manifesto pt 1

Manifesto / writing about blogging and blogging about writing

Dare to finish...

on my morning jog I was musing over my recent commitment to manifestoing and how little progress I had made by now. when I first had the idea (see my last post) I was really excited by it, and that was partly because it was new territory: until that point the only manifestos I was aware of were the Communist Manifesto (which I haven’t read yet) and the ‘Mouldiness Manifesto‘ by one of my favourite architects Friedensreich Hundertwasser (which I have read even though I was quite put off by its title). so I happily decided to set me off by doing just a little bit of research at first…

but of course there’s just so much manifestoing out there and I speedily moved from an article about artist manifestos here to an entire feminist manifesto there to a book about co-operative living – and then on holiday to Barcelona. there I happened on all the modernist commitment to nature, arts & craft but also a very critical contemporary exhibition exploring democracy and to my great surprise the Petra Kelly sculpture on Montjuïc mountain: dedicated to one of the founding members of the German Green Party, a controversial and to me very inspirational woman who’s radical views could have certainly fed many a manifesto…

coming back to London I felt determined about my manifesto and about doing it properly. so when I went to the Hayward Gallery the other day and happened on Penguin’s ‘100 Artists’ Manifestos’ in the gallery shop it seemed almost like someone had read my mind and put it there for me. so I’m now slowly making my way through it: it’s quite an intense book. and quite an interesting one. the first things I noticed was that it doesn’t include Mr Hundertwasser. then that it also hardly includes any women authors. and then that what they consider the beginning of manifestoing seems to have been driven by a sfeisty macho culture of artist who are full of play, adventure and themselves, and not too fond of women, especially feminists.

this morning I also noticed how this book is totally distracting me from my mission which is running risk of slowly turning into a life-long monster of a project unless I acknowledge, 1) that researching manifestos is probably the best way of never doing mine; after all I’m not attempting to write other people’s manifesto but my own. and, 2) that even though it’s important that I understand the genre of manifestos it’s unlikely that reading hundreds of them will help me understand how to do it (correctly!) given how vastly different they all are from each other.

so all of a sudden it occurred to me that I had already discovered one of my first truths for my manifesto, ‘dare to finish it knowing it’ll never be complete‘. and that’s maybe the way to go for me: not to wait with sharing it here until it’s complete and instead to start sharing some of my journey of manifestoing.

the idea of this is true for me with so many other parts of my life especially my creative life: I know that each time I re-read one of my poems I want to re-write some of it, just a wee bit… each time I see one of my photos again I want to re-edit it, just a wee bit…

finishing instead of completing is not about not giving it my absolute best: with my current knitting project (a long-sleeved cardigan made from wool I had spun) I realised after finishing the back that the design I had chosen absolutely didn’t work for the wool. one of the beauties and challenges of hand-spun wool that I’m only slowly beginning to learn: it’s got a character of its own that determines what I can do with it, and not the other way round much as I might sometimes like that. knowing how precious the wool is I decided to honour it fully, unravel what I’d already done and start anew trying something entirely different. it still involved another re-doing at a later stage but seems to be working out now and i’ve come up with a lot of interesting design ideas in the process – and look forward to it being finished soon!

Knitting Project Mar 2015

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The Author

Writer, Photographer, Craftivist, Facilitator, Mediator, Trainer, Founding Director of deep:black. Passionate about equality & empowerment. And about anger & vulnerability.