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Lisa, it's your birthday

June 2005

I never, ever liked my own birthday parties. Every year of my childhood, my mum would help me choose the invitations and the party bags. I would imagine this party: the icing on the sponge cakes, a tall comically wobbly jelly and playing musical statues and pass-the-parcel. It would look just like a picture book with party streamers around the edge. Then, the real party would happen. We had the cakes and the jelly and the games and all my friends and family seemed happy but I would feel indescribably sad. It is so puzzling as I loved other people's parties, especially the fancy dress parties when I could give life to The Clown costume and get down with the 80's music -- ever seen a seven year old robot-dance in a clown suit?

I am still at a loss to describe my sadness, but it really did happen every single year, despite all of my mum's efforts to make it happy. It is my birthday at the end of June, and I would like to make a project out of my birthday in an attempt to enjoy the gaining of age. This move is inspired by the six pink helium balloons project from Noriko Suzuki-Bosco and her Good Mother's Institute. I have a few disjointed thoughts about my project. I would like it to involve some form of measurement: like the time I was with my dad on his lorry and he flipped the steering-wheel open to reveal a disk of graphed paper which he said was a tachograph. Other things I am interested in are transcribing conversations, again inspired by the brilliant Noriko Suzuki-Bosco and her Recorded Conversations. I would like my transcripts to be used as the basis of some sequenced images. I would also like the birthday project to involve my mum in some way. I am not sure what form my birthday project will take, but I do know it will be documented here next month. Here is a picture I drew from a photograph I found of my fifth birthday party. A picture of my fifth birthday.

A picture of my fifth birthday.

Last month I went to an exhibition at the The Kettle's Yard called 'The World, Abridged'. It is generally accepted that we cope with the details involved in each day by ignoring most of them. It would be pointless, and mostly impossible, to consider every piece of information or sensation experienced. Further more, it would be absurd to consider all of the links between them. But what if we consider, for a short time, that which is commonly allow to be undistinguished or unconnected? Take for example Mark Edwards' landscape photographs of the most common of British nature on overcast and flat days. These scenes are so familiar they are like an old friend or a comfortable chair -- you almost smile at them.

On the day I paid my visit to this exhibition there happened to be a book sale. I purchased a tracing-paper covered book about Paul Signac. Now, the beauty of this book was that it was black and white, which is interesting, because what happens when you drain colour away from an impressionist? It all becomes about the lines. The book was full of cheeky lines that seemed to give more information than a line really should. When I got home from the exhibition I printed some photographs taken by my friend Alistair, who is brilliant at that Mark Edwards type of familiar, and traced them with some wiggly, trying-to-be-impressionist lines and I ended up with this.

Alistair's photographs traced with wiggly, wiggly lines.

As promised last month, some of the first pictures in my object/group books are here.

object/group one

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