msdm a nomadic house-studio-gallery for photographic art and curatorial research, an expanded practice of the artist's book, photobook publishing and peer-to-peer collaboration created by contemporary artist paula roush
TITLE WORK: before rules / every night is a good night/ Esmeralda
AUTHOR: paula roush
TITLE PROJECT: Postcards for Perec
CURATED BY: Linda Parr
1 sheet FujiColor Crystal Archive paper
drilled with a Makita hp457d for 30”
cut into into a postcard 15 x 10cm
Message on the back left-hand side:
"We’re really covering the Costa Esmeralda.
Very interesting. Typical cuisine.
Locals a delight. Many regards."
Address on the right
PO Box 4271
I was invited by Linda Parr to participate in her project of postal postmodernism in Georges Perec’s Grand Tour, Postcards for Perec.
In 1978 Georges Perec wrote a series of postcard messages, dedicated to his fellow writer and friend Italo Calvino, Two Hundred and Forty-three Postcards in Real Colour. The messages seem a little repetitive and formulaic, but as both the men were members of OuLiPo, that is perhaps hardly surprising. Our aim, Linda wrote, is to respond as artists to this work by reproducing Perec’s messages, and making the postcards come to life by adding the missing images. We will exhibit them at UWE Bower Ashton library in 2021."
Once I accepted the invitation, Linda emailed me: Your message is
We’re really covering the Costa Esmeralda. Very interesting. Typical cuisine. Locals a delight. Many regards.
Please make a postcard in response. You can draw, collage, paint, stencil, stamp, buy or print. It’s up to your imagination, but in colour and 15 x 10cm landscape format please. Write and sign the given message on the back left-hand side of the postcard, address on the right, & post without any external packaging to Perec Postcards PO Box 4271 Devizes Wiltshire SN10 9EB.
During the same period I was invited by Luis Carvalhal to participate in another collective project. At a zoom meeting Saturday, January 16, 2021, Luis presents the rules for "There Is No Such Thing As Darkness," a project inspired by John Cage 4'33."
The first, a technical rule. Use 3 exposure times in reference to 4'33” work. The second, a conceptual rule. The 3 photos are a record of darkness.
I like working in dialogue with John Cage. "Every day is a Good Day," is one of the books here in the library. Since the beginning, my photo sculptures have incorporated chance, dice games and I Ching of Cagean aesthetics.
After the meeting I open the book “Looking and Seeing Nalanda Miksang Contemplative Photography” and in the preface I find the following comment by John McQuade.
Having attended a presentation in an American camera club where a photographer defended the need to break all the rules for creative work, the book’s co-author writes:
"It was a good presentation but I felt it missed the root issue. In my presentation soon after I suggested that the most direct way to spontaneous creativity was not in “breaking the rules. It was in making contact with the world before there are rules at all."
In Zen Buddhism and Cage’s aesthetic philosophy, we work with what we hear / what we see, in the case of Nalanda MIksang.
This comes before rules.
The night of February 28 2021 I woke up in the middle of the night and prepared the materials to work with: a box of outdated Fujicolor photographic colour paper, and a makita drill. In darkness (4:30 am starting time), the first sheet of paper was taken from the box, pinned to a wood structure and drilled for 30."
Satisfied with the test, 3 sheets of paper were drilled for 30”, 1’40” and 2’ 23,” put back in the box and scanned to be sent to Luis.
I later realised that the drill bit had remained stuck in the first test sheet; because the studio was in darkness i didnt notice there was no drill bit attached to the drill whilst using it to perforate the three sheets for Cage.
The test sheet was cut to 15 x 10 cm and Perec's message collaged at the back.