Adrift (a drift)

A response to MFA positioning paper #1


‘Position your practice in a critical/theoretical/philosophical/broader art/social context. Create understanding of your work in relation to research; explore through a process that orbits, and/or penetrates your production.

Consider the art of writing itself; not just as a tool or technique for the translation of ideas or works. Consider your research processes and writing approaches as knowledge production; some people argue that research is embedded in production.

Be conscious of the formal aspects of your writing, experimenting with language and structure, not using text as a simple transfer of ideas.

Think about how a piece can be written to reveal its meaning in different layers, some accessible and some not, depending on the reader’s ability to recognise and follow traces and to use their imagination.’


From reading ‘Silence’, a book of lectures and essays by John Cage, who I have been a fan of for some time but never formally studied, I have finally been motivated to investigate the system of the I-Ching as a divination tool and chance operator generation. I have taken four headings from The I-Ching or Book of Changes which I feel resonate with my approach to my practice and used the corresponding hexagrams as the method of typesetting the body of the text. This mirrors much of the tone of the written material which focusses on the transience and ephemerality of thought.

In order to avoid a narcisistic tone in attempting to write about my practices in a formal manner, I decided to adopt a conversational tone approaching some of the general methodology, philosophy and investigations that feed into my practice rather than focussing on the specifics of the work I create, the driving concepts or mediums in which I operate and the drawing of explicit influences. Quotes have been used sparingly to provide a counterpoint and open up potential avenues of discourse rather than being used to specifically illustrate points made within the text. These quotes appear at a lesser opacity than the written works highlighting the space between my text and that of my influences although they are still visibly related but exist on slightly different planes.

The centre pages contain a visual piece, at its centre lies the unicursal hexagram, a Thelemic expansion on ‘the endless knot’ around which are placed the 8 possible components of an I-Ching operation, the radiating circles represent ripples of thought expanding outwards from the central point of enlightenment.

The piece has been printed on transparent 110gsm vegetable vellum in order to highlight the mutability and intransience of the words contained in the text. An A5 booklet has been produced in the already established format of NTC Publishing series under which I published works for my degree show which draws on the aesthetics of field guides and produces an enjoyably tactile physical product that is identifiable as part of a collected sequence of works.

You can read the booklet here (pdf opens in new window).