@ PACE: day 12… some kind of epoche?

A vision differs from a mission, or statement of mission, and from a prediction, according to the EPOC Workbook. A prediction extrapolates from the present into the future. It renovates the past and tends not to innovate or create a new and envisioned future. A mission describes a present purpose or reason for being.

A prediction makes a forecast using the datum of the present; it is contingent. A mission imposes an order or meaning on the present; it is expedient. A vision is creative; it is a virtual future experienced by and extracted from plunging oneself into the virtual present: a cast of the dice, then, chance or fate, separates a vision from the present, which by no means makes it indeterminate or is a sign of its conditionality. A vision is determinate and unconditional. A vision is also quite useless.

Since a process of visualisation, with the aim of having workshop attendees articulate their vision, lies at the heart of EPOC (Exploring Processes Of Creation), the EPOC Workbook cannot concur: a vision must be flexible, creative, yes, and above all it must be useful. I attended the workshop, as part of the PACE programme, on June 10 and 11; that’s over a week ago, a week during which I’ve found it difficult to move beyond either the contradictions embodied in EPOC or the visionary process.

I have not followed through and set goals and completed action plans to meet those goals so as possibly to arrive at the point of my vision’s potential fulfillment. I have not embraced and therefore not empowered my vision. I have languished in a state of sub-visionary isolation wondering what the hell I can do to escape my vision.

This is not even Eliot’s “bewildered enlightenment.” This is getting stuck in that precinct of the rabbit-hole which always scared me the most, seeming the most literal, the most imaginatively reductive and real, real as nightmare: Through the Looking-Glass:

And what did Alice find there? The point is that she found something and she didn’t get to choose what it was. She found something but had to put up with staying there until she did. And when she did, she was still there affirming the uselessness of it. … Not that I’m suggesting some sort of moral reprieve ought to be inflicted on or suffered by either Alice or myself. … What did Deleuze find there?

What’s been going on in my head has for the last week been out of reach of reason. It is a state of affairs it would be very easy to exaggerate. I could, dear reader, tell you about a dark shape moving in the undergrowth, an emergency in the id, “bodies falling,” and the cruel cycle of destruction … of life and death. It would be easy to sensationalise and say that something happened, that something has, that something is.

I’m tempted – more sorely, more poignantly than St. Anthony – to start at the beginning, again. Like a Beckett character is tempted. Again. I can’t; I will: like Nietzsche’s, Qui peut; Qui fait.

However, I am forever in the middle and am rather ethically impelled than morally to resist temptation. On the first day of the workshop, Lynn asked me how I was. Fine. Don’t bullshit me, he said. I went on to try to explain the difficulty I had with this way of thinking; this way of thinking that is a strange mixture of the hopelessly abstract with the hopefully actual; this new utopianism: this science fiction. A week on and I still haven’t decided what I mean.

I had, at least, decided to learn something. And kept thanking – it must have seemed bizarre -, thanking, at every opportunity I was given to share thoughts and comments, thanking the audience at the workshop for being such a wonderfully diverse and interesting bunch of young people. (They didn’t require that ingratiating epithet: I strike it through! counter-indicatively.) What did I gain from the workshop? Thank you, PACE, for bringing such a wonderfully diverse and interesting bunch of people into contact. (What contact has there been since the workshop? None.)

At the end of the day, the second day, I also wanted it recorded how alien I found the way of thinking. It wasn’t so much recorded as heard. I mean, I didn’t finally want to say it, I wanted it heard. Alien? Really? asked Lynn. Yes. These comments had been elicited somewhat prematurely by one of the attendee’s testifying that the workshop had given him all the things that school should have, lessons for actual living. I returned with, My daughter, at secondary school, complains at the constant value-identifying, visualisation exercises and mind-mapping.

And did I engage with the white square and the black square? the empty field? It lay open waiting to be filled with a visionary differential. I went in determined to tick boxes and I tried.

I discovered things about myself, like: as a director, I want to be more of an architect; as a writer, I want to be more of a photographer; I prefer dining al fresco; there’s a room that the Venice Biennale uses I’d love to make a piece of work for; my romantic ideal is taking a theatre group overseas, then dining al fresco, then leaving the party early and having fantastic sex in an hotel room; travel is more important to me than money … But I don’t yet know if money for travel is more important to me than making work.

– check out that back wall

– not this one but this is pretty good

You see? I did have a vision. It was squirty and architectural and visionary. And my first goal is to make four shows in 2009, arbitrarily, uselessly. How absurd!

– anon. avant-garde Chinese artist

Check in later for the other Goals and the Action Plan. Where you will hear Vision say: