PARTICIPATORY SPORT FOR CRAFT ARTISTS
A few loosely-connected thoughts on "Inspiration".
My head is a permanent mess. I know that everyone thinks that I am so together and focused but inside my head there is a constant rattle of nonsense, just as in my pockets there are always bits of rusty metal and broken toys picked up in the street and rubbing and clicking together. So in my head there are fragments of songs crashing into images from films, scientific theories intersecting with half-remembered literature, philosophers and trash-television, favourite paintings, images from the news...
"Inspiration" is not a word with which I am comfortable. There is little as dispiriting as interviewing a student who starts, "I'm really inspired by nature..." The word has often become a cipher for "going through a process". That is not to say that I am not "inspired" sometimes; the coming together of disparate thoughts, often triggered by something found or seen, in a glorious and thrilling flash is a rare pleasure I relish. This is an elusive flash, one which can be triggered by absolutely anything - hence, I am never without some form of notebook - but one which cannot be artificially engendered.
In order to encourage it, I do have a ritual by which I lay out the things I find interesting on every available surface, hence my house is covered in "stuff". As is my workshop, my desk at work, my car dashboard... (it is so out of control that in my partner's house I am boundaried as to where I can leave things!) Rather in the manner of de Lautréamont's "chance encounter of a sewing machine and an umbrella on a dissecting table", unexpected juxtapositions can lead to trains of thought and so to completed pieces.
Inspiration is not a predictable output. It requires vast and constant input to produce that flash, something like the Large Hadron Collider which required years of development, centuries of human-hours and suns-worth of power in order to generate a tiny, faint glimmer.
Supercollider, my piece "inspired" by the Large Hadron Collider.