This blog is built around two key themes of interest : the making of marks and sustainability.
The first is the making of marks and the processes and practices of thought and representation which under-pin and mediate mark-making.
I have come to recognise that the making of marks, whether through texts, images or performance, is a central theme of my life and what I recognise as human life. The making of marks is our correspondence with each other over and through time – from the hand-prints on the walls of caves in Chauvet or Peche Merle to the churn of social media on the internet and who knows where beyond. I use the term ‘mark’ in the most general terms, independent of medium or genre, to be characterised by an intent to communicate meaning (as opposed to information) across space and time. The marks in which I am interested encode experience and meaning – not data or information. They are not transactional or phatic nor do they represent an asset-class.
The content of this site will primarily be reflections, representations and reviews – these categories themselves reflecting a sense that the meaning of marks is only inferred from careful and informed scrutiny of their appearance (or performance).
Light bounces from the surface of the things and we infer/decode meaning – individual or shared – from their appearance. As John Berger eloquently argues in Portraits, and specifically his essay on Franz Hals, experience (knowledge, history) is encoded in appearance, filtered in the mark-making, recovered in the viewer.
The blog’s second theme is sustainability – which begs the question ‘the sustainability of what?’
I have a sense there exist an ‘us’ which is not you and I and is not now – may not even be human.
In part this feels related to the thoughts above about an extended conversation over time and space, in a cascade of marks represented, reviewed, reflected upon, recovered. Perhaps the ‘us’ is the cascade of mark makers – the child who presses his hand onto the limestone wall and blows ochre across its silhouette thirty thousand years ago or twenty thousand years from now.
I am interested in how ‘we’ are to be sustained – alive and on this planet – and in how each might make sound ethical and technological choices to support that goal.
What marks shall we make and how shall we live in the present that enables the cascade to be sustained? This is, I think, my second theme. Encoded it might look like economics, politics, ecology, technology and process – a particular set of marks appropriate to how and what – but its core is ethical: What is to be done? What is to be done here in the long grass?
Together, then, this content is my recovery of experience, marked up, here in the long grass, and passed on to you. The practice is intended to privilege representation over reproduction – reflection over performance – though of course each must co-exist to some degree.
As with any project of this kind, it undoubtedly has complex roots in the personal, social and political context in which I, as its curator, find myself nearing the end of his sixth decade. These roots may be signified as time passes but are unlikely to be explicitly exposed. I am a creature of the long grass, after all. It is my hope, however, that they will be reflected and represented in the content of this site – glimpsed, though camouflaged, in the texts and images it publishes – elaborated, I hope, in the comments of engaged readers and viewers.
I hope readers find the content of this site engaging and stimulating and informed by the ideas and values implied above.