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16th Jan

2018

The sky is thick with Overload

There was a severe weather warning overnight about impending snowfalls in our region.  The squalls are coming in across the Clyde Estuary, falling thickly from this very dense grey sky, and I am on the living room floor in front of a merry stove, between my day’s activities.

Between is the moot word.  Here are two images which exactly encapsulate the nature of the two activities I’m straddling:

 

light board made up to demonstrate different lights

Notes written at a WordPress Meet-up

The first – ah! the first one, it delights my heart.  I was presented with this light board this morning by the electrician who is currently braving the snow in my (so far) windowless new build of a studio.  The two joiners and the electrician came in for coffee out of the elements at about 10am, and one of them held the light board balanced on top of the kitchen wall units while the electrician switched each one on in turn and we discussed the relative properties of the lights.

I am not wanting to get too analytical…but I have been wondering about this activity – its immediacy, it’s clarity and the warmth of feeling attached to the analysis because a human being devised a demonstration which perfectly facilitates an instant comparison.  It was also emotionally rewarding for me, because I am forking out a great deal of money to invest in this new build, and here was a test devised purely for me, to allow me the best possible shot at my choice of lighting for future artwork production.

The second image is of two pages from my notebook displaying notes I made to elucidate things I had gleaned from a WordPress meet-up.  The most informative thing I can say about this item is that I was the only person to use a pen and paper at the group meeting.  How do they manage without?  Obviously I know the answer to this – put simply it is that they function differently from me.  They are eating up the information, firing and devouring the innovation and communication across the huge round table in sound bites, getting in a nanosecond what the other one means.

When I got home I looked at these two pages and I couldn’t make head nor tail of them.  I could understand most of the words, but altogether, my brain received them with a grey density similar to today’s sky.  Nothing would penetrate.  There is something about the way in which information is conveyed in the whirl of the digital world which makes it extremely difficult for brains like mine to jump on, and stay on the carousel.

My task at home is to translate the digital tasks into accessible and more rewarding chunks than the format in which they are delivered to me.  I need to block my ears from information overload, because my world is immediate.  I paint by dipping a brush into an oozing blob of freshly mixed paint, and I glide it across a prepared surface where it gleams in the light and filters wordlessly into my consciousness as an entity which I have just brought into the world.  It carries with it meaning and nuance, conveying in utter silence threads of the remembered, the inherited, the dreamed.  Intention translates into interpretation through a devotion of added layers, marks, hues and expanses, and all the time I am passive, I am merely the middleman.

So…what am I saying about all this is that I can do both.  I can meet the challenge of staying connected and vital in the digital world.  It takes a supreme effort of staying with the task, because the principal problem for me is to keep on thinking in a straight line, just for a while at least.

 

 

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