The Mark of Culture: The imprint, the gesture
The Mark of Culture, a collaborative printing activity marks the beginning of Against Delivery.
Flashbacks from mark-making:
Our conversations began from notions of the trace, the stain and the mark. There is a dual movement to the stain. It might work its way to the surface as in the dark room, or it might be stamped and pressed into the surface as in the printing process. There was some discussion of Didi Hubermann’s The index of the absent wound (Monograph on a Stain).
We discussed the gesture and how to invite people into a shared activity.
The initial invitation to enter into the activity was a performative preparation of making and donning aprons. Holes had to be cut. Sleeves and belts fashioned. Participants had to help each other out.
The screens – a legacy from Bruce Maclean – were already marked and stained by prior activity. They brought their own history into the space, something with which to interact, overlay, respond and interfere with.
The ceiling becomes the floor.
Participants created their own stencils from paper and collaboratively produced prints directly on the floor of the studio.
Black paint on one screen and white on the other. Slowly bringing the screens closer together until they crossed over and interlaid.
The event unfolded through non-linguistic gestures. Handing over a squeegee, placing a stencil on the floor. There were various ways for participants to find their way into the activity, at their own pace. They could just stand there and hold the rope, observe or peel off the stencils.
Layering up of stencils. Images overlayed.
Jayne reflected on the sense of loss of putting something in there and watching it be erased.
The stain appears over time, materialises in layers on the floor.
The conversation began with Florian reflecting on the flood.
Without words. We did speak. But it was difficult to translate the activity into words.
Florian noted that language is about something. It distances you from the event.
Dana said that she was completely inside it and couldn’t step out into words.
A lot came from the space. The activity was not directed by an external image or text, it folded into itself.