Thursday, December 14, 2017

Flow (2) Bringing flow back alive. (essay)

Picking up and renewing an old project.

It was somewhere in the autumn of 2013 when I started on 'Flow'. In September that year I had come to a point that I was done with photography, done with stress, disappointments and frustrations or what not else that came along with doing photography projects and making photo documentaries. It is hard to recall the exact feeling and explain in detail what exactly had been bothering me at the time but I do remember the strong desire to do something else for a while. At that very moment I was studying photography at the art academy and just enrolled into my third year.

After all I of course didn't really quite photographing, actually quite the opposite had happened. I started to photography even more, only without much limitations, rules, direction or any purpose. It had freed me to a certain extent, that is what I had been longing for the most. Although I did need some work-frame and thus I decided to solely shoot with a analog camera and only use black and white film, motivated by the fact that it would allow me to easily develop the films myself. And at same time not being able to really see what I had photographed till I decided to develop the rolls, which mostly happened only up to two or three weeks after shooting.

I used a cheap 35mm camera, its brand I don't consider as relevant now, but the relevant part is that I kept it simple in a sense that I only used one camera, which I carried around 24/7. It became the tool which helped me documenting my life and make notes. I photographed everything randomly, anything I felt was needed to be snapped would find a place on one of the many rolls. 
But slowly on I started to loose a little on my framework I had created, which was solely technical. I also started to write notes, and anecdotes, some poems and fictional short stories. And eventually also drawings and sketches and later on also stepped away from my limit of analogue photography by shooting videos material with an old DV-camcorder. It became a diverse collection of material, 
a rare documentation of my daily life.

It had all started aimlessly and purposeless, freed from any pressure. But slowly started to get a form, simply by accepting that it was a documentation of daily life. And since I was still a art student I had to make a 'project', I should develop after all as a student, a maker, and as a potential artist.

Thus I considered the material as a potential project. And from avoiding making photographs and making project I rolled back into that process of creating and making again. Of course this is a brief explanation of what had happened and the process I went through and it is possible to dive deeper in that process, analyses and explain it more precisely, nonetheless I will have to skip that and I make a big leap. The point of my story is that this process resulted into a project which is now know as 'Flow'. A digital presentation (can been found on my website) of photographs, videos and written text. Even though flow doesn't contain all the material I had made and is still a selection, and also have been in the state of on hold, it has always have been there to been picked up again.

But it needed time, a lot of time and it is now that I can reflect upon it differently and see both the strong and weak sides of this project but also the relation and similarities with the projects I have made after Flow.

Always have I had issues in working on projects, at least into finalizing , concluding them etc. Still though I managed to successfully finish the art academy, and even graduated from a Master program very recently. I am finished being an art student, have had dealt with many frustrations etc related to artistic process and projects, and now again came to a point where I need to free myself. And find fresh energy and a focused way to continue my artistic practice.

Flow, even after it became officially a project, had worked for me because it could continue endlessly with the process of making, as long as I wished for and was almost borderless, it give a all lot of freedom and inspiration and avoid many things I though of as not my piece of cake, all in all it worked very fine to me.

Working on flow was as making a visual sketchbook public, as a artistic blog. It more or less represents me at that time, me as a maker, visual artist, thinker, me as a person as a human being.  And when looking back on flow, with all the other works in mind I have developed over the recent years, I dare to consider flow as my first attempt to show the blueprint of my personal and artistic mind and stream of thoughts and ideas with a poetic and romantic, sometimes gloomy, melancholic and nostalgic tone.

Only later in my time at the academy I started to develop a way of working wherein my process of making, researching and thinking etc would become the work itself. During my graduation period at the art academy I was doing a research on the road/travel movie genre. A research into this specific film genre to figure out its meaning and development in relation to current social issues as well as the visual language of this genre and its development. I made different artistic works along side my research and writing the thesis, I made various reactions on the theme in many different forms but never really finished a piece or came to any clear conclusion. Again I got stuck in the process, which I personally didn't mind at any rate, I considered the research and artistic process as more fun and important then any conclusion or official end, as cliché as it is the project became a travel story itself, where being on the way is more important then any destination.

Later on during my studies a Master program I had the same troubles in both keeping focus, and working towards a direct end conclusion and finishing the project. And I attempted multiple times to avoid a certain part of process which is mainly considered as important.

I was working on a project named 'In search for a sublime blue' where I was searching for the blue which can only be seen in mountains on the far horizon. An attempt to capture that unreachable forever distant blue, but even more a attempt to capture the attempt and search itself. 
Also here the project functions as a double metaphor, the distant blue (on the horizon) as the desire to never arrive, and keep searching and wandering boundlessly.

Despite the many misunderstandings, from both sides, on how I wished to work and create and design my work process, I managed to find a way to finish off the project into a single screen video projection, and as I use to call a 'visual novel', due to its tone and use of text.

I am assure that this blue project has still potential to become more then this single film. But more interesting at this moment I am assure the process, despite how much I have hated, did help me to unconsciously develop me even more as a maker. Here I am again, planning to make a restart with Flow, however this time with different focus. I will free myself again, yet I will as well use the tools and skills I have developed during my recent studies and projects.

I will start over again with Flow, this time I will not limit myself by techniques and use any tool I prefer to work with, from black and white photography to color and video, sounds recordings, text etc. What will be a focus point is that it will get a very strong poetic and novelistic character with a autobiographical reference. It will become contain notes of daily events, experiences, thoughts and so on, mixed with a visualization of my artistic process and reflections. Flow just as it once was be as a sketchbook, as well as a visual autobiography.

In the past years, since I had launched the first Flow project, I have been keep collecting images, photographs, writings, videos etc which together give this honest and personal inside. But also will function to reflect not merely upon me but can be relevant to everyone and a reflection upon the arts.

It will be a flow of information, in a form of which I believe is close to how we communicated nowadays and will become a dominant communication form in our near future. I have personal fascination and believe that we will soon arrive in a post-image society. Meaning images will still surround us, and most likely more and more, but also become more intertwined with many different forms of communication. Photographs, videos, animation, graphics, drawings, illustrations, text, symbols will soon be adapt as one. Our ways of communicating keeps changing and I believe that language in general (this might also be related to the fast globalization and and the obstacle of different languages) slowly will become a more visual-based language, one that everyone can and will understand. This will also have influences on literature and most fascinating this will push the world of literature to develop and renew itself. I see flow also as a opportunity to use it as a test case for experimenting with the concept of the visual novel. Creating autobiographic literature where text goes together with visuals and sound.

Just as in my road movie project and my search for blue, will Flow be a project without a end or destination, without conclusion and without a guideline an ever growing collection as a reflection upon life. Still this story is very abstract and might be somehow hard to grasps but as soon Flow(2) will be launched I am sure it will clear up a lot. Also will I come back on some points, discussed earlier in this text.

In 2018 I will publishing the new digital version of Flow with chapters to give it some focus and linearity.

Eventually I would work on a non digital publication as well. Also will I start designing and developing a strategy to present the work in an spacial and exhibition worthy form. And will the work soon being presented on various platforms and arenas.

More info will follow up soon, for now all I say flow will soon be reborn.

In case of any questions, suggestions or other forms of interest please do not hesitate to contact me.

**images follow up later**