September 19, 2010

Don’t Think; Just Do

This will be our last “warm-up” week, where we will finally move outside of the office, and into a more natural, less fluorescent, working environment. Moment Art need not be confined to a white-collar atmosphere, so skilled tradesmen, landscapers, construction labourers and such, I’m looking at you. In fact, you may be overlooking how creative you already are on any given day. So after you’ve installed that sheet metal slip onto the dozenth eight-foot insulated air vent you’ve fabricated and hung, take five from the home you are helping to create, and build a little something more personal.

First, go out back and take a look at your scrap pile. What do you see, cardboard? Grab it. Screws? Nab a few. Adhesive, Styrofoam, stain? Score. I found a nail and some paint.


We only have five minutes, so we’re not going to put a lot of thought into this, not let our ego guide our hands in order to sculpt a perfect fiberglass replica of Niagara Falls. Instead, we’ll do something a little more abstract. We’ll allow our subconscious to guide us. Time spent thinking is time wasted during this Moment.
Every sort of rubbish can be an incredible find for your Moments.
Photo by Paul Goyette under Creative Commons License

Take whatever you’ve found, and make a mark. For example, lay some duct/electrical/gaffer’s tape over a piece of cardboard torn from a hardware box. Lay it out in any pattern. Spray paint some colour on the box, let it dry a minute, then yank up the tape. Lay out another pattern, try another colour, and repeat. Your result will assuredly be a pleasing pattern of lines, colours, and if you choose to leave some tape on there (do it!), then texture. Nothing profound, just art.

If you can’t find any paint, then don’t panic. Find a nice piece of scrap wood or sheet metal, and then begin gluing found objects to it at random. Random is the key word here. Don’t put any thought into this at all. Simply take an object, apply some adhesive, and stick it to another object*. Repeat until your break is over.

* Ensure that the objects you are using are scrap. This is crucial. Don’t glue fresh light bulbs to the sheet of drywall that you are supposed to install after lunch. You’ll get fired.

When it’s time to get back to work, leave your Moment to dry.

At work, our productivity and the results thereof are constantly being judged. We strive to do our best, all the time, because we are in direct conflict with our coworkers (for position in company hierarchy) or competitors (for profit share). At work, we need to be blue-ribbon medalists at all times. This requires strenuous effort, and certainly a lot of thought. So much so, that at times, lying in bed while falling asleep at night, our muscles remain tense and sore, our minds scattered with worry. What did I do right/wrong? Will there still be work tomorrow? Will it be enough to cover the utility bills? What could/should I have done differently?

Photo by Arne Coomans under Creative Commons License
We’ve got so much on our minds that we need a break from it all, which is why this week it is vital that our Moments do not become another stressor. Don’t think about what you are creating. In fact, if at any time during your daily practice your Moments give you any anxiety, then take a break from this practice, or repeat this week’s exercise. Let your subconscious mind create your art this week; you have enough to worry about. Don’t think about them, just do them.

At the end of your workday, go back to your Moment. Pick it up; become immersed in it. Do you see anything in the abstraction; do you discern anything your subconscious is trying to tell you or the world? If so, then great! If not, then great!

It is not important.

Take your moment, and before you leave your jobsite, place the Moment on the front door of the home at which you are working. If your jobsite is nothing more than a structural skeleton in gestation, then leave your Moment in a prominent place, where it will attract the most attention. Remember, your Moments do not belong to you; they belong to the world and to the voices that spoke through you.

Do this daily this week. And remember: if you’re not having fun, then you’re doing it wrong.

Now to be fair, here’s my Moment:

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