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From the Rabbit Hole: The Plan (as of day 15 of residency)

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

In my previous post I tried to show how I was getting a bit lost in research. I left the lab Saturday frustrated but determined to find my way back to a workable place.


Sunday I had dinner with friends and their 11 year old daughter, R. I was talking about my ICI project and said I was afraid I was falling down a rabbit hole. R sat up straight and confidently informed me that I was too big to fit in a rabbit hole, which is only about (now she used her hands) this size.

Today, as I walked into the lab, I looked up to the ceiling at the only source of natural light


and thought-

is that the opening and am I truly in the rabbit hole? Or, is everything inverted and the rabbit hole is actually the window? …..

But ultimately R was right. I can’t fit down (or up) the rabbit hole.

So, I decided to simply state my intentions for this Monkey Head project.

I begin at the source, the 3 stone Study Objects:


and work backwards to the book, which will be an Atlas

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and I come up with this –


which sounds like a plan.




Day 12

Saturday, September 24th, 2016

Today the first thing I did was check my email. I opened the Art & Education email to see a lecture series at MIT. This caught my eye because, for me, a new term emerged – “nonorganic vitalities”. So I googled the term and got to Deleuze which took me to Etienne Turpin which took me to his website and his book in pdf form Architecture in the Anthropocene  which has some interesting art as well as essays all of which, at first glance,  in some ways seem to relate to my thinking about art and knowledge and things and scientific atlases. Being a visual thinker, I added a chain of events notes to the chalk board.


Then I thought it looked like a map so I added a more elaborate map in my lab book (superimposed over a map of Iceland)


which contained a saying from Alice about the importance of words with pictures, which made me think of the rabbit hole I was going down, which coincidently related to the image on the facing page of a rock and its hole from the ICI garden.

The lab book and the lab I am working in, increasingly, resembles the layered maps in my head.

a map of getting lost

I like to look at maps not to know where I am going or where I was, but to know where I am. Which at the moment is a bit lost.

The more images I put up, the more associative ideas come to mind, and new connections happen. The painting of a rock next to a painting of a tide pool where the rock once lay reminds me of the stone and its hole. And the tide pool painting reminds me of the faux marble reproduction from a portfolio of decorative painting techniques, which makes me imagine an Atlas-of-faux-marble-paintings and it so happens that very portfolio cover is the one I am using for my own Atlas-about-unusual-stones.

All of which makes me feel a bit less lost…


Here are more additions to the walls in the lab:


I think the rubbings of stones are like the etching prints.

Here are some working ideas for the Atlas:




Day #9 of Monkey Head residency

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

I have been spending my time:

Thinking about Atlases/ Thinking about how they convey knowledge


I’m having a conversation with this book, among others. Also talking to LP.

Specifically, I’m reading about the history of the scientific Atlas. The book breaks it up into 3 sections:


Mechanical Objectivity

Trained Judgement

Working in my Lab Book


I decided if it’s not worth looking at, it’s not worth reading. Here I am experimenting with different ways to re-present an image.

Making my Daily Drawings

For the past 10 years I have been making a daily drawing. Here are the ones I made on days I was at the lab. They tend to be about the topic of my research, which is, roughly, what would an atlas of stones look like if it included the aberrant instead of the essential? How could that reflect theories of science and, by extension, art/culture theories like “Speculative Realism”, “Thing Theory” and “Object-Oriented Ontology”?


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