20 Sep 2011
Slow Art and Novelty
There may be a reason why most art projects come to an end. Even if if your life's work is to make furniture you need to feel that at some point you sand off the last bit of wood on an individual chair and stand it there as finished. If your work is as a conceptual artist you go through your prescribed process, you document it, maybe you present that documentation and then you stop. Maybe themes recur, maybe the work gets recreated but you move on. Starvation Diet was set as a life project. The end would be when I died. The measure of its success or failure my weight on death and the amount of money donated. But as I've gone along I've found it increasingly difficult to sustain. I think the reason art projects and other things we do have an end is because we intrinsically look for novelty. We would love to be wonderfully persistence people with sustained interest but in things we do we long to find the ability to conclude one thing and move onto another.
This is not to say that we shouldn't strive for life long endeavours. Maybe we do this through making the project an underlying structure from which other things originate from, sit alongside or inform. Maybe we have to step away from it for a while and then return refreshed. Maybe we segment it and mark the end of each phase.