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Before going to read, I called my friend in the ID to see if he would share a meal with me. He was home and willing. I've known Christian French for a few years. I've worked with him and for his and have seen his art. He's an exquisite artist, a collector and, to me, a bit of a teacher. Earlier this year, Christian mounted a large-scale installation on the Duawamish. Estuary was composed of 22 shipping containers stacked in playful poses. It offered an exchange between the natural world and our human activity. Christian says he is doing more than just playing with large blocks, he is playing with resonance. The piece brought hundreds of witnesses and performers to this site on the Duwamish, but from his perspective not nearly enough.
I offered my bread and cheese and salami. He offered glasses of luke warm tea, pickled herring and olives. We made a little table out of a box on a chair and sat talking about objects and about our attachment to objects and about collecting them and letting them pass through our lives. We talked about making art and what happens to the artist when they doesn't make art. I'm not sure non-artists quite understand how hard it is for an artist who is unable to make work. Maybe they're overwhelmed with their objects or with the work itself, or don't have adequate time or space or time, or are exhausted from their day job or from writing grants, or from struggling with poverty, or are spent on a family ordeal? An artist who cannot work eventually rot, not all the way through but in parts. Like old bread, they can be refreshed with a sprinkle of water and some time in the fire. The fire is one's life. It must be heated up just right, with the right effort and the right nourishment. This tonic must must be drunk in large doses. The water and temperature and time must right. Only then can the artist come to fruit.
Christian was exhausted both from working and from the amount of things to be done. He thinks he needs more space. I wondered, how he would keep from growing more projects with more space? He and I are on opposite ends of the object management spectrum. I am almost out of things and trying harder everyday to lose what I still have. I am not as exhausted as he is. I am floating. I've been struggling with the sense the bottom fell out. It's as if, at last, I found that deep connection, something true, then failed to pursue it with every atom and was so set away, into the alley with the dogs, until I learned how to receive it. We spent the hour talking and gobbling. It was a good meal and a good share and we made plans for future shares.