how things get done

For a while now, I’ve been trying to figure out what this space is. I call it ‘excerpts’ because excerpts are my favorite part of any creative exercise: b-sides, out-takes, compilations, rough drafts, diary notes, experiments, sketches, test strips, inventions, the negatives before and after the one selected as the definitive print, the moment before ‘Action!’ and just after ‘Cut!’, takes and scenes and characters jettisoned to the cutting room floor, passages read and then – ten years later – re-read with new understanding and then connected to something seemingly random.

I am terrified of social media. There’s an indiscriminate yet searching eye on everyone and everything all the time. And although I manage every word and image precisely, I think of this website as separate to the social media phenomena of being ready to be ‘seen’ by that eye or of ‘making a scene’. Someone who comes to this site is looking for me, Allison, specifically either as a person or as an artist. (Or is perhaps looking for Toni Morrison on Charlie Rose, Elizabeth Catlett, James Baldwin v. William F. Buckley, Adam Pendleton, or Jacob Lawrence, the Top 5 hits to this site that are not related to my name or my work. I imagine those searchers move on very quickly.)

What does it mean to project my process into the world via this website? I don’t really know of anyone in art who does this as a part of their practice. I wouldn’t even say that I’m projecting my complete process into the world, either, just the thinking behind it. I mean, I’m not at all interested demonstrating how I set up a shoot or edit footage or work a letterpress. There are enough ‘how to’ clips on YouTube. But I don’t think thinking, musing, reflecting, figuring out, probing – actively, messily – is given enough airtime anywhere. Ok, so that’s what this space is.

Jason said that if I had people with whom I was actively engaged in these conversations, I wouldn’t need to post about things like dystopian travel restrictions or the paper trail of historical documents in a very good article. But the fact that I keep doing it – despite having awesome conversation partners – means that there’s something behind the impulse, my dedication to the space. And it’s this: I’m compelled to show how I get it ‘done’, this ruminating aspect of making art, because I’ve had to piece together from others’ excerpts this ‘way’, and, maybe watching someone go through it would have saved me some time and confusion. Maybe, maybe not.