Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sunday reflections...

Today is exactly a month since I made my journey into the Erasmus world of Milan. This is a very strange feeling because it feels like a lifetime ago, and yet like it could of been yesterday. This whole process has really revealed to me just how much a person can transition in such a short space of time, and jus how much one can change just through being within a different environment. 

The wonderful thing about this whole experience is that as soon as I arrived, I immediately felt at home, so the transition period of adapting from one place to the other took literally seconds. Maybe this is why time has completely disappeared here, because I very much feel like I am in a different world…Yet time is something that is really at essence because there is only so many months I am going to be here, so in that sense I am very aware of this invisible deadline. I am beginning to realise just how quick this experience will go and how important it is that when July comes, I can feel as though I have explored every direction and made the most of this whole experience.

I really want to push myself, yet it is hard to do so with no studio space, workshops or really knowing what materials & facilities I have access to. I guess the reality of it is that I am still learning and integrating myself within this new education system. I would love whilst I'm here to find a way of getting involved with a local gallery space, or to find some sort of collective, because these are very much important aspects of my experience as an artist, and having that very rich surrounding with working alongside people.

Tomorrow I have a meeting with Domenico, who is the course co-coordinator at NABA and I hope to discuss the general ins and outs of student life and the ways of art school here. I just want to get a better understanding of what my possibilities are, so that I can begin to visualize how I am going to work and begin making things. Afterwards I am also hoping to find the painting tutor Marcelo, who is the only person I know at NABA who meddles with Performance Art, which is exciting because maybe through him I can find out about student performance groups and other ways of exploring the practice in Milan.
  So far I have found Italy a very interesting country; it is a place with an extremely rich taste and projects a very high output and wealth of knowledge within the art world. The Italians are also I feel very open and have wonderfully political mind frames. All the lectures I have been to have discussed some really interesting artists/artworks and I love that the Italians are so involved and passionate as people. Although it is funny, because the Italians definitely inhabit a wave of negativity and bitterness, where they don’t seem to be happy in the situation that they are in... I found this very interesting article in the MiArt Magazine that discusses current Italian culture, and it talked about Italy being in a process of questioning itself as a country that has still not resolved its relationship with modernity.
“Italy is unquestionably experiencing a period of revived interest on various fronts. Actually, this interest comes more from the outside than the inside, in the sense that non-Italians tend to believe in Italy more than Italians do, and this goes for art as well. In short, out of fear of seeming provincial, we Italians find ourselves in a position where we rely on other people for validation about what we are, not realizing that we should be the first to recognize and affirm our values, our identity and talents.”
I feel this statement is very human, and I like how Italy is in this process of questioning itself, because it kind of reflects where I have felt for the most of my artistic degree.  I think it is a very healthy thing to do to question and reflect on yourself, and the answers always eventually reveal themselves to you if you look…I can also very much empathise that it is easier to see and realise something as an outsider, because sometimes we are far too inward and involved with our own inner battles to see the outer realities of our real situation.

I spent the whole of my second year questioning why I was at art school and if I was in the right place, and then followed onto a very hellish beginning of 3rd year, where I was consumed by the humongous amount of work I gave myself. It is through being here, and being out of that environment that I have been able to reflect on all these processes and now understand they were a vital part of my artistic journey and process. I feel now it is time to stop questioning, and to just believe in the essence of the unknown, now that I feel I have that foundation of self belief and set of artistic values. I can now have very much have a clearer understanding of where I want to go and what I want to say as an artist, what I want to project into the world…

This whole Erasmus journey, for me, is really about finding the balance between both working and socializing, planning and doing and becoming a part of the Milan artistic culture as well as really giving myself the time to explore and develop all my ideas, and to hopefully create some innovating pieces of work. I want the work that I make to really reflect this change of environment and also for my own presence to affect the people around me. It is about this exchange of knowledge and reflection that I want to bring back with me; who we are, how we function, how we behave, our inner and outer selves, all in relation to the space we inhabit…

This experience is as much about learning about myself as it is learning about living in a new city… It is something that will definitely help me find my voice, and make me realize what matters and what doesn’t. I think it is going to be a great journey of self-discovery and something that will definitely manifest itself into my future roots as an artist, all I hope is that time lets me create everything I want to and that I truly grasp it to make the most of this wonderful experience…

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