[day 1 - Monday, June 9, 1986]
Question re: commitment:
I have made a lifetime commitment to this process of attending to, observing my use of time. What does it mean if I stop doing it? If I never start up again?
Thoughts re: relationship: perhaps I can learn about relationship by observing carefully how this process goes. Strange awareness that I am "married" to an art commitment. Perhaps I can learn about commitment to a person through this art process.
I just want to record my time use because I'm used to doing it and I miss it. I feel a little disoriented, floating without it.
I wanted to know what time the UPS deliveryman came on Friday and had no record nor memory of it because of this non-recording activity, so today I have to wait all day for this new delivery: the recording appeals to my harvesting and gathering propensities. I feel more productive doing it, showing myself what I've accomplished.
Seems funny not to be recording my time use at the very moment when I am about to collaborate with a psychologist on a mathematical analysis of my time use.
Vasuko, Don Soker's friend said:
How wonderful that you figured out a system where you don't have black and white, where you validate yourself for doing the recording and you validate yourself for not doing the recording.
Just received Alain Touraine's statement on my art:
Morgan O'Hara - Artist of Time & Space
Morgan O'Hara loves space and fears time. She discovers peoples' personalities by identifying the places in which they have lived, the spaces through which they have traveled. Isn't it a seaman's behavior, or at least the reaction of a seaman's daughter to look for her roots not in a land or a tradition, but in a multiplicity of places: San Francisco, New York, Japan, Paris, Sweden, Switzerland, in which she spends parts of her life.
The space she constructs is wide open but centered. Her friends come and go on an earth oriented by a port to which they will return rather than a port as point of departure
Morgan represents women and men who need at the same time intimacy and discovery, who are both rooted and cosmopolitan. She carries in her soul and body the land and sea of Ireland, as well as her tiny house on the cliff overlooking San Francisco Bay, while she discovers still more of herself in other parts of the world. She can live in Japanese or French as easily as in English.
But while she is attracted by space, she is afraid of time: she tries to master it, to transform it into a space which can be organized, divided, classified, measured, like a house or field, so that each moment is in its right place. Colors must create a heartening impression, reassuring her that time is under control.
Last century's Europe had a deep confidence in time, future, history, and was afraid of space, which was divided by frontiers and wars.
Morgan, like most of the people who will spend half of their lives during the next century, has no confidence in the future and its false promises. She values on-going time more than she values "progress." She looks at herself in time like in water that she tries to stop with her hands. Conversely, she loves to stretch her body over the planet, her arms reaching faraway continents over Pacific and Atlantic oceans.
Morgan is not a painter in the usual sense of the word. But since painting no longer seeks to represent, she is interested in representing, not the soul, the essence of a personality, but the set of actions which construct rather than express a personality.
She is an artist of acts and of ideas, or relations with others more than of self expression, of desire more than possession, of absence more than presence. Not one symbol, no discourse in her work, she is at the opposite of formalism. Her portraits are made only of objects, but which make present absent travelers. She is craving for the absent's presence and is full of fear of a distressing solitude.
Morgan's work is tensely waiting for the other, is an invitation to the encounter which alone can stop time, subordinate it to space, reconcile traveling and intimacy.
Social thought is awakening again after two decades of fear of ego.
Structuralism eliminated subject, proved the impossibility and non-existence of action, denunciation replaced hope. Morgan works exactly when, at the end of this long winter, the ice breaks, when movement, desire, words, hope and fear reappear again, when we take control again of time and space, categories of action. Morgan creates, after Baudelaire, a new Invitation au Voyage. After a long time of confinement in a meaningless universe she rediscovers with us seas, dreams, absent loves. Her works are full of anxiety and confidence.
They are a clear and gentle call for friendship and closeness.
Her consciousness is constantly awake, not to protect itself with principles and certainties, but to locate on the high sea, from the end of the pier, the ship which brings into port the face of the unknown other.
-Alain Touraine, Sociologist/Paris/July 1986
…Touraine says I fear time…
Last February 16th, I cut an article out of The New York Times, the story of Anatoly Shcharansky after his release from nine years in Soviet prison; he described the mental processes by which he survived:
I decided to rationalize fully all my activity so I will be absolutely sure I was acting according to my principles, not according to my fear. You must have special psychological exercises. It is very individual. Everyone must invent it for themselves.
. . . In 1980 I wrote, My art is not my life nor is it myself. It is rather an intermediary between the two - a passageway between myself and the experience of living. Marcel Duchamp:
The onlooker is as important as the artist.
The work of art is always based on the the two poles of the maker and the onlooker, and the spark that comes from this bi-polar action gives birth to something, like electricity.
Am I now imprisoned by this
process?. . . I feel a liberation precisely because of the structure, this self-imposed study/observation/structure gives me a sense of freedom and direction. . .
More recently, intensive Buddhist studies. The view on the periphery of my awareness. General feeling of spiritual malaise. A feeling I'm accomplishing nothing. Awareness. . .
Basically, this time-accounting process is the only long-range process I've begun and followed through with no matter how many ups and downs it presented.
The first few years were extremely difficult but somewhere internally in my spirit I knew it would help me. I don't remember any guilt associated with it.
During the first five years before I recognized it as art it was in an intensely formative stage. My curiosity about where it would lead me was pretty strong.
Thinking back on it now, I remember I often had the feeling that the process had sort of come down from somewhere and claimed me, directed me, periodically handed me small scraps of insight so I would keep up with the discipline of the process. There were a few times I thought "the hell with this, its too obsessive" and then I'd get scared just at the point of quitting - anticipating a fear of extreme loss if I did quit - and I've decided not to.
What would happen if I recorded my internal movements instead of my external activities? Could I actually monitor them that closely? Would it be spiritually productive to do so? I should think so - question is whether it can actually be recorded. Does one internal atmosphere replace another in sequence the way external activities do? What categories would I identify as observable - as it probably would be good to keep it simple in the beginning, just so the thing would be possible to do. I already know about the free-floating negativity which goes on. Recording that would make me more aware of it - but is that the point? It would be more to the point if observing it could change it. That's actually what has happened with the time recording.