I am going to present to you two of the works from the publication I've assembled, as a part of Casco's community in print. The publication, is yet to be printed, but will include a video [contained on a DVD] ; that I'll show. and 2 text's; one of which I'll read.
The publication explores the position of the individual or self within producing a community. Focussing on the process that takes place when one shares their 'self' with a community -- and how this relates to the perpetual sharing of ones self, as a subject viewpoint, that takes place in contemporary society.
Essentially what is it in this act of 'opening up' or becoming social that eventually adds to, or takes away from a community? And when is a closing down orretreatnecessary to maintain one self; in turn the community as a whole.
As a way of investigating, this act of retreat, or closing down to what is sometimes called a 'safe place'. I started from the poem; No man Is an island by Jon Donne, That was also the title of the publication. The poem starts;
*No man is an island, Entire of itself, Every man is a piece of the continent, A part of the main.*
Jon Donne's Poem embodies a notion of the self. - In the way that one cannot separate the act of cutting from the knife; we cannot separate the self, and the acts that manifest it, from our identity.
In order to explore this bound connection the publication intended to make public, or share, the self the island using the only one available: my own.
Sharing one\'s identity, or the personal characteristics that make it up, is an inherent part of being in a community. Time spent within this community, of any kind, but specifically when it transcends a sensibility, allows individuals to access each other on a more personal level; gradually learning what it is that makes up their respective viewpoints. Reflected in Donne's poem by the lines, "Every man is a piece of the continent, / A part of the main."
This transcendence from sensibility to community is a key intersection within the construction of a community; to one that is able to actually comprehend or know the viewpoint (subjectivities) of our "comrades", rather than merely know of them. Of course, the sharing or making public of our self is in no way rare. In a time when updating, posting, and sharing is an integral part of everyday life, we perpetually publish our inner subjectivities, for various means but often with the undertone of "to be heard". So on a societal level the act of constructing one's impossible island, is a retreat that in its own farsity, highlights its inherent absence from the larger debate around a community in contemporary society. A drive for community that is of course not resolved by a retreat, but would come at this point of permeability when sensibility mixes with community, or the coastlines/ borders begin to open up to the continent.
Play No Man is an Island Video
| No man is an island, | Entire of itself, | Every man is a piece of the continent, | A part of the main. | If a clod be washed away by the sea, | Europe is the less. | As well as if a promontory were. | As well as if a manor of thy friend\'s | Or of thine own were: | Any man\'s death diminishes me, | Because I am involved in mankind, | And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; | It tolls for thee.
Read Balance not Substance by Sarah Jones
In balance not substance,there is a continual switching taking place between the position of the isolated and the other. The man's positions is admired and desired, as if half of this community of two needs the others halves attempts at retreat. But then ultimately she watches over his house burn with a new sense of admiration; now as if he's lost his island - forced to open up to the continent.
For this Publication this text takes the position of the other, embodying the community or the outsider, through the man's attempts at retreat. Where the video creates a farse at the idea of retreat from within, by subjectifying the outsider as the person behind the camera, balance not substance re-articulates this outside position to one that encapsulates a wanting of permeability. In other words, whether retreat is necessary or not, a community doesn't need it.
The video was made through a collaboration with Amir Avraham at the werkplaats that in itself became somewhat of a case study of a community, permeability and these coastlines. -That are evident within artistic collaboration.
From the conception of this project, a specific statement has guided my own understanding of the island: what can you bring to the table? Essentially, what of you or of your practice is given to this shared work? This act of sharing, or being appropriated from within a collaboration is a relevant example of the breakdown of borders that lead to a cohesive collaboration as an example of a community. Of course this places a lot of ownership over ideas behind a work and in itself is a detrimental avenue of thought in collaboration. But I raise the point to ask: Can one only collaborate, only be a part of a community, or is it integral to this process of sharing to retreat, to find a "safe place" in an effort to return with more? Or does this process simply entail being reminded of what you are in a time when the rising tide of subjectivity that we experience as users and also as artists seems to wash us away?