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A story about a drawing

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This story about a drawing narrates the inner world of the page and its populace of lines, their struggles and their peace, and how all this internal drama hangs contingently on the vast physical and historical world that it is a part of. The story is extrapolated from video essays in which I film myself hurriedly attempting to verbalize fragments of the accelerated decision-making process accentuated by my flitting wrist while drawing. Talking Drawing is a method of historical restoration taking place at the site of the moving hand that questions what its choreographic inheritance has to say about the plethora of semantic decisions explicit in the drawing.

There turned out to be very little I could glean of my hand’s wisdom; it scarcely seems attached to me, so possessed is it by the gestures of other artists, those I have never met and many of whom were dead long before I was born. But just as sagas, which through a few stories retold by narrators excavate a genealogy of Nordic heroes and outlaws, the hand that draws is the hand that lives to tell the tale of those that came before it. The singular drawing as narrative, as history, is considered here as an iteration in an evolution concerning hands, eyes and lines spanning enormous timescales of innumerable individuals. This enormity is emphasized in order to appreciate the economy of a drawing, which contains all this history effortlessly, and whose ingenuity far surpasses my imagination. The following account, both technical and narrative, attempts to locate points at which the pragmatic approach in drawing appears inseparable from semantic concern and meditates on the relationship that these decisions have with the identities of the artist, her ghosts and readers of drawings.
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Keywords: drawing; embodiment; empathy; habit; line; script; signification; text

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London

Publication date: March 1, 2018

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  • JAWS: Journal of Arts Writing by Students is a compilation of the best arts research and writing by current MA students and first year graduates. Capturing the contemporary themes and trends in arts research today, JAWS is peer reviewed and edited by students, for students; promoting the autodidactic attitude and inherent curiosity that is required for post graduate, career or personal research development with or without practice.
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