'Unfathoming' (2018) by Jeremy Bakker - a written response

Now

On my way to meet the artist at his studio

Googling his work,

stretching out the tiny digital images on my handheld device,

tapping notes in response to the descriptions provided.

I add more tabs to my google search:

//stone tools, modern technology, how drinking glasses are made, the dark side of the moon, time+now+contemporary art, process+repetition+contemporary art, post-conceptual art, art+embodiment...//

I keep adding tabs,

a way to get my thinking going.

Before I know it, I accumulate a vast amount of information.

I can’t grasp it all at this moment, 

but my fingertips keep moving on the surface of glass

My hands keep busy scribbling words 

 

My hands

now holding tea

at Jeremy’s studio.

pacing out this cup-full with tiny sips and warming my fingers

 

A sheet of paper

as big as my body

handwritten text fills my field of vision:

the word “now”, in lines that scroll from top to bottom,

accumulated into layers so that in the centre of the page 

the writing itself disappears in an incomprehensible muddle of black ink.

 

the “now” continues to move while

each moment captured, each word written down

sinks into the past

 

I reflect on all those moments:

a body, hands keeping busy, the simple gesture of writing

my eyes follow the movement of that meditative activity,

into that dark where the words disappear

and the now is present

 

A familiar object

that could be mistaken for a drinking glass

in fact it is the inside space of a drinking glass

filled in by the glass itself, the outside having become the inside.

On a mirror shelf, beneath it the reflection

hangs upside-down

All the moments measured whilst sipping from this glass, 

an accumulation of experience

impossible to hold in the volume of this vessel.

This vessel 

crushed down to dust, melted, poured back into its own shape.

Solid to liquid and back, turned inside out.

The curve of its surface now shows everything outside:

the present passing by in distorted flow.

 

Now

my tea, half-gone and cold,

but this cup in my hand suddenly seems alive. 

This object 

and every other common object and tool that we use in our daily lives 

from the first moment people banged open rocks 

and realised that the sharp fragments could be used as tools. 

And now satellites take pictures of hidden mysteries in space.

 

A small photo frame 

turned around to face the wall

NASA photograph of the dark side of the moon:

a terrain that has been a symbol of the unknowable.

I can probably google it quite easily,

but I rather surrender to the curiosity that is evokes.

There is a little gap where the image is hiding

which only exacerbates the yearning to know.

 

In my hands, a tablet 

shows an image of a prehistoric stone tool.

A tiny digital hand, for grabbing hold of things on screen

slowly moves over the sharp edges and lines of the stone.

As if this hand will somehow allow me to touch and feel,

to reach across the span of time to prehistory.

My eyes follow this movement, the tracing of the finger on the dark glass.

 

And now

my last sip of tea, 

I pause to appreciate 

this movement that my body can feel.

Time’s duration, the flow of the present,

and an ever-present yearning to grab hold of it

Words, solid forms, digital objects, photographs:

embodying vast histories of experience, memories, mysteries

always present from moment to moment

as we keep on grasping, touching, endlessly laboring

and connecting our bodies with the unfathomable.

- Lou Fourie, July 2018

A written repsonse to ‘Unfathoming’ (2018) by Jeremy Bakker, shown at BLINDSIDE ARI, 1-18 Aug 2018