This thing about placing ones faith in process and musing of its value is of course the result of finding myself in the throes of a research/studio based arts program. I had conversations with artists who had already been through the process before making the commitment and from what I gathered the general feeling seem to be that the 'act of making' itself suddenly seemed to occupy a space within the margins. So much of academia is concerned with the protection and possession of territory so what exists within its margins is often the least of what is integrated within its center.
Perhaps I am being just as possessive and territorial about 'process' but I think it's worth protecting. Often even the language used has metaphoric associations as if artists are preparing for battle with the need to 'defend' ones practice. I distrust the thought of having to perform such a thing and I've never felt the desire to do so. I don't mind 'describing' things but the idea of having to defend an art work to me perpetuates nothing but unnecessary language and rhetoric.
It's not my intention to project a sensibility that is anti-academic. My thinking remains very positive towards all that is invigorating and challenging about post-grad commitments but as someone who has always placed such faith in 'making' I simply believe it deserves to be considered as holding equal ground as a rigorous method in disclosing original thought and meaning.
These sentiments embrace the central ideas of Aus/Brit writer Paul Carter in his book 'Material Thinking' and similarly in 'Dark Writing'. Essentially as the first title implies, materials have the capacity to reflect/mirror/sense/echo certain narratives through our connection with them. His work reflects upon the relationship between the artists' making and choice of materials (as well as place) and how their particular engagement with the materiality is encoded with a capacity to inform and structure meaning. For some he may stretch the threads of poetic association a little far but personally he offers a counter voice to the often formulaic environment of visual arts academia.
The idea of existing within the margins is the general state of play experienced by most artists, or at least it should be at some time of their artistic life. But what remains at the center of any creative act is this notion of 'process' and its capacity to penetrate the historic, the poetic, the lucid, the illogical, gathering especially from what rests in the margins...sp