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Hot Rod Biology

Exploring the dynamics of monstrosity in regard to imagination, innovation, and invention in design based practices

Published: 2006-07-25T10:10:59+10:00


Opening and Closing


Apologies to those of you who've actually been following this, it's been a while and I'd like to explain...

I'm currently working on writing/designing the document I want to submit, and while this blog has been really useful for me, I've found that it tends to be best for 'opening' things up rather than 'closing' them down. Obviously I'm now working on closing things down, as fabricated and unreal as that feels.

seminar poster



Poster for upcoming GRC. Click on it to see big... the 'abstract' should be legible? I've since rewritten the abstract for the program. It went more like this...

This practice-led, project-based research charts, simultaneously, my disenchantment and re-engagement with graphic design. A seismic shift in activity and perception bought about by a provocative process of disruptive reframing. Central to this research are questions about dislocation, disinterest, and reinvention. These questions are framed by an underlying desire to locate a conversation and a community of practice that has some resonance for me.

Exploring and proposing 'monstrosity' as generative metaphor - a methodology - within practice-led research, the projects, initially, provoke my own personal habits, beliefs, and expectations. Later projects, often 'outside' the research specifically, will be used as evidence of a certain level of re-engagement.

As disenchantment is common, perhaps pervasive, within professional practice, my account of this research will propose that a more general understanding of practice-led research - highly reflective, self-initiated work - is essential if graphic design is to support and sustain imaginative, innovative, and inventive practitioners. Rather than target graphic design's inability to support provocative practices, my research focuses on the potential of the individual practitioner to motivate and design a more generative and engaged practice.

Summative categories


Thinking about how to 'curate' (sorry Kreisler!) this next issue of The National Grid so that I can submit it as my final project/thesis I've decided to break it into three parts. Each part presenting a different aspect/conclusion to my research (and hopefully making clear without 'saying' the relevance of the publication to the Masters?).




I think I was influenced by this "DDD11 exists in the shady overlap of a curious venn diagram made of two saw-toothed circles labelled BIOGRAPHY and REPETITION" from Dot Dot Dot. Following a conversation with someone last week I sat down to write something about DDD... I was interested in how I'd discovered it on my first trip to Melbourne, it'd taken me a while to 'like', and then I've recently met and hung out with Stuart (ed DDD). I thought that somehow by charting my relationship with this publication I could explain my Masters (and maybe that'll be my text for the next TNG?). Anyway I like the way the monster dissapears into the middle (of my murky venn diagram), and it's not about my own research specifically... it feels more abstract (useful). In fact this decision has been influenced by the number of people (graphic designers) I've met with lately who've all seemed very 'disenchanted'. If disenchantment isn't pervasive in professional practice then it is certainly very common.

So my current plan is that I'll 'curate' (I can't think of a better word) a bunch of texts by other people that fit into (or sit between) these ideas. And for my submission I'll generate another document to sit with this (to hold it's hand... I'll make it the same shape/size) that will be broken (fabricated) into the same sections DISENCHANTMENT/PROVOCATION/ENGAGEMENT. This text will contain the 'academic' stuff (documentation of earlier projects, personal observations, and explicit thesis) that 1. is required for a Masters, and 2. seemed inappropriate for TNG.

I'm currently trying to write a summative (conclusive) statement under each of these three headings for my penultimate review in Melbourne in 2 weeks. I'll post that here when I'm able to articulate something I'm (more or less) happy with.

The National Grid as thesis...


In discussion with Lisa just prior to leaving NYC she suggested the possibility of using The National Grid as my final project... primarily I think as a way to combine the projects and make less work for myself, but also because it seemed to make some kind of sense as I'd been pointing to TNG as 'evidence' of my Masters having manifested some change/shift in my practice.

I immediately liked this idea, but having thought about it over the last week I've been finding it really hard figuring out how to proceed? It seems obvious that I'd 'plan' the issue and then brief people to write about specific aspects that relate to my topic... esp people who'd been influential within it, Lisa obviously, and I was really keen to Stuart to do something. I quite liked that the briefs I would write could be considered as my thesis (in the sense that the thesis contains as many questions as answers).

Anyway I talked to Jonty, my co-editor, about this idea... and we both agreed there was a large potential for it to be 'icky'. Interestingly I think we both meant the same thing in our use of a vague and childish term... it was hard to locate, but I think it had to do with the idea that TNG would become (for an issue at least) 'academic'. I think we both like the idea that the publication can be more abstract than that... existing between definitions like that and 'real world' etc. More of a ghost...

I think I mentioned this to Cameron and Lisa when we met, but it became more apparent when considering how to package/write up my research... I have two potentially different endings I think? To be honest I feel like there's one that RMIT would like, and then there's one that The National Grid would like... my question here (and I really would like feedback!) is... are these really different? And is [1] innappropriate for TNG? Or is that just a question of the language I use? And finally, should I just go back to doing what I was going to do (thesis as a publication of/on it's own, a monstrous text constructed by me using both appropriated and original texts)?

[the sensible academic conclusion]
- the newness of practice-based research (illegitimacy)
- the hybrid/mutant nature of it (it's construction is monstrous)
- that it tends toward autobiography and narcissism
- how to negotiate this (self-awareness vs self-obsession)... learn from it, make it generative?
- how to articulate this... communicate (extract) implicit/particular/tacit knowing as explicit/abstract knowledge via personal stories and anecdotal evidence?

[the angry young man conclusion]
2. THE DYNAMICS/MECHANICS OF MONSTROSITY IN CREATIVE PRACTICE (imagination, innovation, and invention)
- monstrosity as a generative metaphor
- the importance of the marginal and provocative in creative practice
- locating the marginal/peripheral
- generating and sustaining the provocative

all of the above could be discussed particularly in relation to individual practice (reinvention, generative-ness), but also more abstractly in relation to the broader domain of Design (something about Design's ability to generate or sustain marginal and provocative practices [I don't think we do it as well as other creative practices... why?])

My penultimate review is on in 3 weeks and I really need to make a decision and get a considerable amount done before then!? I'm quite freaked out about that time frame but I'll try and reserve my anxiety for offline discussions...

Having something to say... conclusion(s)


I recently met with both Lisa and Cameron to talk about my thesis. Cameron pointed to my desire for a 'grand narrative' as perhaps important, and that I shouldn't shy away from it. There was an interesting argument around what a thesis is as opposed to an exegesis, Cameron thinks/thought I was looking for something important to say... and kind of went on to say that he thought I had that (specifically in relation to practice based research). I was asked what my conclusion was and I said I thought I had multiple conclusions (based on different observations). It was suggested that I might perhaps write up these conclusions... working backwards... in the expectation that this might help me work towards an 'end-in-sight'. I haven't done this yet, but I have given a lot of thought the practice-based/led research one.

I had to write a blurb about my research for a book in the weekend, and I wrote this (this is unedited and written in a rush but I thought it was worth putting up here)...


I've been trying to write something about the monstrosity of practice-based research. About how much I hate it, but that, in hindsight, it's obviously been rather fruitful for me. I want to say that practice-led research tends toward autobiography, and that its inevitable that we've all become quite monstrous here - too much time spent in front of the mirror (mine have been those warped and disorienting ones you can find at Coney Island). Followed by something witty - jocuserious - about the horrific realisation that I had somehow become the object and subject of my own research. But then, of course, to articulate my point (all monsters have at least one sharp point) that only through this painful realisation - the creation of my own worst enemy, my own Mr Hyde, a self-motivated self-disruption bordering on masochistic nihilism - could I (we?) have made any progress. What kind of progress have I made? Like Victor Frankenstein's monster, mine has made me realise what's important, but unlike poor Victor and Dr Jekyll I hope I've been able to 'pull out' in time, for this is dangerous work. But sometimes things need to be destroyed to be rebuilt. And if I sound overly cynical or negative it's because I've found that the generally destructive dynamics of monstrosity - aberration, fear, illegitimacy, exaggeration, provocation, failure (you could go on but these are the ones I'm interested in) - might be rendered momentarily useful. Indeed, through the manifestation of my own cynicism - traversing my own discomfort and fear - I have, almost unconsciously, managed to re-engage with a practice/domain that I had previously all but given up on. I still think graphic design is a bit trite and banal, but that interests me now... deeply perhaps. And somehow that's all I really wanted anyway. To be more engaged by it.

I'm being brash and a little vague, so I guess I'll just propose monstrosity as a generative metaphor within practice-led learning - a strategy for extracting the implicit and the particular, and a methodology for articulating and/or negotiating the beast that will inevitably appear in explicit and abstract terms. How to write about yourself? How to negotiate the narcissism of it all? And to be honest, I want to see others suffer as I have done. If I don't I'll be skeptical about what they've gotten out of all this, that's all.

The Horror, the horror! A monstrous text!


I've been really struggling with this thesis... I have about 5 or 6 different 'starts' and other bits and pieces of texts. Everytime I feel like I know how to approach it I get some way into, a couple of thousand words if I'm lucky, and I begin to get cold feet. In my mind I project what would come... how the entire thesis would need to be played out if I was to continue in that vein... and I begin to feel sick, literally... like I've just wasted another day, or another week, writing myself down a dead end road.

I've always had in mind a romantic vision of my thesis at the end... a cohesive grand narrative... flowing from contentious/disruptive beginning to irreverent and final end. I can't describe the anxiety that comes with the realisation that this might not be going to happen. I've spent most of the last week in a state of paralysis! Not knowing how to proceed. Stuck. Not sleeping... getting worse.

Then, riding over the Williamsburg bridge lastnight (always good for a think!), and feeling down about leaving New York, it occurred to me that, if nothing else, this was all quite appropriate! Lots of starts with no finishes, pot shots,... failure and frustration. The story of my masters. There is no cohesive grand narrative, only observations, a fragmented but loosely stiched collection of realisations about research, about graphic design, about philosophy, about creative practice, about relationships...

The 'cohesive grand narrative' I have had in mind since the beginning. What I failed to do then was modify the expected outcome based on what I've actually learnt about research and about design!? Or maybe, to be more precise, what I've learnt about 'myself' as a researcher and a designer. My thesis isn't working because I'm trying to dress a monster in academic narrative. A beginning, a middle, and an end... hypothesis, experiment, conclusion... that's not how it happened, and if anything my actual research - the projects, the failure - testifies to a certain value in working in a mode that is almost oppositional to that model.

My thesis then might also be monstrous!? This realisation comes as a huge relief to me! Already I feel like I have a bunch of texts I can use/reuse, and I feel like I can 'move' about freely. But not only does this give my thesis the kick in the pants it needed, it also tells me something more about the monster... or my relationship with the idea, proof that, for me, the metaphor is indeed generative... that it acts as a foil to my often overwhelming anxiety and pessimism... and that it opens up and promotes a sense possibility from within a sense of failure... that it might actually render faliure very generative?

What do I mean by a monstrous text? Just quickly... I want to be able to write about things inside of and outside of my research. I want to be able to write about other people; Dylan, Kaleb, Stuart, Lisa, and maybe certain students. I want to be able to write in whatever style seems right to me at the time. I want to be able to be highly personal and anecdotal one day, and critical and academic the next. I want to be able to interview myself. I want to be able to write a horror story, a self-help manual, a glossary, and a letter to my girlfriend. And I want to be able to write when and where it feels right... to be able to stitch this all together at the end... like Dr Frankenstein - the monster is an exercise in editing!


The Monstrosity of (Auto) Biography



That my research, and indeed that 'practice-led' research in general, tends toward auto-biography.
That Stuart Bailey's text 'On Biography' in DDD 11 points to a space, "a gap between two poles" from which the character materializes, "spectre-like".
That this text of his relates back to something Robin Kinross wrote in DDD 2 called 'The Uses of Failure'.
That SB is currently interviewing RK.
That maybe I interviewed Dylan in search for relief from talking about myself.
That when I was interviewing Dylan I wanted it to be more 'conversational', and that in doing so I ended up talking about myself.
That this made/makes me uncomfortable.
That at one point I claimed to be seeking discomfort.
That this discomfort (a la Bailey/Kinross) might be useful... where the (my) spectre materializes?
That it's peculiar to seek out one's own ghost.
That Dr Jekyll's quest for improvement through self-awareness went horribly wrong.

Mary Shelley on invention (with hybrid reference to Oprah Winfrey)...



"Every thing must have a beginning, to speak in Sanchean phrase; and that beginning must be linked to something that went before. The Hindoos give the world an elephant to support it, but they make the elephant stand upon a tortoise. Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of the void, but out of chaos; the materials must, in the first place, be afforded: it can give form to dark, shapeless substances, but cannot bring into being the substance itself. In all matters of discovery and invention, even of those that appertain to the imagination, we are continually reminded of the story of Columbus and his egg. Invention consists in the capacity of seizing on the capabilities of a subject, and in the power of moulding and fashioning ideas suggested to it."

From the introduction to Frankenstein... complete annotated text is reproduced online here.

I liked the idea that I could write this thesis in a monstrous style, half horror story - half self-help manual... kind of, Mary Shelley meets Oprah Winfrey... prophetic and evangelical, both romantic and spooky. But I'm not sure I'm a good enough writer to do that. (Oprah's website is worth checking out by the way)

One thing is clear though, the writing and production of the thesis should be seen as a 'project' within the research.

Armand Leroi on Mutants (and Oprah's freak show)...



As an occasional cure for homsickness I log onto National Radio. Recently I heard an interview with Armand Leroi talking about his latest book Mutants. Armand is an evolutionary biologist with a specific interest in genetic deviation. What was most interesting to me was how what he talked about was more broadly applicable to cultural attitudes about deformity and perfection. Armand talked about how important mutations are right now in terms of pointing us to what specific genes are actually supposed to do. He spoke about how we're currently in a period of renewed interest in mutation and abnormality, but how that interest was one based on the correction, or normalisation, of such 'flaws'.

Of course he talked about the history of mutation, how early on misformed babies were assumed to be monsters or demons, and then later the freak shows of the Victorian Era (The Elephant Man in particular), which were eventually - for obvious moral reasons - what drove general interest in mutation underground.

In my thesis I want to try and negotiate/articulate my disengagement with the fundamental description of design as 'improvement'. To develop a critique of the 'cult of purity' that is pervasive in the discipline, and to justify or locate a position other to that. More than any other creative practice, I think, design (broadly) tries to base itself on what it thinks society wants/needs. It is therefore more highly susceptible to the general perceptions of the culture it plays for.

I've been watching the TV series Carnivale, which follows a travelling circus around the southwest United States during the Great Depression. Of course they have a 'Freak Show', and in one episode 'Ben' is sent out to locate 'The Lobster Boy'. Last year I watched Tod Browning's Freaks, and I have to admit that, like Diane Arbus, I've become midly fascinated by the alterations that an error in gene reproduction can cause on a human body. Following the Diane Arbus lead I've heard stories of illegal 'underground' freakshows existing in New York City well into the 1960s... but I haven't been able to find any here now. Where did they go? Is it just unethical, or don't we have mutants anymore? Are we that infected by the desire for normality that we've done away with such abnormality through science and medical technology? Yeah, kind of... Armand explains.

And then this! The Mermaid Girl on Oprah Winfrey. Is Oprah wanting to get the 'ol freak show started again? Naming the unfortunate child 'The Mermaid Girl' (a la 'The Lobster Boy' and 'The Elephant Man') would certainly suggest so, although in true Oprah fashion the child is referred to as a 'miracle'. I went to Oprah's site because I was interested in the aesthetics of 'self-help'... to find this there certainly makes me think I'm onto something...

although when I told Anna I'd been listening the interview with Armand Leroi, she said she'd just been sharing a cab with him in Wellington! Spooky serendipity... or a sign?

writing plans / planning writing...


I'd begun to think (a couple of weeks back) that I'd be able to just start writing, and write my way through everything. I like writing like this usually, but when I tried to make a start I realised I'd need to plan this to some extent! There's a lot here and turning it into something more or less definitive is going to be harder than I thought... so for the next week or two I won't be posting anything new here. I'll begin posting again when I'm up and running with the thesis...

Problem Solving and Ambiguity


Attempting to locate the feeling of being monstrous (as in the Church of Mau) I've been forcing myself to read, and engage in to some extent, the Design Observer blog. I tried the Speak Up one too, but I really couldn't stand it... just too painful (maybe I should have kept at it then!?). I've been trying to figure out why I can't stomach much of the discourse that is central to design, and subsequently why I seem to have very little appreciation of/for 'good design'. The answer to this (which I don't really have now anyway) is not brief enough for me to articulate here, but will be, I think, the back-bone of my thesis. I'm beginning to write it now, and increasingly I'll be pulling back from this blog I think... as Emilie pointed out, it generally seems to fracture and fragment my thinking... and I need to spend a lot of time in a dark room on my own figuring out how to piece it all back together! Right now I just want to post a couple of points of reference...

1.Problem Solving... commonly served up as a fundamental description of what designers do. I don't think Graphic Design, particularly, is 'problem solving'... any more so than deciding what to have for dinner tonight is problem solving.

2.Ambiguity... been reading an interesting paper by Bill Gaver (Et al) called "Ambiguity as a Resource for Design". It's interesting to me primarily because it disrupts (or would appear to disrupt) #1 above. Gaver's interests are in the interpretive relationship between an object, or system, and it's user... my reading of it replaces 'user' with 'designer' (I'm specifically interested in how designers engage with Design).

Gaver is attempting to offer alternatives to the very linear type of process described by 'problem solving'. There are a couple of things I wanted to mention (esp for Yoko [who's read it] and Laurene's feedback) about this in relation to my stuff... [a] the last part of the text reads like my monster manifestos, a ten point declaration for ambiguity in design. But that [b] their best examples come from an 'art' context, and the 'design' examples are weak in contrast. I guess I want to suggest that this is because (as the authors are aware) ambiguity and uncertainty aren't generally considered to useful to designers... so it's not something that's been well explored in design, as opposed to the fine arts. But also that their focus is 'product design' where the intention is generally 'usefulness'. It made me think about how examples could more easily have been pulled from Graphic Design, and that as a sub-domain of 'Design', Graphic Design is closer, more generally, to the generally more 'useless' (and retinal?) domain we call 'art'.

I've been thinking a lot lately, sparked by something Aaron said, about how much more engaging I usually find reading and talking about music. I've been thinking about the implications of teaching design in an art school, and about arguments I had last year to not separate the design department from the art school via a change in name. But it wasn't because (and I was hugely misunderstood/misinterpreted here) I wanted design to be seen as art specifically, more because I just didn't see that the distinction was useful. I thought the value of the course lay in it's fuzziness, and I think I'm starting to see that that's (partly) where my monsters have been coming from... a kind of fracture or dislocation of discourses and communities of practice. I'm not really interested in professional practice... but I'm not really interested in making art either?

A Paranoid-Peripheral Publication for Graphic Design


Paranoid. Apart from being a really cool song by Black Sabbath this term's been bouncing around in my work the last couple of weeks. Initially I came across Salvador Dali's "Paranoid-Critical Method" in the Koolhaas book Delirious New York. Immediately I wanted to relate this to my articulation of a monstrous practice, but as The National Grid has taken up ALL my time the last couple of weeks it ended up seeping into that (I guess to be honest I'm paranoid about the reaction we'll get). Which has obviously been really interesting because it's helped me see the links between what I'm doing there and what I'm doing here... I wanted to call this first issue "A Paranoid-Peripheral Publication for Graphic Design"...

Shedding the monstrous skin? (With particular reference to The National Grid and something Stuart Bailey said)...


I hope Jonty doesn't mind me putting these images up here, but since writing that previous manifesto I've been flat out working on The National Grid. We're aiming at getting it to print on Monday, and it's been a lot more work than I'd naively imagined. It's been a really enjoyable process though... but I'll come back to that, sort of... (this should possibly be two different posts but I'm sure they're related somehow?) Anyway last night I was talking with Laurene about where I'm at and what I'm up to. She asked what I meant about the 'shedding the monstrous skin' bit in the manifesto, which lead to an interesting discussion about 'coming out' of the Masters... the idea that the methodology I've engaged (reflective practice) has been quite horrific and I've begun to see myself as a monster... but now how to pull out of that (to not "remain monstrous too long") and through the exegesis look at what I got out of being (or attempting to be) monstrous, how it's changed/affected my practice, and how that might be framed/pitched as a 'contribution to the field'. Emilie also has mentioned my need to tie things down... actually she suggested the 'structure' that she saw here. Which is very useful I think... to know what your research looks like to someone from outside. I guess I'm beginning to quite like the monster though... but maybe I'm thinking of it as a caricature these days and it's more fun than painful perhaps? I definitely want to do the 'Design Wolf studio visits'... I think that'd totally f*cking rock... or the documentation would anyway. But you see what I mean? Anyway back to The National Grid and an observation I made while attempting to write my part of the editorial for this first issue... I wrote this: "This whole endeavor really, is the result of us being at a bit of a loose-end. Neither of us were very good at being real graphic designers, I mean we could 'design' ok, but all that other stuff; time, money, people skills? Why we both ended up in education I guess. But we're not entirely happy there either, and we've often joked around about our best students being unemployable. After dinner with Peter and Stuart I Googled them and I found that interview with Stuart where he mentions something about finding an escape route out of design, whereas I think for us this project has been more about finding a way back in." I don't know if that'll end up in the publication, esp the bit about 'dinner'? I recently freaked out when I realised that The National Grid was looking and feeling very similar to Dot Dot Dot. That's happened quite unconsciously, Jonty and I have looked at it and talked about it a lot... Jonty didn't care as much as I did, and maybe I'm over reacting. Anyway I thought that way in/way out difference 'thing' was important/interesting. I really like Stuart's writing, a lot of what he says resonates with me in the same way as a lot of music I like does... in the way that makes you go, "Damn I wish I'd played/said that". I enjoy his cynicism and I see that DDD is actually very English now, much more than it is Dutch. Rather than try and explain what I mean about the 'ways in/ways out' I thought I'd just copy parts of the interview in here (it's from Speak Up by the way)... and let it explain itself, it seems pretty obvious... my point being that I think we're talking about the same thing (only he says it really well). What I most like is seeing someone put something you felt so succinctly and perfectly... like dinner's always 'nicer' when somebody else has cooked it for you.[...]

Another manifesto: The Monstrous Practitioner


Yesterday I tried to do something I've been saying I was going to do since the last talk I gave in Melbourne... rewrite the monstrous manifesto around a broader conception of practice rather than product. I think I left it so long though that this doesn't feel right now.... I've been thinking about what Dave said about leaving the monster behind... maybe I'm beginning to see that now (in the exegesis outline I wrote)... the monster is a skin you shed, a transitional process (39 - 50)...


1. The monster is our alter-ego
2. The monster resides in us all
3. A manifestation of our anxieties
4. A sense of impending doom.
5. The monster is primarily concerned with itself.
6. Self preservation.
7. Feeding it's own needs
8. It has no interest in saving the world.
9. In fact it believes that the world must be undone/destroyed to be saved.
10. And that this can only ever really be done on a personal level.
11. So you could say it's concerned with 'self-improvement'.
12. The monster is certainly self-obsessed.
13. It is not narcissistic though, as it's reflective foci are primarily it's flaws.

14. The monster is a 'getting-worse' so things can get better.
15. A bad dream
16. The monster is transitional
17. We can all become monstrous in moments of transformation and change
18. The monster is marginal, but we prefer the term 'peripheral'.
19. Of course you can't focus on the peripheral, and the monster can only be seen, or documented, in hindsight.
20. Often accidentally (you only see it when the film's developed for instance)
21. It 'becomes' through an intense process of reflection
22. Too long spent in front of the mirror
23. It is there all the time in the things we don't normally notice.
24. It is seeing ourselves in places we wouldn't normally think to look
25. In the shadows, in the wardrobe, under the bed.
26. The edge of everyday.

27. The monster is all loose-ends and bad connections
28. You don't know what to do with it/yourself at the time
29. It is all questions and no answers
30. The monster can never be satiated
31. It is extremely frustrated
32. The cause of it's anger and destructive impulses
33. But it is rich with complexity and possibility
34. Which can never be adequately articulated
35. Never finished, whole, or complete

36. It is always on the move
37. Travelling
38. El Dorado

39. The monster, like the werewolf, will come and go.
40. To remain monstrous too long is to risk death
45. On awakening we can begin to try to understand our monstrous selves.
46. Attempting to articulate that which we have destroyed
47. To begin to negotiate our newly disrupted, and more complex world
48. The monster leaves us with a sense of the peripheral
49. Dwelling in the borderlands of the place we knew too well
50. We are reinvented, reinvigorated,and we have work to do.

Damsel in distress...



That's me and that's my friend George. She's a graphic designer too, and we used to work together in Wellington. A while after I moved to Christchurch George moved to New York. I stayed with her for my first couple of months here and obviously we ended up talking about design a bit... I hope she doesn't mind me saying this here, but she hates her job. Pretty quickly after I arrived I began to see George as a good potential test case for my (admittedly vague) ideas about a 'generative practice'... the idea that my search to reinvent/reinvigorate my own practice might translate into something useful for someone else. The question I think this image poses is "how the hell is this guy gonna be helping anyone?"...