The rake scraped the ground, gathering leaves into whispering piles of ordered chaos; reds, yellows and curling browns. Flakes of summer at her feet.
The child had singled them out, naming them, telling their stories.
Straightening, she traced the path of her labour.
Music, carried on the breeze.
Let the mind wander.
#46 of 52: Neil Dunbar
Object: A Mental Note
Themes explored in the work included;
- The definition of a mental note is ‘to pay special attention with intent to remember’. This lead me to explore the anxiety that can be associated with memory. We pride ourselves on having good memories and fear the loss of memory. Memories are often valued – something to enjoy in private or shared with the people who are special to us (or whom we want to be special). We fret about forgetting things and make notes to prompt ourselves to think or act on something
- Paper; I observed the many ways that people take, keep and dispose of their notes. From shopping lists to ‘note to self’, we all have them. On scraps of paper, on our hands, in wallets, phones or just burnt in the front of our minds. Notes on paper are visible, tangible and plentiful. I noticed how my desk is littered with them and how every day, they fall from the desk into the bin – sometimes because they are no longer needed, sometimes because they have lost all meaning. Paper is made from wood pulp – from trees and that sparked the connection to leaves. We must consume tonnes of wood every year, making notes to ourselves – how many of those actually mean something and how many are just throwaways, detritus?
- Prioritisation and being present – knowing what is important and why and then remembering to focus on that. The need to make lists, to order the aspects of life into groups of things that matter and that don’t.
The Project52 Tribe also offered some influences and associations to consider including;
- Idiotic notions
- Reminders, to-do lists and Post-its by the phone.
For some reason, I couldn’t shake the Mozart reference. His father was quite the note-taker and kept a book of musical compositions, created for the specific purpose of teaching his children to read and play music (Nannerl’s Music Book). The book was ‘lost’ and of course has since been re-discovered, albeit in various fragments around the world.
In the final work, someone, busy with household chores lets her mind wander while raking leaves. The leaves represent the various thoughts that pass through the mind, piling in corners, sometimes to wither – but not all of them. Sifting through a lifetime of accumulated memories and experience, one captures her attention, silencing her busy mind. Suddenly she’s aware of music on the breeze and checking herself, returns to the task at hand. She may have a busy mind but she also knows what’s important to her and how sometimes, simply letting it wander is not a bad thing at all.
Project52 is a participatory art project that explores intrigue and our relationships with objects and people. Provide a photo of an object. Receive an artwork and 52-word story. Reflect. Playback and share.
The project will culminate in an exhibition, when 52 works are completed.