which despite being basic in its straightforwardness, went barely understood - to the multitude of performances too numerous to mention, let alone link to (this assertion is supported by the fact that that last link doesn't list all the performers, and not all of the ones listed are linked).

Kristoffer reminded us that this energy-chewing machine's origins involve the illumination and projection of bowling scores and managed to reference both The Simpsons and The Big Lebowski in the process; Christian showed us how to hack one for the purposes of creating a lower power version, or alternatively for installing a dimmer switch; Ralf instructed Kate in the building of a motor.

The last two paragraphs only cover the presentation and workshop aspects of the week, and clicking through the list of participant performers still only scratches the surface. And still, I've yet to mention the myriad of installations. But I can't get my head around that right now either.

Now, on to Poland. But wait. I'm stuck somewhere, not sure where, maybe Sweden or Denmark. The twenty-minute train over the bridge back to Copenhagen would seem an auspicious way to get home again. EasyJet cancelling our flight to Berlin would not. I guess my carbon footprint for May was a bit too big for my stride.

Well there are certainly worse things than not being able to sync our coming with our arriving. I have yet to arrive emotionally and I helped to hasten my dis-ease by deciding to backup immeasurable amounts of work just moments after coming through my bedroom door. I only realized after clicking on the folder containing five keyboard templates full of triggers and all of their source audio files that I hadn't backed anything up at all; I'd only dragged an icon, creating a shortcut to information I'd since deleted. To give one an idea how much this "immeasurable amount of work" entails:

-Disc space before deletion = Just under 3 GB
-Disc space after deletion = Just over 9 GB
The work began over two years ago spanning months.
After a year-and-a-half sabbatical, it continued...
For several weeks.

It felt like losing pints of blood, and since I've had that experience literally, I don't use the expression lightly.

But there is something else to consider. The week in Malmö was not all hunky-dory. As a matter of fact, it was downright unpleasant at times. Now, the creative process should not always be pleasant, per se, but what I am talking about here is not your average stress-under-deadline manifest in such situations. No, what I am talking about is complex emotional stress.

I have long wondered what'd brought me to this project even though I always knew the answer to the question "who". Kate Donovan asked me to do this. It is because of her that I'd gratefully looked forward to traveling to Sweden with a pair of dear friends and colleagues and to have a good time doing something unusual, doing something I'd enjoyed immensely already.

Throughout our time creating these shows together, I haven't always felt worthy of the collaboration, however: I can't draw for shit, and I've spent a goodly amount of time struggling to understand just what the hell Kate and Hans were talking about. Just when I'd felt worthless, though, I would always manage to do something to realize my worth: Improvising a roller before we had a real one; actually drawing my favorite bit in one of the shows; coming up with small ideas or making suggestions which leave their mark.

What does one do, though, when two collaborators are constantly bumping heads, alternatively retreating into damaged silence? In some cases, the answer to this question would be to "mediate" or "moderate" but in this case (or in my case) the answer was to retreat into damaged silence.

So I went from feeling blessed to feeling misery, which was actually me mistaking my having had enough. Now I find it appropriate to say that the bad thing about my having stupidly deleted tedium is that it happened so suddenly (compressing the feeling of loss into one moment) and, worse, is an indication of stupidity, or, more diplomatically, shortsightedness.

But how shortsighted? I mean, what better way to move forward than to not spend too much time dwelling on the past, or that which we can't change to make the future more positive. Anyway, these words reflect the mere projection of my reality, and by definition must diverge from others' perceptions at least a little. So it is with much consideration that I say moving on from this project would not mean the end of the world for either of my compatriots.

We performed remarkably well in Sweden when it came time to do so, especially Kate and Hans. I am happy with the result and was inspired by the other contributors to the event. That I can't see a future in the same does not preclude the inspiration and friendship that will continue to enrich me and, by extension I hope, others.

Susanne Meier displayed skilled patience in capturing the following video documentation, for which she has my sincere gratitude.

Milk Milk Lemonade performing The Title
at Stapelbäddsparken in Malmö, Sweden
The Art of the Overhead, 23 May 2009

Part II