The Anatomy of a Blockage (The Way I Imagine It)

E S Kibele Yarman
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The first time I saw the artist's block or the sink where the water never flows out of the drainpipe, I made a mental note: "Whatever this is, real or imaginary, let it be" (In English, it's also known as "F*ck it") I have heard the urban legends around the block, but we don't know each other well. Sometimes it calls me. I don't pick up the phone. I won't. I haven't blocked its number, because I don't think I need to. We are the creators of these monsters and accordingly, they get bigger with the horrible stories we fill their containers with. We can think of the blockage as a King Kong fed some kind of fear. With the fear I create, I can produce something other than feeding my monster. A series of events takes place as potential energy is converted into kinetic energy wherever I direct it (it's also called "sh*t gets done" in English).

I have seen plenty of ways to remove the blockage so far, the first and most used is the impatient version: a nuclear attack- dousing the blockage with a horrible chemical (Drano) and burning it with boiling water on top. That's right, "things" die that way. But maybe I can try to calm down before I take the torch in one hand and the pitchfork in the other. Didn't I create this Frankenstein in the first place? Maybe I can try to figure out what it wants from me before I destroy it (Usually the monsters in such tales desire unconditional love). Maybe it is possible to establish a drainage system that doesn't require Drano. 

Beginning with the first step: I call the customer service - The first thing I have to do is to check if the modem is plugged in. I need to check that all other systems are working to make sure that this one can be defined as a blockage. For instance: If I have a stomach ulcer, cannot sleep due to the pain, or wake up tired in the mornings; and if I can't work because of it, it seems that I have a medical problem that needs to be solved, rather than having an artist block. It may make more sense to turn to medicine for the solution first. Sometimes the opposite can be true too, but I think both sides need to be considered. If I  have to start somewhere, it may make more sense to look at the hardware first. If I still notice a blockage after making sure these systems are working properly, then I can look at it (from a distance) and seek another solution.

That's why I 'drew' a model of physical blockage. 


We can name the yellow scribbles, in any combination with the following: 


1. Being convinced beforehand that what I will produce might not be good enough, and then witnessing a self-fulfilling prophecy (see Self-Fulfilling Prophecy).


2. Setting up very high standards for every piece I produce. In fact, I find this similar to bad parenting - putting too much pressure on my kids and not allowing them to exist independently. Are they perfect children? I think I'm against the idea that I shouldn't have a child if my child is not going to be perfect. Maybe in the future, they will be more "perfect" than any of us; we just can't understand them now. How can we be sure we are seeing this correctly with our current consciousness? What is "perfect" anyway? Perfect is what you call perfect. Sometimes you can call yourself perfect, sometimes you can call others perfect, so anything can be called perfect. You are still free to change your mind and change your mind on some of the things you previously thought were perfect. More than anything else, you are free.


3. Unleashing a storm of criticism against other works around me, thus convincing myself that others will feel the same way about my work ("It takes one to know one.") If I can free myself, I can free others too, maybe.


4. Living a prison life within the confines of imaginative high art and low art and not being able to get out of it. Being convinced that some "art" belongs to galleries and museums, and that some works are only high art if they can exist in those venues. I take Picasso and print him as a pattern on a plastic bag. Is it low art now? Well, I print the art on the plastic bag without knowing it was Picasso. Is it now low art? If it is, what happened? If it is not, what happened? Pass. (For those who couldn't pass, Orson Welles' documentary F for Fake has a strength of 9.9 nuclear power, a cup before bedtime). I can hang my work wherever I want, someone will probably see it and appreciate it. Plus, it shouldn't matter if someone doesn't appreciate it. Am I doing these to be appreciated? Should I be doing them to be appreciated? Isn't it enough if I appreciate them myself? Others who appreciate things the way I do them might appreciate it, but I shouldn't work for the appreciation. "Showing" and "being appreciated" can be considered two different things. Showing work, even if it's not to be liked, allows the work to be encountered by someone else. They can hate it at their own sweet will. I think that's crucial. Sadi Tekin hung his work on the window of a butcher in Kuzguncuk as part of his first solo show, and we all loved it. Such a thing was not in the plan, he planned on hanging that artwork somewhere else. So calculating every detail is not always the only solution. In the window of the butcher shop, the work could interact with a variety of people. The work, the creator of the work, the planned/unplanned audience could all be touched. A beautiful experiment.


5. Needing the approval of someone relevant to be considered "fine art". I find this similar to covering the back cover of a book with thousands of blurbs. If a piece of art is fine to me, then it is fine. Art critics don't have to find art that is good for me, it doesn't matter. The number of stars I give a movie doesn't have to parallel that of Rotten Tomatoes. My favourite animated movie is still Fantasia. Yes, with Mickey, the world is conquered. Yes, with the objectification of women in Disney cartoons, with its princesses, with warped beauty standards, Mickey washed my brain from age 5 to age 30. Yes, I know. But I still love Mickey. It is my heart, my love. I love whoever I want. At least I love it until I can't anymore. I'll try it. Maybe I won't love it for a while, then I'll start loving it again. I don't know if this is because we've seen too many movies about the life struggles of chefs who have developed a very important recipe Michelin Star. I'll cook my meal, it will be still nice to eat it without a star. Those who want to eat the food will probably eat it, even without its star, I guess. I don't know.

After saying these, I have to add that half-baked meals can be noticed from miles away. It does not seem possible to me to deny the differences between works that are not fully developed in terms of idea or practice and the ones that are completed. Whether or not everything must be fully cooked, may be a question. But half of everything should not be raw, I guess. In other words, I am saying that I am on the side, which thinks that it is necessary to make, to look, to make, to make more, more, more, and more food. I guess there are people who can produce works that fall from the sky according to an urban legend, but I myself have never witnessed such a thing. Like the artist said: It has taken me ten years and fifteen minutes to do that. However, what I did in those ten years is crucial. If I haven't done anything, the meal has remained raw. Or worse, it has rotten.


6. Feeling obliged to include a reference that is publicly confirmed to be greater than me in order to explain my own work. Actually, I understand the purpose of that. It may be thought of as a solution since not everyone can notice the references by looking at the work right away. While writing these notes at the back of "art", it is useful to remind the following: Of course, you did not come out of nowhere. On your path, you were inspired by everything that gives you inspiration; you heard everything you heard; you are already a sum of thoughts on your own. And now, you say your words may be all of them, may be none of them, may be some of them. Maybe you don't need to enumerate all of them? There is no harm in enumerating, of course, but there is no need to restrict yourself when you feel obliged to enumerate. Perhaps you mention them sometimes. And sometimes you don't. It feels like the need for this for every piece creates its own problems. I feel that this is a bit of an extension of assuming that the work cannot exist on its own without explanations. 

You don't need to "understand" art in order to interact with it. Things we don't understand may leave traces on us, too. I can summarize this item as an even more rooted extension of needing the approval of others for the "good" art - This time, there is a need for approval from the historical figures considered important. "This art piece seems very simple, but have you heard the idea behind it?" Next thing you know all philosophers that have become popular in history, set a raki-table in the exhibition statement. Don't these guys have anything better to do? I just don't get it, they come every time not to break our hearts. Do they do this out of courtesy? Let them pay a visit to others for a while. Who knows how many times they had saved the nation on the walls of the galleries, in artist books. Those who cannot fully understand the ideas behind the works that we produce, at first glance, can interact with them as much as they understand. Then perhaps they will appreciate them and come to look at them again. Perhaps they will interact with other parts of it. Perhaps some of them would discover the references that are enumerated in the statement on their own, or perhaps they won't. What does this change? Art does not have to teach anything. But if the artist truly wants to teach something; the only way can not be the one that is didactic, to enumerate the names, to make audiences memorize the ideas from those names. Perhaps there are other paths? I would like to quote from this poet as I leave the floor: "I kill my masters, I mentor none." (R-T-J) Perhaps there is no need to kill anyone, but perhaps there is no need to hang their portraits all over the work either. (Visual summary: Deleuze Aşağı, Deleuze Yukarı, 2014, Çağdaş Börek Salonu.) 


7. To assume that artists who can produce do not have concerns about money and maintain their lives comfortably. Due to this, to sow anger and worry, to reap depression. We sit in an atmosphere where it is a shame to even talk about money issues, and I find this odd, too. Like He-Who-Cannot-Be-Named, it is something that is exalted because of being taboo. It is just paper with figures on it. 

Unfortunately, we need these papers with figures on them. We can talk about this. We can also talk to each other about this, I assure you. We can believe that we have enough time to sustain ourselves by working on another job that we enjoy in the daytime, in order to have those papers with figures on them. And we can believe that we can still have enough time to produce. The 24 hours can be enough for anything, we can believe that. At least as an initial plan, we can believe that it is possible to economize on time.

By looking at the approximate amount of budget required to produce the things that I want to produce, I may get an idea of how I should develop a working method. If I cannot manage this, I won't force anything, I may try something else. I can enjoy it as much as I can. If I don't want to work in a bank, I don't need to work in a bank. If I want to do it, I can work in a bank too, I don't know. Perhaps I can even feed my soul and my production while doing another x job that I enjoy and am interested in during the daytime. There are troubles, but there are also solutions for those troubles. We can search and find them. At least we can find them until we can't anymore. 


8. (Most importantly) Forgetting that the mechanism within us that helps us do all these things works with love and being unable to determine what is good for it. To blow out the love within us by breathing upon it with hatred and envy. Not understanding why it blows out when it blows out. Instead of swallowing everything with the energy of a black hole and sitting in the middle of nothing by absorbing everyone's energies with small bites to add them to ourselves; perhaps it would be better for us to focus on reflecting every colour around us like a white pearl. I hope we can measure up to a pearl grain this summer. 




"When you've understood this scripture, throw it away. If you can't understand this scripture, throw it away. I insist on your freedom." [-" K ".]