Or: Overdoing things — a self-portrait
This little piece of excess from the observation journal was intended as a sort of timing run (as you can see from the yellow notes on the right). Any one square of it, in the event, would have been about as much as I’d expect from my students, but I was having fun, and dinosaurs, and avoiding something and, since it was still January at the time, surrounded by people to half-watch.
The basic idea was to list 5 Problems To Be Solved down one side (based on previous observation journal pages, i.e. traffic on the Walter Taylor bridge, the general indignities of medical procedures (I was getting scans of and needles in my spine about this time), a story I was struggling to write, something to do with card games, and the eternal battle of momentum vs inertia.
Across the top, I listed five current preoccupations/things noticed, which that day were Egrets, Dinosaurs, Antique Bottles, Ground Rocks and Watercolour.
Then I tried to move very fast, and come up with five solutions for each problem, using each preoccupation (or some aspect thereof).
Here’s a bit more detail from the “story about poison” row. Left is the Ground Rocks column, right is Watercolour. As with most exercises like this, the ideas immediately start picking up on other notes and ideas — a bit of writing I did on a visit with friends to MassMOCA, environmental rules around paint at a workshop, conversations, etc.
Even a basic dalliance with the maths would have suggested this would take some time. On the other hand, a time limit (even if it is just daylight) and a ridiculous number of cells to fill can encourage invention, if not legibility. But it passes the time.
My favourite entry is still the concept of “Jurassic Park meets And Then There Were None“, although of course considered on some levels they are almost the same story.