I am writing this entry specifically for the blog of the art journal Graphite, which is publishing (and will have published) entries of On Blogging selected to fit their upcoming issue’s theme of “practice.”
This might be a good place to reiterate what exactly On Blogging is about. For a while now I have intended it as a book, composed of one thousand individuated passages about the topic of blogging. These passages are then posted on my website, once every day for one thousand days. They began going online in November 2014. It is now June 2015 and there are, as I write this, exactly 209 passages available to read online. I am currently twenty-one years old; by the time they finish appearing online, I will be twenty-three years old. At that time there will be a new president in the White House, and I will have finished my first year as a college graduate. Who knows where I will be at that time? Who knows who my friends will be?
When I think about practice, about creative practice in particular, I think about time: The time it takes to learn a skill, to learn how to interface well with any sort of tool or instrument. I think about the time it takes to develop a subjectivity worthy of manipulating tools—how long it takes to become somebody who is capable of engaging in a worthwhile practice.
And then that word at the end, the worthwhile, itself a temporal notion. Thinking about practice I also think about death. The longer I engage in any practice the more invested I feel in it, because I begin to wonder: Will it have been worth it? Will I have wasted my time? When the end comes, will I be left with nothing to show?
As a way to short-circuit my fear of death, I have set myself upon a sort of aimless teleology in which , in which I can do anything at all, but in the end will be guaranteed to be left with something to show. That something will be the completed text of On Blogging, but it will also be a new creative subjectivity, one capable of new feats. Because here’s the thing about practice: you don’t do something a thousand times without becoming a little bit different in the process.
Before beginning On Blogging I was only dimly aware of the work of On Kawara. It’s a bit eerie how akin to his my art may be. Like him, I am concerned with dates, expending a constant effort to memorializing each day. Also eerie, that his name is On and this work is also named On. An improbable and encouraging synchronicity, I think.
Grant Wells’ work appears in our upcoming GRAPHITE ISSUE SIX: PRACTICE out now.