It is extraordinary to note how many words we take for granted came into our lexicon in the late 14th and early 15th centuries and now form the bedrock of how we experience the world. These time were a time of great upheaval and innovation - the plague decimated the European populations and consequently the social systems that held it together. Great innovations came from this - the benefit which we literally see before us - the printing press. What we might not consider however is how these very dramatic changes form the way our brains organise the world.
Take the colour ‘blue’ - it is said we could not ‘see’ the colour blue till relatively recently. How can this be? Certainly blue existed before then. It’s not so much that it didn’t exist it’s the social contract we have come to accept and understand collectively. We wish to encapsulate a particular something and therefore we over time name it ‘blue’. To put it in context - when you sit on the shore staring at the sea the light, colour, shade and everything else is in constant flux and (probably) to my eye different to yours- how do you describe that colour, let alone experience? Turner was a master in capturing something many have come to relate to, but even his renderings are imprecise in their exactness.
I’ve redone my website. On the title page I have the words ‘what can we create today?’ - it is the most apt encapsulation of my practice, and yet this word ‘create’ is problematic. Creation derives from the word Latin ‘creare’ and has come to be understood to mean ‘to come into physical being’. It is unsurprising given our capitalistic mindsets that we do this. We see ‘blue’ and not ‘the ocean’. And yet if we were to look into this word create further we find that it’s deeper origin deriving from Sanskrit means ’to grow’. This is a very different idea. Consider the Mother with her baby gestating in her uterus. She is an active co-creator in bringing the life into being. She lends and gives him/her her resources however the baby already has a road map s/he wishes to follow. It is the magnificent role of the Mother to birth her/him in the context of all the social and environmental factors she has at her disposal.
This is why my practice swings in so many contexts - dance, baking, film, theatre - young and old…. I am interested in growing this world I live in with whatever resources I have at my disposal. This growth is within the experience if not the ‘thing’ - although sometimes things do come out of it.
I do find largely and in many contexts we are increasingly being asked to acknowledge the blue and not the ocean - economic systems in collapse, extreme ideologies forcing us to take sides, and violence in our streets narrowing our vision of humanity. And yet in the midst of this - it is so useful to remember HIStory and HERstory and everything in between and to GROW. In 500 years I wonder what future generation will reflect back on? What are we becoming?
I'd like to think/feel quite positively about this development - in the strains of new life come that which is unseen but integral to the future - we must grow unknowing and in that create something extraordinary indeed.