All of it

I-Will-Find-install-B

I Will Find
1 video, 2 photographs, 3 sculptures, 7 works on paper, 15 painted panels
sizes variable, from 4″ x 4″ to 16″ x 16″
February 1-28, 2013

The “I Will Find” project statement is here.

The Source Text: Week Four

(This is the last blog post of a one month project: finding daily source text online & making/posting artwork each 24 hours. Scroll down to the beginning or click around to find links to the original project statement, etc. – mrk)

2/22: “You’re doing it right.”
2/23: “You all offer collective support”
2/24: “I want to go back, despite differences”
2/25: “I hope she wins the race.”
2/26: “I like exchanging ideas.”
2/27: “where he belongs”
2/28:  “I try not to be like that anymore.”

The month was coming to a close. I needed to know if I was doing this right. Does that answer come from me or someone else? Is this working? So much of this project had me walking blindly, hoping that each step was the right one to follow the previous one. I relied on the collective support of real people through my own online exchanges or in real life words. I needed to keep moving forward even if there was discrepancy between my intentions and the outcome. The finish line was close. I had to remember the purpose to this. I had to know I belonged in the studio, doing what I was doing. I wanted the process to change me.

Each piece of text in the last week fit into the drive to finish this project. I simultaneously explored the last ideas on my list of topics to search out, while (it turns out) I found words to keep myself going. The first days of the last week were the hardest. One of the nights, I did say to myself I QUIT. I mostly knew I wouldn’t. But I had to say it. I had to stomp my foot and say: I’ve had enough of this. Nearly 28 days of searching, reading through exhausting online conversations and arguing, finding people who were overtly & clearly hateful along with the online spots where friends gather with supportive common interests. I wanted my internet back- the one where I knew the terrain & the people, where I came for what I wanted & left when I wanted.

The more I came to know about the many worlds on the internet, the more I began to wonder if the most terrible people among us, the ones who end up as the sole violent protagonists on heartbreaking days- did some of these people have their own mysterious community? Are they not so lone after all? Could they, would they have become so awful without prompting from an anonymous person in some remote place? Is this why a criminal would destroy their computer hard drive? Anonymous profiles & postings allow for many dubious people to come together with like-minded callousness. I barely scratched the surface of that world. I couldn’t really go into the dark tunnels that lead there. But now I know they exist. Who goes there?

In this fourth & last week of the project, I paid one more visit to YouTube: it was a fun video to start the day, something so many people do now: looking for a little lolz. I needed that break myself. I also searched out discussions over religion, and found a place where Christians prompted each other to more understanding and inclusiveness towards Muslims. I spent a day on a popular sports blog: a female athlete received persistent misogynistic comments and one person finally had something good to say. A blog popped up after the Oscars in response to Ang Lee’s treatment of people in the visual effects industry; someone took time in the debate to not only respond to divergent views, but to draw out the opposing viewpoints–something that isn’t done very often anywhere. Someone in one of my social media feeds experienced a tragic loss; she immediately received support from her online connections. I felt that one thing missing from the month was the way parents go online for community; I found a parent who welcomed their child home after a hospital stay. Since the very same day I followed several links to stories that supported the needs of gay parents, I made the piece in honor of those families. I concluded the month with a little search. Who was the most hated on the internet? I found a very distasteful rant from a self-righteous woman… and was relieved to find someone who owned up to those qualities in themselves & who hoped to be a different person. Honestly, I don’t even know if the rant was made by a real persona or if it was one that was constructed for an actress. Either way, I closed the month out focusing not on hating the hateful person, but on a comment that worked to reconcile something, anything– even if it wasn’t with the one who incited so much anger.

This blog is a record of what I found in February 2013.

I Will Find
Maritza Ruiz-Kim
Kianga Ellis Projects
February 1-28, 2013

The “I Will Find” project statement is here.

The “I Will Find” artwork is:

  • with title/size/medium/source text here.
  • or in side-by-side gallery view here.

My main artist website is www.maritzaruizkim.com. There is a tab there for my regular blog, or the direct link to the blog is www.marzkim.com.

-mrk

The Day & The Night

There are two sides to this art practice. There is the Day- the open place where my work is shown, seen, where I know what I’ve done, where I see it’s place in the world whether I like it or not. There is the Night, where I work in isolation, where things are unclear & unfinished, where there’s danger and risk.

I’ve been working in both the actual day & night. Sometimes I start right after the morning routine. I go online, following a trail of conversations & curiosities. The sun hits the curtains. I’ve noticed a slight shift in the light patterns as the month has gone on. Sometimes I start later, and I still finish the work reasonably within the day. Other times, I’ve started later and worked later, or started & stopped throughout the day, only to finish near midnight. I keep the studio windows open. The cold air drifts in. I zip up in bundled layers to stay warm. The electric light is insufficient. At night, I work a little from memory of what the colors are in the daytime. Sometimes I just put the work down, I walk away. The next day is when I’ll photograph & post, the next day is when I’ll do that last tiny fix. My weariness shows.

The Night. It’s the loneliness of just me & the work. I face what I’m making; I scratch at that surface and wrestle with it. I only half know what I’m doing and the image doesn’t always respond. Even when there is the most possible clarity, there are still shadows. I move intuitively, adding & taking away from the surface of the idea, the panel, the sculpture. So much happens at Night. There is no audience. I quiet the dictatorial voices. This place of lonely studio work is the place I need to be, the only place I can hear the voice that matters. The ghosts come out & retreat. Emptiness. Hunger rises. Working in the Night.

The Daytime. I can’t go into the Day without the Night. I don’t go out empty-handed. And once I go out, I have to let go. I want to see what happens to the work in the light of day. I present it (as-is) and it settles into its own weighted spot. Each piece has its own life. The online world has been a matrix for seeing its place in the world. Posting work has been a daily venture of pushing it (ready or not ready) into the daylight. I see how it lives as it’s posted. I observe the space it occupies, how the work behaves. Does it have a voice? And if there is silence, what do I do? It’s something to question, it’s part of the life of the work to see how & where it comfortably or uncomfortably lands. I make notes and I develop my understanding of what it’s doing. I see things. Then, I return to the Night.

I go back to the making and isolation of working. I remember how the work is living out in the world, and I refine what I’m listening for and saying. A crisp line of understanding comes from examining contradictions, either resolving them or letting them purposefully remain. I make peace with what I’ve done. I try to rest.

Daily risk, daily failure, daily up, daily down, Day, Night, Day.

Just a few more to go.

-mrk

The “I Will Find” project statement is here.

The “I Will Find” artwork is:

  • with title/size/medium/source text here.
  • or in side-by-side gallery view here.

The Source Text: Week Three

2/15: “I hope so.”
2/16: “Everything takes time.”
2/17: “Oh, so sorry to hear that.”
2/18: “I needed that so badly.”
2/19: “I feel the exact same way.”
2/20: “Let this be your healing.”
2/21:  “What were you thinking the focus should be on?”

Breathe. Here’s a run down of the third week of source text.

Twice, I focused on places where people navigated controversial political themes. One was an article discussing liberal vs. conservative ideology, and someone expressed a weak optimism that the opposition could have clear & intelligent thinking. Since I am a member of that opposition, it was a tricky sentiment to digest. The second was regarding mental illness & gun ownership. I scrolled through over 7000 comments of arguing. I finally found one woman who showed kindness & concern towards the people she interacted with. I didn’t find the right couple words to use from her in that particular comment, so I continued to scroll, looking for her interactions specifically. This has worked before: find the person who delivers the kindness, and you will find a trail of it… . Not this time though. I saw the breakdown in her exchanges, from kind to broken, angry. Her kindness really didn’t last very long. By the end, she sounded like everyone else. And the pattern, no matter the viewpoint, was the same: Your grammar! Your spelling! Have you learned critical thinking! Go back to school! Check your facts! Stop picking this apart! You didn’t answer my question! I’m an expert! If you were an expert, then! When I finally found the source text I’d use, I was almost too tired to recognize it. But there it was. And I snapped my tablet shut. Finally.

The rest of the days, I found people looking for and receiving support over painful topics: suicide, murder, depression. The online community is where they found the support they needed. One mother took to Facebook to find help for her isolated & bullied young son. Tell him he matters! Words of concern & understanding came in minute by minute, from around the country & world. An anonymous blogger writes posts about her daily goings on, and she finds connection with people who respond online on her dark days. I also found a simple exchange between Twitter friends, ones I don’t personally “know.” A little- how’ve you been, I haven’t heard from you in a while, an update with family matters, and a response.

I have found the easy places to find the voice of kindness. It’s among friends, when one voices a need and others respond, when there’s a time of crisis and people pull together resources. We gather to hold up the community we’re a part of. The places where people venture out to cross paths with opposing voices: the question is, why are they venturing out? If it’s for understanding, it will show. If it’s for grandstanding or hostility, it’s obvious and fruitless. It’s not easy to find kindness where people only gather to shout- it’s rare that a listening person even goes to those spots, so finding the kind voice takes endurance. I had wondered if it makes a difference when that voice makes an appearance in the angry places. So far, it doesn’t seem like shouting people take the time to notice.

The rhythm of looking for text & responding with artwork has gotten easier in some ways: I look look look, then find, next I make make make, then finish. I have familiar colors, shapes. I have a familiar relationship with the words and the sense of timing. Still, after being in this process for this long, I feel every day like I’m getting on the same carousel, and I’m compelled to have a different ride every time. I push myself to keep looking into the work & take it further. That’s another place the weariness has really settled in: the commitment to take it farther. Where at first I was admitting my exhaustion (over the search, the making), now I’m maybe too tired to see or talk about how tired I am. I have four more days to go.

I’ve completed days 22, 23, and 24. I’ll discuss those texts (through day 28) in “The Source Text: Week Four.”  

I’ll continue posting a picture of the work the day after it’s made (that’s been my usual habit, due to the lighting I use for photographing the work). I will post the remaining blog posts (the fourth week of source text, more notes on process, etc) by early next week. This Friday (March 1st), I’m having the work professionally photographed, and I will update with those images. I hope to get a great install shot of all the work as well. I’m really looking forward to that.

-mrk

The “I Will Find” project statement is here.

The “I Will Find” artwork is:

  • with title/size/medium/source text here.
  • or in side-by-side gallery view here.