Today new thoughts on obsessiveness. It occurred to me while I was working on my recent exhibition, that all my best works have obsessiveness as a working method. I can’t say that I deliberately chose for it, not yet in any case, but there is a particular mind state, which is favourable to me, I find, when I become obsessed with something. To give an example I made a work when I photographed 100 grams of rice grain by grain, resulting in 5640 photographs. Or I made a year-long photograph with total length 21 km. Most of the works have obsessive character, if not in visual outcome, then in the way I approach it. Even these journals, which I committed to write every day for one year no matter what. I also decided to not cut my hair while I am working on IM. I can find many explanations to such actions, that conceptually make sense, but there is a personal attractiveness in becoming possessed by the process. I love the feeling of being in that space. If I try to describe it, the most accurate would be a feeling when it makes sense to give into repetition or invest into a long-term commitment. When things make sense, I am like a tank, nothing else matters. It feels like deep internal trust in the way things make sense.
Post-factum, it also makes sense to others, witnessing the obsessiveness is appealing. Interesting thing is that there is no initial need in whatever is made through obsessiveness. Nobody is waiting for it, it is something that starts to exist out of internal drive. And no matter how ridiculous the initial activity to to obsess with is, I take it very serious. Without seriousness it won’t work. While being done with dedication and precision, obsessive works for me are full of lightness or silliness. Why someone would photograph 100 grams of rice grain by grain? While in the process I know that it is a silly thing to do, I have no doubts about doing it. There is no concern about external reception and this circumstance is what allows the feeling of seriousness to be comfortable working together with silliness without hesitation. Perhaps, the fact that there is no external expectations to be fulfilled, there is no need for it in the first place, people are attracted to the outcomes. It is surprising, alive, charged with a force beyond rationality or pure emotion.
I mentioned seriousness, it is another quality I am overly aware of. I heard it a lot form others, describing me. I was experiencing it as something negative and it was causing me internal conflict. Yes, I take things seriously, those that might not be taken seriously by default. But it doesn’t mean that there is no fun in seriousness. I feel, because of the general low level of emotional intelligence l, we often lack words to describe feelings and emotions. As a result, we quickly place generalised labels without spending time to take the other person through a series of questions, checking if it aligns and get the emotion right. We are rushing too much leaving a person feeling confused with a label that doesn’t feel right. In my case seriousness is one of those labels. I used to feel rather uncomfortable and very aware of myself in situations where my seriousness was called out. I still went for it, but internal discomfort, a feeling of not being understood, was always lingering on the background. Now I lost that unpleasant residue and feel rather comfortable with being serious. As long as the silliness can find some space to play in my obsessiveness.
When I realised that there is a particular method to my works, I had to think about relationships with people. I can also obsess over people and I can also carry the obsession of the other. When things make sense. I used to be more connected with this quality of mine, but obsessiveness comes with intensity and if the other can’t accommodate it then things get out of equilibrium and the connection is disrupted. The moments when the obsessiveness was mutual are the most rich and memorable moments in my life. The amount of energy that is being generated is an immense source of creativity. It is beautiful, yet, intense and takes skills, desire, fearlessness and strength to maintain. But if the obsessiveness finds a space to unleash, it will generously surprise the one that is eager to contain it.