Uncanny

| March 21, 2011

The jester’s original function was to recite jests—narrative tales of heroic exploits (O.Fr. geste “action, exploit, romance”). Like fabled tricksters, they amused, cajoled, spun ludic into lucid and transported listeners by weaving together is-was-and-could-be. Both mythic and real, tricksters draw us into this “uncanny territory, a space ruled by the disarming charm of the very young child. It is a traveler’s space where everything is on the road, cut loose from any clear locale. Here the citizens walk their livestock backward and speak a weird reversing language” (Hyde 1995). In any domain, creative engagement relies on such errant ramblings beyond the usual, outside known coordinates.

At the conference, I will present a sort of jester’s guide to creative see(k)ing: the wandering, wondering, web-of-familiar-association-disturbing and predictable-duality-disrupting that are central in my own process as a visual artist. Participants will be invited to experiment with this approach, playfully leveraging uncertainty, randomness and knowing by not-knowing.