The days have really drawn-in now, short, grey and wet. Now we have to rally our own moods as that of the environment is oppressive, unrewarding, inauspicious. We do so by listening to music, even dancing around a little to raise our spirits or resurrect them, and/or by telling and listening to stories. These can be stories from books or from our real lives. It doesn’t matter which they all pass the time, and this is a time that we actually want to pass.
The office.sudio/study/archve/library n which I’m working is now breaking down, so that some shelves are emptied of books. These lie tied in bundles in another room, adorned with old newspaper and awaiting transportation. Other shelves are less populated than they were, having been subjected to an editing process. Meanwhile, everything has been looked-at, turned-over, judged, evluated and either set aside to be give, or discarded if not kept. The result is that everything is also now better packaged and organisd, haveing place for itself as a category. And this helps me to believe that I have made good decisions.
Even so, I am still buzzing with trepidation about the fact that the new flat seems much smaller. It’s certainly lower, as we are trading the extremely high ceilings of a first floor flat in a Georgian house for the unusually low ceilings of a basement flat in another Georgian house. But no matter how you try, and even if went to the trouble of measuring everything up, one set of spaces is just not comparable with another set of spaces. Experience has shown me that you just have to transfer all the material you have decided to keep and start to work creatively with the new space, trying to avoid bringing with you the baggage of the solutions you found in the previous space. These are not helpful and need to be discarded in order to allow the new solutions to emerge.
As I’ve mentioned several times here in recent weeks, it would be nice to comply with the ‘decluttering’ vogue or ideology of late capitalism, but suspect it is just another way to make us more compliant with the needs of the market. Perhaps it’s the very awkwardness of a clumsy, clunky archive of dubious value that makes it valuable, as an exception to the rule. After all, no-one (and not even the internet) has the particular collection of books, DVDs, tools, artworks, texts, and records (incomplete writings, records of seminars and lectures) etc. that I have. It’s this perverse idiosyncrasy that I want to treasure and protect, even if apparently impractical.
It also struck me this week, as the world goes into new Lockdowns and 2nd and 3rd waves of the pandemic, that it might be wise to have an idiosyncratic resource, something personal and unique, something to ‘offer’ and share, something to explore and exploit as we all retreat into personal, protective silos. I’ve ben amazed at the volume of materials I’ve produced over the years and which I’ve rediscovered in this process of rationalisation. I can see the value in all of it, the question remains as to how it might inform current and future works, or be given more presentable shapes and forms – as e.g. new books of writings and drawings and or new/old lectures etc.
Well, hopefully, if all goes to plan, this time next week I will be posting from the same desk in a new apartment. Daylight-saving (or ‘putting the clocks back’) might have improved our prospects as we progress through the winter days and nights. Hopefully we will all be safe and well, though the relentless news bulletins place us all in potential peril. And hopefully we will all find ways to tell each other stories that might pass the time until the winter, and eventually the pandemic too have passed, passed along with all the time – that inexorable vehicle facilitating all change – that needs to pass, between this now and that now-longed-for then.