Saturday, January 20, 2007

Communication Failure at Lounge

Sometimes it is a struggle to put into words what you think or feel, I curse myself at how clumsy my descriptions and interpretations are. It pains me on occasions how unable I am when trying to describe something. I aim for simplicity, purpose and intellectual weight only to hear the words spill out in a clumsy, confused and stupid mass of repetitious burble. I am pleased that this is not always the case but it happens often enough to cause me frustration, on a few occasions I have caught myself in mid verbal flow, stopped and said “sorry I’m not making any sense” and ceased a conversation, one such occasion was at a job interview, strangely I actually got the job.

These communication problems are exacerbated by the vagueries of others language skills, sometimes I hear the same nonsense spill from others mouths and we babble on in an approximation of a conversation whilst desperately trying to find some level of sense within the nonsense. Other times somebody whose language skills are more developed than my own leave me floundering in their wake as my slow witted brain blunders round trying to keep up with their verbal dexterity, my concentration wanes and I impolitely glaze over or grin and nod whilst glancing over their shoulder or my mind just wanders off to more mundane considerations, like if I twitch my buttock will it stop me having to scratch it or if I furrow my brow and breathe deeply does it look like I am giving their words consideration or will they know I have just stifled a yawn. Make no mistake it is not their fault it is mine, I am a lazy minded individual and my concentration span is perhaps not quite goldfish but definitely chimp.

On Friday evening I was desperately trying to make sense and keep up, in fact for once I felt particularly on the ball, the PV at the Lounge gallery of their latest group show conspired against me. There was a modest crowd at Lounge’s opening of ‘Absolute Zero’ and Liz and I wandered round trying to make sense of the scattered works on show, without artist details or a list of works we were left without much context, some shows obviously don’t need this but many group shows do as the disparate media need some frame of reference. Despite the lack of information we were particularly drawn to the black hole bath sculpture, it was fun but implied a depth behind the humour, in another work an ordnance survey map of Salisbury Plain and the surrounding areas have been overdrawn with black blocks and lines of ink where fields, buildings and roads are obscured, was the obscuring of these topographical details for obvious or more ambiguous reasons? It was hard to tell but nonetheless the work subtly drew your attention and held it. I cant tell you who the artists were as I am unfamiliar with their work and for the obvious reasons I mentioned earlier nothing in the gallery gave any identification of the artists and their work.
The gallery began to fill and once pathways through the assembled crowd became difficult to navigate we decided to head off to our next destination, on the way out we bumped in to Neil Taylor of Campbell Works. I have met Neil on several occasions now and he seems a thoughtful and intelligent guy, his interest in art and reading of artists work is considered and thoughtful, it is always interesting to talk to Neil so we stopped and discussed the show. I was pleased to hear that he too struggled to get a grip on the show without a little contextual literature lying around and Neil, Liz and myself continued our discussion of the show and some others we were involved with and other successful ones we had shared visits too. And that was when the communication problems really started for the three of us, my concentration levels were firing so my chimp like glazing and mind wandering was not the issue, Liz and Neil were discussing the Christophe Buchel show at Coppermill and just as Neil was explaining a part of the rambling installation that remains undiscovered by myself we were suddenly aware of the presence of a fourth person in our conversation, a twentysomething podgy faced redheaded girl blew a cloud of cigarette smoke in the air and spat out a couple of words directly to us, “What’s That!?” she said with almost shouted confusion, our talk of porn rooms, prayer rooms, shanty towns and piles of trash had obviously drawn her attention, unable to contain her interest she had to intervene. “What’s That?” again, Neil replied “it’s the Christophe Buchel Installation at Coppermill”, “eh?” she quickly replied, “it’s an installation where the guy has placed huge piles of trash and hidden rooms and stuff” I said with undiscovered powers of loquacious deliberation, however I thought I was pitching the description at the right level for our new friend. My descriptive attempts had failed and the strange aggression emanating from podgy redhead was causing my mind to start peering at the fleas on the back of its hand, Neil took up the story, perhaps he said, “it’s a site for the manufacture…”, podgy redhead began to frown and took an aggressive drag on her rollup, my mind was now hovering some hefty morsel of flea to its lips, “…of human endeavour”, another cloud of smoke and “I don’t GET IT?”. Peturbed but wanting to continue to some resolution Neil continued trying another tack “it’s a w…” quickly interrupted by podgy redhead as she peered at him and shouted “I DON’T GET YOU”, my mind was now hanging off a tree branch scratching its arse, the three of us looked at each other confused as some ‘noise music’ roared into action from the back of the room. Podgy redhead turned away distracted and started listening to the music. We left even more confused than when we entered the gallery.

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