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Becomings


The blank page is no more.

It is becoming.

It is intra-action.

Self.


Do I need to write more words? do these words describe the process that began with the blank page which I would argue, or perhaps pose the question, that in itself was part of an intra-active becoming? the page could not be formed without the mingling of may things/others transforming molecules or materials into something tangible, something physical that bears no or little resemblance to their original form. Intra-action is described by Deleuze as "the affirmation of the positivity of difference, meant as a multiple and constant process of transformation" (Deleuze cited in Braidotti, 1993). Research further reveals how in the most simplistic terms intra-action is the ability to act therefore comes from within the relationship, not outside of it. Multiple constituents enabled the forming and emerging of the blank page from the mingling of relationships but it is now my relationship with multiple things that enables an examination of self to appear as a drawn sketch.


I have agency, an ability to act, over what I choose to draw but that same agency creates questioning, critical analysis and critical thought over my choices and physical responses. My neurodiverse mind plays its part - the Deleuze quote was and is continuing to be read many times as my mind once more struggles with the complexities of philosophical discourse. It is this discourse that now feeds into the self-portrait in combination with the neurodiversity - both are unseen, hidden and masked behind the marks on the page. Is the self-portrait becoming a philosophical debate in itself? I am examining my artistic relationship with my sense of self but in doing so I am examining my inter, or intra-, action with my academic past unexpectedly. I am not just sitting at my desk drawing from a photograph that is both printing and on a tablet screen listening to the latest Wimbledon matches but I am also looking, seeing and examining a face, my own face which I see in the mirror every day. I am looking at these images objectively rather than subjectively - they have become akin to the fungal images I not just favour but actively seek out as my subject. I find myself examining the images almost scientifically the colours, where the light falls or doesn't, where the shadows of life occur, where the lines on the face are and how deep they maybe, the delicacy of the folds of age - my own face becomes an object of discovery and investigation.

I am aware I could position a mirror to ensure accurate representation of my own skin tone but here an understanding of make-up comes to the fore influencing my choice of primary colours - a cool undertone is seen in the veins on the inside of my wrist as they lean towards a blue colour with pink and blue tones seen in the skin itself. Having this knowledge of my own skin enables the choice of cool toned reds and blues with neutral ochre yellows as core colours - the ones in which I keep returning to throughout the building of the layers. My choices as determined by knowledge of my self with that knowledge both consciously and subconsciously influencing the intra-active becomings and progression of the work. I choose not to use that mirror as I fear false representation of what others see. When I look in the mirror I see me, myself, I - I do not see the mature woman that is shocked by her own reflection in a doorway with jowls starting to sag, the wrinkles of a life lived being more prominent that my own mirror suggests and the white grey hairs that are replacing the blond.

As we look in our mirrors we see a reflection of ourselves as we see ourselves. I see my wrinkles, I see my jowls but I also see the child within but as a grown woman. The child who once sat for this sketch by the Plymouth artist Robert Lenkiewicz who was frightened by his bushy appearance - the child who once dreamed of becoming the artist she has now become. It is this sketch that has inspired this new series as I wanted to replicate my pose and have the sitter and artist be seen alongside each other and henceforth I question whether Lenkiewicz himself now part of the entangled agencies, a constituent, that in turn enable the intra-active becomings of this new piece of work?

The posing for the photograph itself was fraught with difficulties as my preference was to use the self-timer on my camera: trying to get the angle of my face, the direction of my eyes or the dip of my head to replicate Lenkiewicz's sketch meant many images were taken. I found myself feeling self-conscious despite being in my own home, uncomfortable and self-aware of what I did not want to capture - the drooping of the aforementioned jowls, the increasing lines on my neck and the discolouration under my eyes which I meant I reached for the concealer and mascara to at least minimise its prominence! I choose not to show them here as they feel vulnerable as they reveal me as a person more than me as an artist - I am usually comfortable with photographic portraits but not here, not yet. My neurodiverse self-consciousness and lack of self confidence in my self, and I intentionally separate the words, comes to the fore as my masking slips and falls away - I am ready to admit the fungi themselves are a mask, a specialism in which I can hide behind. My dislike of faces in artistic works, the ones in which the sitter looks directly at the artist is disconcerting - I dislike eye contact and yet with many portraits the eye contact appears, at least as an illusion, to be prominent. Fungi are so often hidden and give me a place, artistically, to hide even when talking to a customer, to a viewer.....

.... but the blank page created an opportunity to 'examine my artistic relationship with my sense of self', the statement which I return to frequently and repetitively as to promotes the questioning within these blogs. My previous academic study taught me to unpick a narrative, a subject and to critically analyse it, to both pose and answer questions but here I have no answers but only questions being created from other questions. I am not critically analysing the art but questioning my reasoning behind it. I have not examined what each of the constituents relating to the agencies or intra-actions are, at least not in any depth, as at the point of writing this blog I am now merely acknowledging, or starting to acknowledge, their existence. I am pondering within my writing what this 'thing' I am writing about is - the 'thing' and the questioning of that thing coming from a tutorial as I recall being asked what it was, is and will become .... the memories come tumbling in to my mind but yet still I cannot yet answer. I can only write .... and continue to observe and examine the photographic images .... and continue to draw .... to continue to become ..... to continue to let the intra-action come from within .....


BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Being and Becoming (s.d.) At: https://metaphysicist.com/problems/being/ (Accessed 02/07/2024).

Braidotti, R. (1993) 'Discontinuous Becomings. Deleuze on the Becoming-Woman of Philosophy' In: Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology At: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00071773.1993.11644270 (Accessed 02/07/2024).

‘Intra-’ and ‘Inter-’: Getting Into It (s.d.) At: https://www.merriam-webster.com/grammar/intra-and-inter-usage (Accessed 02/07/2024).

Intra-action (s.d.) At: https://indeterminacy.ac.uk/dictionary/intra-action/ (Accessed 02/07/2024).

LIB (2024) Being vs Becoming: Philosophy and History. At: https://livinginbecoming.com/being-vs-becoming-philosophy-and-history/ (Accessed 02/07/2024).

New Materialism (s.d.) At: https://newmaterialism.eu/almanac/i/intra-action.html (Accessed 02/07/2024).

Robert Lenkiewicz | Paintings and Original Works (s.d.) At: https://www.robertlenkiewicz.org/ (Accessed 02/07/2024).

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