response/ revision to the gap (assignment 1)

I write this post towards the end of the module, after having posted the materials for assessment. The submission for A1, the gap is still a photographic print of the installation installed above my bed.

In autumn last year there was a plan to install a new set of filing cabinets as prints from my inkjet printer in the place of the actual filing cabinets; moving them to the other side of the room. With varying intensity I pursued this plan over the ensuing months. It stalled as I still felt I had to record the actual gap in more systematic ways: once I would move the cabinets, it would cease to exist. And still, something made me hesitate to proceed. And so the months passed, we went on strike, we went on fieldtrips, it ceased to be important, I left the corridor for this work. Now almost a year has passed and I still haven’t installed it.

I realise before the summer that something else facilitates this non-actioning of the plan: it is the resonance that not only one of my crit group friends identified in the photograph but my tutor also: the shape of the gap as photographic print becomes a vulva, becomes suggestive of female genitals in the way it curls and slopes around an imaginary absent hole. While I kind of sensed that there was an erotic charge in the photograph, I took it to be the red surface of the bed covers.

In the tutorial, Doug suggested that I should consider if this connotation has a place and if so, give it that place; and if it doesn’t maybe I should reposition the piece, remove it, so as not to add more confusion to the piece.

I conceded back then, and still do, that it does have a place. I like that connotation and like how it hovers around the idea of body as drawing tool; of place, of agency, of the kind of relational concepts at play between two filing cabinets. At the same time, it also meant that re-installing it was not going to be easy. I realise during the summer break that between myself and office inhabitant the installation is fine and would be fine, with a range of connotations. But it is not fine as a public office off a corridor and next and opposite to a number of colleagues. The idea to make the installation public was foreclosed with this. It still hasn’t opened, it may still do; but possibly only once I reposition that charge.

When I discuss the connotation with people who have seen the actual installation above my bed they are surprised (as I was): the environmental context, the wider and open edge of the piece do not focus in on the shape of female genitalia. It remains unfinished, in a sense. And in a sense it also foreshadows in this way the questions over site, audience and what constitutes the actual work that have been so productive for this course.

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