Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Chicago Cultural Centre seating area. A strange kind of safe haven

Drawn with the "oil paint tool" in Windows 7 MS Paint, then background fill applied. Didn't look very good printed out. Few of these did.
I'm trying to work out what it is about the tablet that lends a different feel to these things (than drawn with pencil) it may be that it is simply a case of approximating a pencil or pen and drawing in a way that feels closer to the tool being approximated than when drawing with a mouse. But how as an artist does one try to address that within the drawing? Why do I think that is important to do? Is it even interesting to do so?
In terms of an evironment to draw in on a computer, one thing about working in a cafe is that other people are on laptops too, and it feels comparatively a safe place to sit and work and watch (and draw) people. Part of the thing about these cafes that is so weird is that presumably these people with laptops have them so that they can work at home, or to be flexible between home and work. If they have laptops they can probably afford to make their own coffee too, but not infrequently they(we) choose to pay for the privilege of someone else's labor time to make us coffee, so that we can sit and work in the vicinity of strangers and drink coffee.
But then again the thing about laptops (which I think Stephen Johnson refers to in Interface culture, but it maybe Matthew Fuller in Software Studies, I'll have to double check) and, indeed web culture more generally is that the boundaries between work and leisure are blurred and so our laptops become this place where one accesses both employment (sells one's labor time) and entertainment (pays for one's leisure time - even if one is streaming stuff - time is money so the time you spend searching for the latest thing you want to watch for free us traded for time you could have spent selling your labor).
And indeed if you work in the culture or entertainments industry the boundaries between work research and leisure might become none existent and yet then you would probably get bored of whatever it is you HAD to work on and look for something else.
So when I am sat in a cafe in the middle of the day, daydreaming or drawing with my tablet and laptop, or writing my thesis or not writing my thesis (not getting paid, paying for all of this time), I experience a kind of distance from the activity I am doing. I choose to experience this in the company of a lot of other people in the same space. Alienation in the future is perhaps not how we imagined it would be in the past (in pods or something) because we are there already in our spacey chipboard curved walls of the nearest franchised beverage outlet.
Reverie "au bon pain"…

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