My Disquiet Year exhibition of 2009 was sentimental. It consisted of works of a theraputic nature that I made to help me make sense of a time of distress and ill-health and that I had not really thought about showing until the opportunity came up quickly and I wanted to take it and they were just what I had waiting in the studio at that time. I had less feedback on and direct responses to that show and those works than most other things I’ve done. I wondered if it was embarrassing for people… if it was too much…
Much of the work I make would easily be classified as sentimental and with the ‘S’ word being key to the whole Touchy Feely thing, I decided to make a yardstick work; the most sentimental work I could produce. Not a pictures-of-kittens, remember-when, ha-ha-I’m-so-lame sentimental work but something genuine and heartfelt. Then we might have an answer to TFs queries about whether it’s possible for things to get TOO sentimental.
Ten years ago this coming November, I suddenly lost a very close friend who I had known since high school. She was an energetic, creative person who breathed music and was the first great influence on my musical tastes after my older siblings. She died just before I began my MFA research which focussed on popular music and once I was done I dedicated my thesis to her. I would be lying if I said that I still think of her every day but I do still think of her most days.
After her funeral her brother sent me a cassette tape of recordings they had made together, cover versions of old blues, folk and rock. Guitar, piano and voice, recorded casually, probably over a single weekend. From this I chose their version of Bob Dylan and Rick Danko’s This Wheels on Fire not just because of her lead vocal but also the poetic commentary on our friendship that it provides. You know the way songs mean everything and describe your life perfectly as a teenager? Just like that. I think her brother actually played this recording at the funeral service but it’s one of those things that it’s hard to remember.
I recorded myself singing it with her. Very simply, re-singing her vocal line. This is the work.
I don’t think you need any further details about her or me or our friendship for the work to have value and I won’t be making a file of it available online for you to listen to. It’s a very intimate thing and if you want to hear it you should go to the gallery and slip on the headphones. If you can’t get to this gallery and you really want to hear it maybe you could try to get it to play in a gallery near you. I don’t mean to be difficult but context is everything, yeah?
I don’t think I would make this work without having this vehicle as an opportunity to ask the question: is it too much?
So – Inflight in Hobart, from the 25th to the 29th, 1 – 5pm.
And I really want to know what you think.