Friday 4 January 2013


If there's one sensation I love, it's that feeling of an array of hints, notes, observations and noticings coalescing together into the beginnings of an essay. Just like a good piece of editing has always felt to me like picking up a crumpled duvet and setting it straight with a deft flick of the wrist, the beginnings of a piece of writing has this lovely sparkly feeling, like lassoing stars together into a constellation.

This is the first time I've been asked to write on Colin McCahon. I'm writing this post sitting on the floor, surrounded by a bunch of open and Post-It-adorned books, scribbled on notecards and elderly photocopies of even more elderly typewritten drafts for journal articles, not to mention several browser windows full of open tabs. I'm dredging my memory and excavating the McCahon database (godsend). My soundtrack is a combination of Miguel's Kaleidoscope Dream and Nils Frahm's Screws.

At the same time, bubbling away in the back of my mind is my February talk on Ben Cauchi's show at City Gallery Wellington. I keep collecting links and thoughts - today's was this video about Ian Ruhter's giant wet-plate photographs.  It reminds me of The Gravy's very good interview with Ben, only with considerably more ... enjoyable artifice (as well as genuine heart).

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