“I don’t have any imagination!” A surprising statement from anyone, let alone an artist. But that’s exactly what Jeremy Millar, artist and tutor in art criticism at the Royal College of Art, London, said last week in one of the MA Art Lecture Series (in the Woodlane Lecture Theatre, Falmouth where I have attended many and excellent talks at my old alma mater).
By way of an explanation, Jeremy Millar says his art is about making connections. Connections between disparate things that can cross cultural or historical boundaries. It is about affording attention to something and recognising affinities between things physical and metaphysical by short-circuiting those connections and making leaps and loops in time and space. Recognising potent motifs and however uncompromising, intangible or improbable the connections might appear, it is about waiting for the ‘it’ to present itself to the point where ‘it’ becomes ‘work’. Above all, it depends on intellectual curiosity and coincidences and being patient because projects might sit in the background gestating for a very long time. It is about never saying never. Anyway, he concludes, reading a lot, hanging out with people with interesting things to say and taking notice of everything around you is not a bad way to live! Who’s to argue?
This talk which I have tried to precis from my notes (see pic!) resonated on so many levels. I was pleased I had listened to that tiny voice inside me (instead of my reasoned mind telling me to save the petrol) and made the effort to attend. At this point, I feel compelled to mention that Jeremy Millar’s talk took place at the same time as another very real bolt from the blue was happening. One has to wonder does this have any significance or is it purely coincidence? Of course, I am referring to the bus-sized, ten ton meteorite that crashed into a frozen lake in the Ural Mountains, affecting more 12,000 people who were injured by shattered glass from the sonic boom it created in its wake. Within just 24 hours of this extremely rare occurrence, we witness yet another extremely rare cosmic happening. An asteroid, the size of an Olympic pool and measuring 47 metres in diameter, passing just 17,000 miles above the earth nearer than ever before. Space rocks can take us by surprise, but two extremely rare occurrences in such close succession? What’s all that about?
My conclusion – for what its worth – is that it reinforces my notion that there is no such thing as ‘coincidence’! I don’t know how it works but something ‘other’ has to be orchestrating these things because it happens too often to be merely chance. I’ll take a leaf out of JM’s book: I’m paying attention but the meanings are a little more elusive at this stage. Any ideas?
N.B. If you would like to see where I’m going with this thread, do take a look at my next post, Guiding Spirit for part 2.