I set myself the goal of getting this site up-and-running this summer. I had it in mind to create a platform for getting my work out which would differ a little from the usual artist website. Writing is becoming a larger and larger part of my practice, so having a pretty robust blog seems like the obvious route. I've kept my research notes in a private blog up until now, but I've begun to think that at least some of my inchoate thoughts are worth sharing, at the very least to help open up a dialogue. Some of the ideas I'm working with are quite a lot bigger than me, and no one thread of creative production is going to cover enough ground in order to get at all the questions I want to ask. So, my practice is evolving into multiple parallel threads of work with writing probably acting as the cement. At least that's how it looks right now. You never know...
A word on the title. In dealing with problems surrounding notions of the unhuman, there are two sort of conceptual pivot points that I use: the invertebrate and the eponymous Lovecraftian monster. The invertebrate, primarily, because I think of these animals (and a host of other life-forms notable for their differences from us) as the contemporary source of inspiration, fascination, and anxiety about the unhuman. The invertebrate is an animal, so it is taxonomically closer to humans than plants or fungi, and yet its differences can be so extreme as to render that relation inconceivable. In relating to us, but simultaneously differing from us, as a form of life, I argue that the invertebrate is dancing along the margins of the abyss of objecthood, always threatening to drag us in with it.
This abyss of objecthood refers to those questions about the nature of life that are raised by living things that are so other as to be hard to conceive of as life, let alone as animal. That's where the shoggoth comes in. Lovecraft's formulation of these entities as plastic, amoebic, and capable of masterful mimicry positions them as a way of picturing the unthinkability of life. When pinned down taxonomically, they slither and metastasize out of their categories; when interrogated at the finest grain, they seem to disappear; they offer the potential for being a no-thing. That is, life, like the shoggoth, is nothing in particular. So, there you have it. A start anyway. Here's to the next chapter.
arts educator, painter, drawist, heavy metal enthusiast, and long-time Lovecraft fan