One reason for creating Regular Marvels is to look for better ways of writing about people’s experience of art and culture. That experience is important and endlessly interesting to me, but any understanding of it, indeed the experience itself, is shaped by how it is told. So Regular Marvels sets out consciously to question how stories about artistic experience are created and shared.
It does so by trying out different ways of discovering, thinking about and recounting those experiences. If it is research—and it is deliberately not research in the sense that is currently approved by universities and research boards—it is research through practice. A Regular Marvel, for me, includes the 18-24 month process of exploration, its evolving presence on this blog and the final book with its artwork. (I use the term ‘Regular Marvel’ rather than ‘project’ or ‘research’ precisely to free this work from association with existing theories and practice.)
Each Regular Marvel is conceived and undertaken independently, in response to a particular situation, opportunity or interest. But each one tries to look at the essential problem (how to know and tell) from a different angle and so build a little more knowledge every time.
The process of understanding and then explaining what I am doing is itself therefore slow and tricky. I have written drafts of long essays that try to set out all the questions I have, if not yet the answers. But little time and much uncertainty have limited my progress. So I’ve decided to work out aspects of what Regular Marvels is about in occasional posts, which I recognise may be of very little general interest. I might not get all my ducks in a row, but at least I’ll begin knowing which ones I’m thinking about (even if they’re actually geese).
The first one, about power, follows this post: click on this link to read more.