Two weeks ago, one of my co-years’ assignment to me for Graduate Seminar was to think about a specific event that had happened -rather accidentally- during the hanging of our past group show: while putting my pieces on the wall (five prints of various sizes), I used a metallic tape measure that I well, taped, to the wall in order to not depend on somebody else holding it for me. I needed the tape measure in order to have one straight vertical line that would visually guide me while hanging. I am not sure why I needed it, because ultimately I do not hang my work in straight lines or proportionally correct grids, but I felt and still feel a great sense of comfort in having that straight line there, the anchor, to begin with. My co-year suggested that I leave the tape measure on the wall for the show, as a sign of as something that may help me -and help the viewer- in seeing how these combinations come together, or maybe relate to that line to begin with.
While thinking about systems that operate in the same way that tape did, and also while elaborating on strategies for continuous -and productive- work making (which is something Liz Deschenes has had us work on incisively) I started considering methods that were linear, structured, well-packaged/consolidated. This meant to find, in the context of artwork production, whatever I may use as an anchor point in order to go off it, and create small “mix tapes” that operate alright together. These can be, say, small books, with a selected number of images of the week, put together, thought of, and then produced to get it out there. And move on to the next, to exercise the making, editing, and thinking about more and more work, constantly. Or in my case, creating “mix tapes” of images, following the idea or structure of a CD or cassette: the number in them must be limited and they must make sense at the beginning, middle, and end, like a good playlist. And they must be anchored or umbrella-ed under a good title. I now find it interesting and hilarious that both tape measure and mix tape share the word tape.
Precisely while thinking about the mix tape as a strategy to anchor and produce work -effectively and on a continuous cycle- it was Liz Deschenes who suggested to look into DJ Spooky’s Under the Influence -a mix tape of his own- called by AllMusic.com critic Matt Borghi an excellent, “long-running seamless sonic tapestry,” which to me like sounds like the way I’d want to hear the images I put on the wall sound, if they were, say, songs in my tape.