Saturday, April 4, 2009

02009 New Year's Resolution #17: Support the Arts

I suppose in some sense, one could argue (if one were so inclined) that my photography constitutes a sort of ongoing art project. I would not.

Likewise, I suppose my monthly documenting of my hair's growth could be described as a sort of art project. I would not describe it so.

One might (as a stretch) claim that my t-shirt designs from last summer (none of which sold, sadly enough) could be considered a sort of an art project. Again, I would make no such claim.

Instead, I would assert that I haven't really made any efforts in terms of starting an art project in a very, very long time. This is sad, as I used to think I might try to make a profession of art. Pessimism, lack of self-confidence, laziness, the need to pay the bills...all of these things ended up putting the goal of producing something artistic on the back burner.

I intend to finally get around to changing that, at least a little. Presenting my seventeenth New Year's Resolution of 02009:

I resolve to undertake some sort of new art project.

I'll now describe my current dream project. [Note: I very much doubt that this is what I'll end up starting. Something tells me that it's more likely to be something much less involved, less ambitious, more modest. Perhaps a series of oil pastel or charcoal drawings.]

I would call this current dream project "The Domicile Project". I would like to either build or repurpose an old library card catalog. In it, I would catalog everything in our house, filing it all in alphabetical order, cross-referencing everything by country of origin, name, description, color, ingredients, etc. Each card would include the appropriate "home" location for the item described. So, by necessity, I would come up with a system which assigned a code to each shelf, each drawer, each cabinet, each room, etc. And that code would act as my personal Dewey Decimal System.

Each card would include a printed photograph of the item in question, but the description would be written by hand. Each card would have on its back a place for from and to addresses, and a rectangle for a postage stamp. Visitors to the installation (assuming someone would be willing to exhibit the project) would be encouraged to browse through the catalog and would further be encouraged to find a favorite card and take it with them as a souvenir, and also to take one to send as a postcard to a friend or loved one. The original hand written cards that had been removed would periodically be replaced by computer-printed facsimile cards (without the postcard formatting on the back). The facsimile cards would be somehow clearly marked as copies, with a watermark or a cancellation line through the face or perhaps a hole in the middle. Visitors would be discouraged from taking these, and encouraged instead to try to find a suitable original, until all such originals had been distributed.

And in case you're wondering, I am not obsessively well-organized. To some degree, I think just the opposite is true: that I am obsessively disorganized — at least as regards my personal stuff. But something about the potential for this exercise appeals very deeply to me. Perhaps it's a connection with the outmoded furniture. (I have recently come to understand that card catalogs are largely a thing of the past and that there's a whole generation of folks who don't know what they are.) Perhaps it's the alphabetization aspect. (While I am not organizationally minded, I am profoundly entranced by the invention of alphabetical order and its application.) Perhaps it's the idea of freezing a moment in time. (At some point, the cataloging would be complete. I expect that the final day of cataloging would necessarily involve going through the kitchen to document the perishables.)


A general note on the nature of my New Year's Resolutions: In case this was unclear, and in case anyone was wondering, I think it's worth mentioning that I do not necessarily intend to perform all of my 02009 New Year's Resolutions during the calendar year of 02009. Instead, I intend to give myself one year from whatever date I make each resolution. If I end up making my last Resolution on December 31st, it would be unfair to expect it to be completed by midnight that night.

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