about: glyphs

http://www.christinamcphee.net/category/projects/drawings/glyph-drawings/

 

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This is a project in calligraphic life drawing. I ‘draw to” the performance of writing by hand, arm and body; and also ‘draw from’ biological morphologies in the non-human realm. I am at the start of a new body of work dealing with drawn bio-forms as a primary lexicon. These are the glyphs. They go into and out of layered, open, discrete shapes, beginning in small scale in many notebooks. They associate with scripts, notes and ephemera. They move into large scale topologic drawings. I take heliotropic notations of light inside my drawing shed. I layer the light-notations within matrices of the vector-like shapes first found in the notebooks. Glyphs disappear into and emerge within a densely layered material of ink marks, watercolor lines of pigment, and graphite sfumato. I throw, or shed notations, as if the shed’s interiors are loose sheets in a giant field notebook. Drawings form from a series of provisional observations (teorema). Significations arise in the experience of the space in front of the drawings. In this way the drawings are performative writing– they throw out, shed, cast topologies. I am interested in how at larger scales these glyphs suggest a semantic, even an aphasic space created by rhythms of partial pulse-iterations. Aphasia is traumatic, partial, propellent speech- at the edge of intelligible. The massing of abstract line is a flame-like, tongues-of-fire dispositive that dissipates incandescently at the edges, throwing off sparks, like small syllables, bits of code.

 

Beginning with empirical observation, moving through performative marking, the glyphs open up tentative testing spaces, observing resonance between drawing and life. Now I am drawing from marine and littoral forms of life. Oceans are in crisis in response to anthropogenic conditions. I am constantly thinking about how to model or visualize the ‘hyper-object’– those impossible to imagine conditions of global climate change–as drawn links, touching on figurations near (my hand, my legs, my total body as I draw on the floor…) and far (marine life at 1200 meters…). Einstein suggests we think of space-time as like a mollusk in form. In December 2010, I shot video for six days on board a marine biology research voyage in the Gulf of Mexico (at the invitation of Dr Suzanne Fredericq, University of Louisiana Lafayette). Our aim was to investigate the biodiversity impacts on deep water and continental shelf biospheres, after the BP oil spill of summer 2010. The shock of seeing thousands of crustaceans, deep sea bioluminescent fish, sponges and algae come up from the ocean at midnight and the early hours of the morning, into the intense white light of the lab on board ship, infected my dreams. It threw a curve into the notion of the glyph. I see the profuse sea life as an aphasic alphabet. Assemblages of time-images carry forward the sense of the post-human biome- we within the sea and not without it. In the drawing shed, I am making the glyphs cluster and disperse in large spatial arrays. I am concerned with displacements into and out of this alphabet soup– a pre-language ‘written on the body’ of the ecological system of the ocean. En masse, the glyphs produce differentials not limited by abstract expression, nor by analytical illustration.The glyph drawings resonate to contemporary performance art actions involving drawing and writing in the public space. I visualize a macro-commons through the marine syntax–topologies of communication among live ‘things.’ Our oceans ourselves.

 

 

 

Swerves inside apparently self-internalizing structures (like the mollusk). Lucretius writes of the clinamen, or swerve, in De rerum natura: the swerve, or clinamen, is the generative site, rather, the generator, of creation of new life… One might have thought this turning round and round inside goes nowhere. But the twist happens just in the nick of time…stimulates new ‘wonderful life’ in the breach…Forced, like an amaryllis bulb, to emerge through applications of light and water, twists of the forms…reach a moment of blooming when their clusterings move to an edge of dissipation… The ‘queer’ is a twist (twerk) that may signal or ally with the ‘kairotic’ moment, when little Kairos, sidekick of Aphrodite, appears…that moment of opportunity when in anticipation of catastrophic loss at the end of the inward spiral we notice something new and strange. There ‘s debris lying about, shards, shavings, bits. The ‘surviving image’ (Aby Warburg) is made of these…generative fragments…digital photographic files turned and twisted…mark-making at the edges of the turn, or swerve between the edges of things and their site, sometimes in time through the moving images.. Then the new presentation of a new thing is something like a prospectus, not a dispositive so much as really a predictive. A model’s distinguishing trait is only its prospective character, its incompleteness, its living on the edge of the swerve, it maybe stimulating a swerve in another… its lack is the guarantee of its largesse.

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