The Artist. The Artist's Work. > A Space < The Viewing. The Viewer.
I am the Viewer. On these pages, I step into the Space between.
1. Choose a piece and, without pause or forethought, look at it as I begin to write.
2. Write as quickly as physically possible, hammering at the keyboard, occasionally—but rarely—circling back to change the position of a word or phrase if my mind returns to that thought and I want to amplify that line of thinking. The writing experience is intense and short. I anticipate writing one or two of these each month—or none. I don't quite know where they come from and often wonder if another one will find me.
I am happily attempting the impossible. I want to fully capture my first experience of that work of art, and to do that, I must write rapidly so that I don’t lose thoughts or have my experience muddled by what I imagine a reader or the artist might think, or by intellectualism, or by extraneous or false thoughts. This is not art history, analysis, or interpretation. I am opening myself up to the piece and recording my experience and creating my own “piece of work,” as I do.
3. No editing is permitted. No changes. No checks for typos. No additional thoughts. No, not even if edits or rewrites would make it “better.” It is about the writing, because that is my art form, but it is not about the writing, because it is about my experience of the art. As a writer, am I dying to return to what I wrote and copyedit, fix punctuation, remove or add a phrase? Of course. But, then it would no longer be about my first experience. It would no longer be without pretense. This is not an essay. This is a message from the space.
4. If a person appears in the work of art, as in piece #4, I write to ask the subject's permission. But the writing won’t be about that person. The writing will be responding to the artist’s use of that person in his or her art— and my experience of that.
5. What I write likely has no connection with or resemblance to what was happening in the artist’s mind during the artist’s process. They may delight in the fact that something has been created from what they created, or even just that someone paid attention. They may have intended for the viewer to have an entirely different reaction. They may not have intended any reaction. They may even have hoped for no emotional response or reject the concepts of “meaning” or “an experience” in regard to art.
Each time, I found something rich with meaning in what the artist created. It was meaning that the artist stimulated and that surprised me. It was a meaning, too, that I somehow brought with me and then, magically, discovered for the first time as I stepped into the space between.
When not in the Space, Carolyn Wood is a UX copywriter, editor, creative director, and content strategist through her consultancy, Pixelingo.