Back in October 2017 the MA began with a series of interconnected projects, the most significant being the Thought Experiment. We were each given an envelope at random containing a word or phrase followed by a short brief – the idea being we produced a presentation – video or performance – lasting exactly 6 minutes 40 seconds based upon this word or phrase. Mine was Return to your room after a journey.
My thoughts moved back in time to my childhood and tracing my index finger through the furrows of an old candlewick bedspread. I’ve always suffered with insomnia from infancy and this was something comforting I would do when I couldn’t sleep. I would trace a small journey from home to school for example, or to my grandparent’s home or a friend’s house perhaps. My finger making a path through the furrows of wicks, sometimes pulling a thread or two from the candlewick to create an opening, allowing me to cross a road or turn a corner in my journey.
I spent some time trying to arrive at a way of producing a presentation using a candlewick bedspread but struggled to find a way I felt comfortable with lasting 6 minutes 40 seconds. I went back to the brief and thought about how a room could be exactly the same yet not the same over time and arrived very quickly at spiders and their webs. At the same time thoughts of spiders spinning webs led quickly to stories, myths of Ariadne’s thread – a link back to my candlewick journeys – and how stories accumulate while travelling.
Coincidentally my daughter was teaching herself to spin wool; initially drop spindle spinning that resembles spiders dropping on their threads, and then on a spinning wheel. This is remarkably hypnotic to watch – calming and meditative, playing tricks with the passage of time – creating a sense of time slowing and a gathering, processing of memories, stories, anecdotes.