I showed two projects at the Slow art event on Wednesday. One was this project, the other Knit a Year. The other project involves knitting my mood each day for a year and more info on it can be found here
Kerry felt that The Starvation Diet project was slow art because it has no predetermined end, less knowledge of the final product or outcome and could go on even beyond my death. Also maybe it rings true to Kerry's ideas of slow art more because it doesn't sit within the establishment. I've been thinking about that one. Does slow art have to have these attributes to be slow art? I can see Kerry's point that if we are affixing the word slow to art we are setting it apart as something different from art and it is then important to define what that difference is. I had thought that it was partly to do with emphasis on the process and over dinner we discussed how all art has processes, some more explicitly stated in the final work. I found myself that evening trying to justify my thought that it was a difference to do with process but then my mind kept throwing up artists like Pollock and Yves Klein, both of whom have a clear statement of process within their work but are frenetic within that process. I don't know that slow art is a different beast than that which has gone before. I think that maybe it might be a returning to a place where the integrity, speed and completion of a work is based on an artistic and maybe ethical considerations rather than art establishment systems. A place were artists can spend a lifetime on a work if needs be, exposing it at key points perhaps. This leads to the question, do we also want to return to the point were creative people live and die in destitution or is there a way to construct systems which value this creative process and support it. For example, at present you will often get funding in a big chunk and have to spend it in a year or be employed on a project for a year, a week or sometimes just one day or hour. If funding and projects dripped down over a longer time what might happen then?
I don't know that it is a case of looking at projects and ticking them off as slow art or not. Maybe it is more about a change of attitude and this change will provoke changes in the work.
But I digress from The Starvation Diet project here so I'll force myself to turn around and look at it again. I was filling in the log sheets this morning and I realised that the end may come sooner than anticipated. The project could extinguish itself or perhaps metamorphosise when I get so good at not thinking about and exposing myself to bad food that I am no longer resisting and therefore no longer put money into the pot.
29 Jan 2010
18 Jan 2010
I was walking away from knitting group when Peggy, one of the groups oldest members at 80 something called me back. "Do you want this bit of chicken? I cooked it last night because I thought the children were coming round. It will just go in the bin otherwise." The chicken and stufffing which came with it was delicious, George and I had a right royal feast that night. Now I know that relishing donated chicken may not be what everybody would do but I can't help thinking why not? I'm not about to become a Freegan and start living out of bins just yet but if you can save perfectly good food from finding its way into the bin in the first place that must be a good thing. People seem to give me things they don't want a lot and I like that. There was the helicopter pilot headphones, bag of onions, vagina shaped cake and wooden deer from my train friend and the worn out hanging baskets and bike car rack from others. There have been countless bags of wool and old books on sowing and knitting. It all comes to use eventually and I admire the givers who get over their 21st centuary reservations and ask if I would like it.
8 Jan 2010
Realised that this is a project of comparison with the norm, asking, have I resisted this thing which I would normally have bought and eaten? The hard bit is starting to materialise in that, as you change your eating habits you find it hard to compare it with the original normal. You no longer eat a bar of chocolate a day, you no longer crave a pudding after your tea. So now do you compare with the changing norm or the pre project norm. I think for the sake of a scientific approach you have to compare to the pre project norm. Its interesting to note the psychological change in the norm though.
5 Jan 2010
I decided not to do anything to do with the starvation diet over Christmas. It seems too antisocial, like it would put everybody off their selection boxes. So I didn't really resist anything bar a muffin post Christmas at the station cafe. oh and maybe a cake with my coffee when we got thrown off the train in Dunbar. Maybe I was a little more restrained than usual but I still felt bloated. Now I have the debris to finish off, a box of biscuits won in at a carol concert raffle. The assorted bag of toffees deposited in my bag by my Mum. All will be gone soon and I can start resisting in earnest. I'm not sure what I do if I eat a freebie biscuit and thus resist buying one. Hmmm, I guess that according to the rules nothing happens then.