My plans for this one changed. At first I thought, let me create something in p5 that lets the user move a “lens” in the image that turns drab circles bright, a la the polarized mural in the Museum of Science in Boston, one of the touchstones of my childhood. But then I started to think about what it would actually look like, and it interested me less.
Then I thought, maybe I need to create a tetrahedron that can rotate, and the angle of the plane to the viewer creates the “thickness” of the glass, which in turn determines the intensity of the color… and that sounds lovely, but is way beyond my programming abilities at the moment.
And then I just started sketching.
A couple of years ago, I was out one day running errands with a dear friend, the very brilliant artist Zefrey Throwell, and I was engaging in a favorite annoying pastime, kvetching about the vacuousness of the New York art scene, and of contemporary art in general. And he brought up Richard Tuttle, whose work I was unfamiliar with, and what Zefrey described as the central question of his artmaking: “why is this not nothing?” This thing, next to that thing, in this place – why is this not nothing? I’m not sure it’s always a valid defense, but it’s a thought-provoking question, and one that has stuck with me ever since.
I love to draw, though it’s not a medium I’ve ever made much out of. I draw for pleasure, and to play with ideas, and out of boredom, and sometimes to surprise myself.
I got out a pencil and a ruler, drew a line, then pulled the ruler ever so slightly back, drew another line, and said to myself, “I’m drawing a square.” The rule was, don’t intentionally deviate from parallel, but if you do, try to compensate in the next line. Same goes for top and bottom edges.
And then I scanned it and started to play with colors, and I have to admit my favorite version is the red and blue, originally just a placeholder for other colors, but I think there’s something weirdly compelling about it.
It’s not nothing. But only just.