Some time I just write the first thing that comes into my head. On the envelope I have written about the possibility of there being nothing inside, but of course with this being conceptual art that nothing would constitute the artwork and would therefore be something. Now as it happens (there is a temptation in me to write out the words from the Mothers’ Fillmore East: June 1972 album “Do You Like My New Car?”…”we’ve all come here for one thing tonight…”) as I said, as it happens there is something inside the envelope today, anyone handling the envelope would be able to feel that. So let’s say you were a travelling rock and roll band called the Vanilla Fudge that there is just packing inside the envelope to make it seem like there is a piece of art in there. Does that make the packing the art for the day? I have always said that any packing to protect the artwork will not be exhibited or count as part of the work unless I have a particular reason to include it (for example it may have a further artwork on it or a celebrity autograph or be a £50 note). So just packaging shouldn’t count as the artwork and therefore could be said to be nothing. But what if there was, say, a blank piece of paper which in turn had another piece of paper to protect it in transit? In this case the “nothing” would be the absence of marks (or whatever) on the paper and so that piece of paper could be exhibited and counted as the artwork. The big question is, what if the protective piece of paper was identical to the artwork and also had no marks on it. As I would not be able to distinguish between them which would be the artwork? How could that choice be made? Two identical sheets of paper one of which I had designated as the piece that held the “nothing” that would have been the art for the day but which I have no way of proving when the envelope is opened. Now I thought that Schrödinger’s Cat was tough but I think that if I could be arsed I could prove that art is harder than philosophy or quantum physics (or is it quantum mechanics?) Anyway, while it is still sealed are the contents of that envelope art, nothing, “nothing” or all/none of these? Which could lead to a comparison to Zen problems like the falling of trees and so forth. I reckon conceptual art is also probably more complex and/or simpler than Zen and if I could be arsed I could prove that too! You see there are all sorts of variables in what might be in the envelope and really when it comes to the crunch it is just me saying which if any of the contents is art. I can change the rules, lie, cheat, charm, bamboozle or whatever i choose and the bit that is art is just the bit I say is art, though I could be lying about that too. Maybe in all the envelopes that have what appears to be protective packing it is the apparent packing that is the art and the item that appears to be an artwork is just scrap being used as packing? I wish now I really had put nothing in the envelope/I am so pleased that I really did put nothing in the envelope!
Anyway this took some time, as did the thing/nothing I put in the envelope today. And I didn’t get much else finished today though I have achieved quite a bit really in preparation for my next stint in the studio!
I wasn’t so careful with the message on the envelope either! There I go casting aspersions on Schrödinger and I couldn’t even proof read my own envelope! The message is only 17 words and I managed to repeat one! I also nearly lost the artwork! I was busy in the studio preparing some paper with acrylic-painted areas for some drawings I am working on and used up all the available flat surfaces with drying pieces including the place I had put today’s artwork! Found it in the end though and feel it is quite interesting.
I had decided to use the headline earlier but events overtook me. I was going to write about the messages on the front of the envelope but, as you can see, I have photographed it upside down. Here it is before posting so you can read it:
So I was going to talk about all the things that needed to be taken into account in the set up of Schrödinger’s mind experiment. I was reckoning on pointing out flaws that if Schrödinger had heard would have irritated him, you know little nit-picking things like the size of the box and the amount of air in it and would the cat suffocate first and how had he calculated the amount of hydrocyanic acid? But of course my planning went to pot. The first flaw in my planning was that someone parked across the front of our house and blocked my car in. Usually it is just someone nipping to the Post Office and they are back in a few minutes. This person left it for about half an hour and went to their friend’s house. (I won’t recount the full story of her excuses for fear of stirring up my wrath). Then when I got to the studio I got into conversation with my neighbour and out of politeness ignored the alarm on my phone and another neighbour joined us and that led to some other discussion by which time it was time to get a late lunch. It was only when I got to the shop I remembered to look at my phone and discovered I was already 10 minutes late for a meeting with some friends! After that I bumped into someone else I’d not seen for ages and we chatted for a long while and…well, Bridport is a friendly place…by which time the afternoon had disappeared and I only had time to do my #Letter365. Even that I messed up a bit and stamped yesterday’s date on the back (altered and a new stamp added).
Then when I get back home and pop to the Post Office to post the piece I have to step over the police cordon to get to the box (you can see the tape at the top of the photo and you could say they have cordoned off my work!) Sadly the Post Office had been raided. Fortunately, although Andrea and Peter were slightly injured, they are OK and three men have been arrested. Seems like those men may not have thought things through properly either. Clearly I didn’t today, so who am I to nit pick over Schrödinger’s experiment and try to make witty comments about it?
Oh, and nobody noticed my deliberate/not-deliberate mistake yesterday!
Oh, and the piece inside? You’ll have to take my word for it it’s either really good or really bad or both at the same time depending the interpretation – but that’s another story!
Meanwhile. I am actually more interested in the water droplets hanging round the top of the post box:
The piece inside may or may not have any connection to what is written on the envelope, though one thing is for sure none of the envelopes contain a live cat or any other sentient being. Neither has an albatross that has been in contact with this piece or its envelope nor has it been made intentionally wet by seawater from such a bird. It could be argued that there is no completed artwork inside until the envelope is opened! Did Schrödinger use a cat in his problem to shock or cause us to think in a different way? Have I put live artworks in these envelopes along with a small radioactive source and a vial of art poison (carefully shielded so the artwork cannot tamper with them)? After an hour will any of the artworks be dead? By the time the installation opens in March 2015 will all the pieces be dead? If so will they have died of natural causes, starved by my cruel confinement of them or poisoned by the experiment. Were they dead to begin with? How can we tell if the art is dead or just sleeping?
I’m not having a good day, struggling with the black dog, and I thought I could cut corners, save time and do any old rubbish. But, of course, I cannot. There may be a question about the quality or value of my work from and aesthetic standpoint but, I find, never from a moral one! Even after I had resigned myself to doing it properly I started bemoaning my choice of materials: “that will take longer”, “I wish I hadn’t chosen that”, “I have to take care now I’ve done that! and so on. But you know it was worth the effort. It would never have worked without doing it right and it would only have made me feel more depressed. And I got a moody picture too. As much as I love the London slang “moody” I don’t mean that. Nor is it in a bad temper. I just mean it’s a moody photo. Mind you it’s not so easy to read the bit about Schrödinger’s cat!
An unfolding artwork created a piece each day for a year