Oct 212009

At the studio tonight, just being here and looking at the stuff that I have been puking out for the last little while. Sometimes it really feels like that… You get a wonky feeling in the gut, it feels like a beast from “Alien” trying to pop out of you. You hold it back, it hurts but there is work to be done; work is an overstatement, it is more like continuing to jump through the hoops hoping that you will wake up to a job in the morning… anyway

Back to making work, kinda. I am here, trying to get a sense of the overall picture. I know that I am fascinated with ideas around scale and measurement. Firstly because it can fit absolutely any imagery or concept a person can think up. This makes things easy in a way. But the idea of measurement is more prominently linked to the idea of convention. A convention is something that everybody seems to agree on so it becomes true by default. The best example of this is 1+1=2, believe it or not, this has never been truly proven; it has been showed that defining the term 1 is impossible.
Historically, measurements were established quite arbitrarily. The architect Louis Etienne Boulée established a measurement called a boulée. A boulée was the distance between the tip of his extended index finger to his elbow, everyone of his buildings (there were only six) were built with this dimension as its basis.

This was a planned monument to Isaac Newton. It was never built.

With this in mind; what the heck is an inch or a centimeter? They are nothing but something a whole bunch of people called experts agree on. Everything we do, everything we make is based on the ideas of so-called experts. This is what I am getting at in the big picture. How do we decide who the experts are and why is what they say able to become the default of how we describe the world?

I have this job, it is called being a “professor”. What am I professing? As far as I am concerned, if I can teach people to doubt, to question, to refute in an intelligent and researched way, I have been successful. But at the same time, this means that I am asking my students to understand that I am a pro at B.S. and this means that I have to be ready to defend and discuss every single word that I say. THAT is work, that is me doing my job.

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