MR MAGUIRE: I just want to say one word to you. Just one word.
BEN: Yes sir.
MR MAGUIRE: Are you listening?
BEN: Yes I am.
MR MAGUIRE: Plastics.
BEN: Exactly how do you mean? The Graduate, 1967
In 1974 John Baldessari made an artwork called Throwing four balls in the air to get a square (best of 36 tries). The artwork appears to deliver on the title's promise. It is an arrangement of eight photographs showing the best square shapes Baldessari achieved by throwing four red balls thrown in the air against a bright blue California sky and photographing the results. It also appears to be a record of progress in fits and starts from the least square-like image at top left through a variety of polygon forms until the most square-like image at bottom right.
Like Baldessari's work, Plasticarmy is a curated selection of the accidents and imperfect results achieved through a series of visual and written experiments. Only instead of trying to make something as well defined as a square using four red balls, my tactics and targets tend towards the indeterminate and incipient. The titles of experiments I've conducted (if they had titles) might be something like, Searching for evidence of energies and forces in sought objects from the past. (best of 834 tries) or Begin writing using found vintage photo as starting point. Continue writing. (best of 10,000 words).
Plasticarmy is a working laboratory for these and many other experiments, and in an ongoing sense, I hope it will continue to engage and respond to the forces of change in the universe, starlight, music, the wind, dance, beauty, mystery, and all things that live, grow, and die.
I'm happy with the results achieved so far. But I know that it can only become a true force with your help.
Plasticarmy has never been an army of one. It would not exist today without the love and support of family, friends, and colleagues - particularly the unwavering support of my most loved and trusted confederate and comrade in arms, Samoa Jodha. I am deeply grateful to Samoa and everyone else who has offered advice, encouragement and reinforcements along the way.
Please join us. Let's fight the force of entropy together.
Send your observations, strategies, experiments, and battle narratives to james *at* plasticarmy.com
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