Artist Gustav Metzger spent twenty minutes doing nothing, and what came of it was the piece above entitled, Null Object, The hard work was done by robots drilling into stone, responding to biofeedback results from some technology devised by cyberneticists at MIT. There is a lovely piece on him and his work in today's Guardian. Doing nothing is usually frowned upon but it has been something of a lifelong fascination for Metzger.
"He has always been interested in voids – an interest, it is hard not to think, that stems from his politically and ecologically charged disgust at adding to a world already filled with too many images and works of art. "I've always opposed two things in art: celebrity and commercialisation." I like the idea of voids and nothingness-perhaps because I have been doing a lot of nothing lately, well nothing much in terms of my own thought-life. For a while I felt a little guilty, it is easy for me to presume thati am meant to be in a constant state of creation and production, and this, coupled with a heavy teaching schedule pulls at me. but I have noticed that fallow times, are not really fallow at all, the heavy-lifting is actually going on--pre-production if you will.
I have been thinking about 'noise' as opposed to silence. John Cage said that 'what we hear is mostly noise...if we ignore it it disturbs us...when we listen it's fascinating,' I like that inversion, there is really no such thing as silence (hence the recording of ambient sound for tv and film--why record an empty room? Because it has a particular silence, or a particualr noise and it needs to be there), its just diferent levels andtypes of noise. I like being alone and staring at the wall for precisely that reason, to pay attention to the noise of my own life.