Becoming Paper

The installation Becoming Paper includes the collages Light Captures (2012–present) and Dotted Lines (2010–present). The methodology I employed during making involved approaching the surface on several levels: visual, material, and conceptual. This necessitated using marks that responded to each surface. This methodology has been influenced by and resonates with Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s notions of zones of indiscernibility and becoming-imperceptible.

According to Deleuze (1998: 78) a zone of indiscernibility is “a slippage, an extreme proximity, an absolute contiguity.” This extreme proximity or contiguity leads to continuity between others, thus undermining notions of absolute differentiation and fixed boundaries. Moreover, zones of indiscernibility are the milieu of becoming; that is, of a movement in the direction of an-other, an experiencing of oneself beside something other (Deleuze and Guattari 2004, 323–24). It is precisely this sense of movement towards an-other that I tried to capture through my process of working. Rather than simply adding my marks on a surface, I aimed towards zones of indiscernibility between my marks and the surface, thus moving in the direction of the surface and existing alongside the materials I worked with.

Light Captures consists of clear tape collages on packing paper. The satin-like surface of the paper and the combination of packing paper and tape when preparing packages led to these works. To make each collage, I trace around the highlights I can see on the paper. I then cut pieces of tape to match each highlighted part and place them over the corresponding areas of the paper.

In Dotted Lines, I punch holes in sheets of lined paper and glue the punched out chads onto other sheets of the same type of paper. When gluing the chads, I try to alter the printed lines by recreating them, however imperfectly, or by disrupting them.

The meticulous process of making these works involves an approach of the artist to her materials: physical proximity and familiarisation with each surface over time. The resulting marks partially disappear into each surface, thus challenging conceptualisations that view marking as an activity ruled by binaries: mark/surface, presence/absence, original/readymade, subject/object, and self/other. Instead, the surface and the artist’s marks coexist in a non-oppositional and non-hierarchical relationship, forming zones of indiscernibility between them. My marks are thus becoming-surface. Moreover, through this process, they are becoming-imperceptible. According to Deleuze and Guattari (2004, 308), becoming-imperceptible does not simply entail disappearing but rather “worlding.” Therefore, imperceptibility may activate reconceptualisations of self/other relations and may suggest different ways of relating to the world—ones that involve opening up to the world (even if that world is a sheet of paper), attending to it, and transforming with it.

It is my hope that, as my presence as the artist is subdued, a space opens for viewers to renegotiate their relationship with the work. Viewers are asked to open themselves to the work, approach it, and be attentive to it. Perhaps in that process, they will experience becomings of their own.

The presentation will involve guided viewings of the work. The viewings will include a short artist’s talk discussing the connections between the works and Deleuze and Guattari’s concepts.

References

Deleuze, Gilles. 1998. “Bartleby; Or, the Formula.” In Essays Critical and Clinical, translated by Daniel W. Smith and Michael A. Greco, 68–90. London: Verso.

Deleuze, Gilles, and Félix Guattari. 2004. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Translated by Brian Massumi. London: Continuum.