On October 12, the Arts Research Center at UC Berkeley and the Curatorial Practice at the California College of the Arts are partnering to host a live-streaming of the Creative Time Summit, an annual conference in New York that brings together cultural producers–including artists, critics, writers, and curators–to discuss how their work engages pressing issues affecting our world. To jump-start the conversation in advance of the event, attendees have been asked to submit a paragraph on a keyword associated with one of the summit themes: Inequities, Occupations, Making, or Tactics. This posting is by Kyra Kennedy, American Cyberculture student at UC Berkeley.
On making objects. For me that begins sometimes with an impulse, sometimes with an idea. But usually the impulse turns into something because ideas are like dreams – they come and they go. And then, after a while that impulse turns into an established behavior. I think then, after a while, can one learn about what it is really about, the deepening process happens, the connection of dots. Sometimes I make ceramic things. Sometimes I make a great gloppy painting full of layers and layers and things that are hidden and could only be found with an MRI. I think about that. About taking pictures of things with an x-ray machine or a magnetic resonance image-producer – but I haven’t done it yet. Sometimes I feel the impulse to go and collect something somewhere. I have usual spots that I go to get specific objects, and these are normally long-term projects. Truthfully, most of these processes are long-term response-oriented projects. I make drawings of these things. I make writings in response to these things, to these actions, to these repetitious acts. Sometimes I drive long distances to successfully investigate a process or an idea or a response. I invest great amounts of time, hours, and cash to support these investigations, but it’s all worth it if I’ve got it. It’s what I need to do at the time to further the project, to further me, to further my part of humanity or the collective consciousness, if you believe in that. I spend time in the plaster room, subverting it to the clay building room. I may even frustrate the hell out of my professors, but I truly hope they understand that I do it so that I may have more concentration with my work. Because it’s true that I usually end up working on things in most frequently quite solitary conditions. And that’s alright. Either that, or with someone that I feel pretty comfortable around to successfully work around. I have spent time tracing back my origins to my making things, of course, where it always starts, in childhood. I think of early drawings I made, of how the struggles I encountered when faced with a grasshopper or a butterfly may have translated into my love of the abstract – so that I may never again have to feel that tension of making something perfectly rendered – and of learning to love the imperfectly perfect line, the sketch, of how I am very gesture-oriented, way beyond my art-making life. Because we all know that to be an artist is to live with that mind, that sight, that ear, that touch, that perception – all the time. It’s like working in a restaurant and smelling the stench of those dirty worn-in clothes even when you sleep – wearing the same clothes day after day so the overwhelming choices are mitigated, the colors and seams are comfortable – you don’t have to think about that – you can think about the large-scale surface decoration tests you need to build, and what exactly you should include and what it all means and where it could take the project – because we all know that we at some point must make decisions about what we offer to the audience, about what direction we want to draw the viewer, and how specific or non-specific we should be. What we edit, what we keep. What our boundaries are, and where we need them to be. What’s for them, what’s for us. Okay. Some words on the making of things. I hope you liked it. Xo k