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Monday, July 17, 2017

Reflection

Yellow Ceiling Reflection 2017 Digital Photograph © Rowan Moore Seifred

I am in between things and I don't know where it's all going to end up and I am cool with that. The intensity of motherhood is receding, beckoning my deeper self to emerge. There will never be an end to the job but the formative work has been done. I am freer now to be more deeply myself and to explore the things I have willingly put aside in favor of child rearing. Primarily art making.

Understanding who I might be as an artist has been my journey for the past decade. I have been quietly working away looking for signs, practicing just being with my thoughts and ideas as I marched up and down my rural road. I kept my mind open and paid attention to what stopped me and made me say yes.  The work above is a bi-product of that. Here is the first piece in this series.

Stay tuned.


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Social Media Again

For the past several months I have yet again begun to question the role of social media in my life and work. It started in August when I sat down to look at the influence of social media on my development as an artist for a Pecha Kucha presentation at MONA.

I started by looking back to 2007 when I started blogging.  The fact that a linear record existed was notable. With that in mind I admit to willingly playing  along with this social media experiment but now I am feeling a need to reassess what it's best role is for me. I embraced Facebook fully in the beginning, like I declared my LOVE for it shamelessly in a status update one day in 2009. It wasn't long before I was also ready to began changing my use of it when I could see how it was changing my behavior in relation to how I was marketing my business. In those days I spent hours uploading photos of every little thing I was doing, now I am tremendously selective about what I post. I have switched to mostly posting photos via Instagram with some sharing to Twitter. I sometimes engage with Twitter during a live event which is sort of informative and provocative at times, and I ask  myself again what am I getting if anything from these engagements with social media. I am not getting job leads, I am not making residuals. So why I am dedicating time to it?

When I look back at my blog now I can see myself emerging little by little. Did I have to write a blog about all that, could I have gone to a therapist instead? I wanted to work that out and the blog seemed like a reasonable way to do it. I participated. The blog format has been an equalizer for people. The ability to publish your story this way is of course a thing to behold and revere. And in the beginning blogs went crazy and it gave me a place to think more deeply about what I was feeling in order to write about it. And because the potential of an audience existed I strove to be a better writer and a less whiny human.

Out in the real world. Pathways and grasses at UBC
 
In the past year the blogging dropped right off. I became silent due to issues in my personal life that needed all my focus.  I tried to write about the big stuff that was happening as a way of processing it, but that became tedious. Just being, not talking was better. In the background I stayed true to my daily practice of journal writing but I missed the blog. The slow crafting of thoughts into sentences that some how exorcise the hard stuff and open up the possibility for greater creativity. I will keep at it.

I joined Instagram a few years ago and used it as the origin for the images I was sharing. Picking people to follow who I found inspiring to my practice felt useful in contrast to Facebook. Even though I know my list is ranked magically to match my usage, I do still spend more time staring at it than is productive but I am trying to quash the impulse to grab for my device and scroll. Too much checking-in takes me away from keeping my attention focused on my actual work and process. The best use of Instagram for me is that of a digital sketch book. So the audience I have to please is myself and I can get inspiration when I want it.

Obviously around the election Facebook was brutal and that was when I took my first steps away from it and lately it is off my radar all together, except to check in with clients pages. No scrolling, no sharing, no commenting. I see it as the most useless and potentially dangerous of the social media formats. To borrow from local indigenous tradition I think Facebook steals your soul in the form of the data you add and share. I refuse to give it my digital chi any longer.
Twitter is the third tier and I try to only broadcast there. Like Instagram I see it as an archival tool, only with Twitter I like to share in a more macro way, to release data into the larger internet.

I think I am graduating from the notion of social media to the reality of a digital footprint, a collection of materials that describe me, that I author and manage expressly for my own use. I miss the little endorphin hits random likes give me but I hope that the time I save I can dedicate to more meaningful activities that will easily replace that hollow gratification that masks a more sinister presence.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Patience

I walked around the back of my property today, a quick consolation. The dog on a leash following me, picking her way through blackberries recently flattened by snow but no less sharp. It felt good to poke around back there and to imagine keeping a path open through the underbrush simply by walking it daily. I have been in a weird mood lately. Anxious and nervous, sad and sullen. The weather has been unusually cold for about 6 weeks and it's been hard to get out and walk everyday. I am deeply afraid of slipping and falling, perhaps cracking my skull open. I step and slip and stop myself with large jerking gestures that rip at my muscles and tweak my neck and shoulders, the body losing control while the brain sits idly by. Everything feels uncertain and the little tears seem to welcome bigger worries and my brain is all too willing to entertain fantasy horrors. On Friday I felt too weak to ride my exercise bike and while the forecast was for warmer temperatures they were slow coming. I felt so tired after waking early I ended up asleep on the couch at 9 am when I am usually going to work. My regular walking partner came by around noon and despite the cold we forced ourselves out and took our walk. She struggles with anxiety and depression too so we were able to talk about the spiraling down process as we went along. My legs felt weak and wobbly the result of a virus that lives down deep in me and flares up at those times when I am vulnerable and the light is low. It's like water flowing down seeking the smallest openings, the places you can't see or even feel sometimes. It's dreadful and precarious and I think about the long sleep. We shared a light lunch after our walk and I gave myself permission to rest and watched a movie. Eventually I planned a meal and drove to town to shop. I prepped and cooked and laid back down to wait for my husband and daughter to arrive. I watched a documentary about photographer Vivian Maier and then one about Maya Lin. The weekend came and went, I skated on a perfectly frozen lake and again on an indoor rink. My husband got the cold my daughter and I have had. I am home alone again back in my studio meeting with clients. It's raining now, the ice is melting and soon I will be able to walk daily, to do the thing I am designed to do.
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