Awkward: feeling out of kilter; uncomfortable; out of our depth and also unbounded… Our edges suddenly porous and vulnerable…
Collaboration: ‘neither a union nor a juxtaposition, but the birth of a stammering, the outline of a broken line which always sets off at right angles, a sort of active and creative line of flight’ (Gilles Deleuze)
Encounter: ‘no correct ideas, just ideas. Just ideas: this is the encounter, the becoming’ (Gilles Deleuze)
Awkard: a conversation which transforms rather than affirms; challenges, rather than reproduces…
Because our encounters were unscripted, there was no sense that we were making testing, refining and clarifying an idea which we had posited at the outset. A multiplicity of variables, actors, absences and presences produced something (a cloud of ideas, some possibilities for future action and collaboration, some friendships and a plan for a research network) which will have a life beyond this residency, beyond this series of workshops and discussions. Awkward: ‘this inability to arrive’ (Mary Cappello)
And yet this awkwardness, this sense of being off message, at a tangent, off the mark or wildly adrift… Inching our way forward, with no clear sense of direction, no understanding of where we wanted to be… this has come to be – for me, at least – a kind of methodology.
Awkward: 1340, “in the wrong direction,” from awk “back-handed” (obsolete since 1600s), from O.N. afugr “turned backwards” (from P.Gmc. *afug-, from PIE *apu-ko-, from base *apo- “off, away;” see apo-) + adverbial suffix -weard. Meaning “clumsy” first recorded 1530. (Online Etymology Dictionary)
Awkward: a stumbling block
Awkwardness: resistance to linear narratives of progress and regeneration
‘Sometimes you have to go backward in order to go forward, it is said, but why the primacy on forward, and how did forward come to mean pushy, stubborn, immovable after all? If our faces and eyes let forward motion win the day, then maybe awkwardness depends on a revaluation of the sense. Imagine being able to say, encouragingly: “place your best foot awkward”, rather than forward… or, with adamancy, “you need to move awkward”…’ (Mary Cappello)
‘to be untoward is to be hard to manage, to be unseemly, and again, like a belch in the middle of the sermon, perverse, where “toward” means docile, compliant, tractable, educable…’ (Mary Cappello)
The awkwardness of the holes which punctuate our cities…
Holes in the city, holes in the road, holes in the architectural fabric… Holes past and holes present, which trip us up, make us stumble and fall, necessitating detours and causing us to glance, where once we might have ignored… Holes: they force us to think about that which we usually pass over and pass through, without giving it a second thought. They draw our attention to spaces which we rarely, in fact, (take the time to) see… Holes: we have to walk around them, step over them… Holes cause us to deviate from our normal paths.
Could we think about holes as negative space? Negative space – as all arts students learn – gives us a different perspective on what is there… A void which becomes substantial and reconfigures the space around it, disrupts the unthinking ways in which we practise that space…