N: I was told that I was going to be challenged in a good way by one of Doug’s old students, so I was actually very excited about it. I think the more challenging thing in the beginning was, “Oh my god he is so smart, he is talking about so many things I don’t understand, how do I keep up!?” That was the first thing, and another is, I am very quick at turning things around and going back to my initial ideas – without being stubborn about it. And so, I was pretty much being constantly challenged every meeting that we had.
Doug has helped me open my horizons in directions I was not expecting. He mentioned Clarice Lispector, and to read her book, Água Viva. I kept imagining, visualizing things as I read. Her writing just becomes so physical, and they are only words. Água Viva really opened up a new window, a whole new way of thinking for me.
Doug had assigned me to make 100 videos and to email them to him. I thought, “Oh my gosh, that’s a lot!” I had never made videos before! But you know, you challenge me, and I will show up. After the 34th video, I believe, we met and Doug said, “I don’t think you need to make any more videos.”
What I didn’t know was I actually needed the break from making videos because I was making at least two videos a day. I took two weeks to do research. Doug had mentioned Richard Serra’s videos, especially Hand Catching Lead, 1968. I have probably watched it twenty times now. That led me to Yvonne Rainer, the dancer that inspired Serra with her Hand Movie, 1966. Then I went into a spiral of research, consuming images, reading, and thinking, “Ok, I’m not making anything”, which was making me feel a little bit bad. I do have the need to make something with my hands, so little by little I was making things just to keep me occupied.
I was concerned because in the beginning I had said I wanted to use language this semester. But then at some point when I was making video, I thought I really don’t like my voice and I really didn’t want to add words to it, so how do I add language? He taught me that language did not need to be spelled out and that I could create language just by the images I was making.
I have also learned from him to check all spectrums, not just visual art, but literature, even science. I do get inspired by different things, but I think Doug showed me a different way of researching that I will be able to keep doing now.