The thoughtful comments on yesterdays post about autobiography in blogs and textiles has led me to dig deeper into the definitions of autobiography and has me thinking in a number of directions. Some good questions were raised which has also provoked more questions from me, such as can given the historian’s need for primary source evidence, we call the use personal symbols in textiles autobiographical?
Although a textile might have a story attached would a stranger know that, if it was not accompanied with some form of documentation? Will the blogs we write be that documentation? If so who backs up their blog and how would you feel if it was lost?
Do we live in an age that for some reason stimulates the urge to tell our story. I ask this because of the explosion of blogs, scrapbooking, visual journals, fabric journals and the like. If we do live in such an age why is it different where does this urge come from? Is it that we celebrate individualism and live in age of individualism and therefore the urge towards forms of autobiography manifests in various forms?
How important is the social aspect of this activity? Is it just that many people are keeping blogs therefore it is social acceptable to document out creative lives? Do we feel this aspect of who we are, our creative aspirations and successes, the most important part of who we are and therefore it is documented in blogs and the like?
Is revealing the self unconsciously and actively telling your story the same thing as autobiography? Do we unconsciously reveal ourselves in our stitching? Does this apply to all forms of stitching?
I am going to plead for more time to give everyones thoughtful responses a bit more time and write another piece. In the meanwhile feel free to comment on this or yesterdays post
I found the below blurb posted in the AICPA news and thought it might provoke a little pondering regarding blogs.
5. Employers Use Internet to Take a Closer Look at Potential Hires
A survey by Kimberly Shea and Jill Wesley of Purdue University shows that more employers–50 %–now use the Internet to take a closer look at those they are considering hiring. An earlier survey completed in December 2005 showed that 23% of the employers review profiles on social networking sites; 46% use search engines and 14% review candidates’ personal Web sites and blogs.
I agree with all the responses so far (1 through 6) but would like to add that I believe that artistic creativity is an exploration into the interior world and is ultimately a search for much needed spirituality. Perhaps (as has been mentioned) blogging is popular because of our collective lonliness and loss of community. Fr. Ron Rolheiser in his essay, “A Shrinking Horizon”, quotes E.A. Burtt: “The world that people had thought themselves living in–a world rich with colours and sound, redolent with fragrance, filled with gladness love and beauty, speaking everywhere of purposive harmony and creative ideals–was now crowded into minute corners in the brains of scattered organic beings. The really important world outside was a world hard, cold colourless, silent and dead; a world of quantity, a world of mathematially computable motion in mechanial regularity.” This passage, written over a generation ago, certainly resonates today.
It would be interesting to actually figure out if there are more people writing autobiographical material, or as Janet suggests just more people with access to each other because of technology.
As regards symbolism, I look at it differently than Sharon. The symbols to me are the visual language and how we put them together creates our message, the way hieroglyps or pictographs are common symbols that together communicate.
I think there is something in both the global homogenisation that June mentions, as well as the sense of the micro-narrative – that the world is made up of all our tiny stories. The web, and blogs in particular give us a chance to put that micro-narrative out into the world so it gains a life of its own and touches those with whom we may have no other connection. Is this different from the unconscious revealing of ourselves? I’m not sure. Certainly we speak to the world in many ways – what we wear, how we speak and in what form – including through visual communication. Blogging is surely another aspect of how we rub up against the world, and feel its many textures, whether beaded and crusted or fine-woven and silken. It is a world for all of us 🙂
A a museums studies student I find this very interesting as a large part of what we study relates to the interpretation of objects to a wider audience. The fact objects and textiles tell stories is a valuable one but its often harder to interpret them fairly without becoming to ‘craft’ or women centric. (Don’t get me started on the Arts/Crafts divide, am considering a thesis on it!). Did you ever hear about the UK Crafts Councils Boys Who Sew exhibition? i did work experience on part of it.
As for blogs demostrating a constructed linguistic self they also – in many cases – demonstrate a constructed visual self via the displayed work.There is also the social history aspect – do they create or destruct creative communities?
Theres been discussions of them in museum circles recently including the fact of the issue of permanancy, preservation, and data corruption.
Is my design sketchbook part of an autobiographical work?I put ‘myself’ into what i put into it.
I have been blogging for a while now and actually find it hard to find things to blog about, partly due to time constraints, partly due to not sure if other people will be interested and finally partly due to sheer lack of knowledge of coding to be able to do many of the things i’d like to do!
In this second article you’ve written on biography you raise the point of the primary source evidence issue. The academic view seems to be that once an object is made then it is open to interpretation. Unless it is backed up by secondary evidence offering the intended interpretation by the person who produced the quilt, the artwork or even, say , a shoe then without the documentation any of these items might be considered a religious piece a couple of hundred years down the line.
If blogs are being used as the primary documentation source then the point i made earlier about the issues of permanancy, preservation, and data corruption need to be considered.Without say, a paper copy somehow preserved, a regularly backed up blog, all someones careful documentation and the valuable information it contains could be lost in a moment.
I blog because I like to share what i do. I blog because my mediums of CQ and embroidery aren’t popular in my age group where I live and therefore my only social outlet is via webgroups and the blog world of the internet. Blogs are also a source of inspiration and information as well.
Sorry didn’t mean to go on for so long there!
Perhaps we communicate through blogs, interest groups such as Yahoo, etc. because we CAN. The internet has truly changed the face of communication forever. I can’t tell you many times I’ve read notes on the various Yahoo lists from people who had never met another tatter, crazy quilter, bead knitter, etc. in person. For the first time in their creative lives, they can have contact with perhaps hundreds of like minded individuals. At long last, through the magic of technology, we can share our work, thoughts and experiences with others who are genuinely interested in what we’re doing. After years of sharing our work with family or coworkers, to the response of ‘how cute’ or ‘that’s nice,’ we now communicate with people who can offer informed responses and constructive criticism. Even better, those we meet in cyberspace truly understand what it’s like to have a great idea keep you awake at night, or drive you to stay up too late just to see what it looks like. The internet, and mail lists and blogs in particular, have brought an end to the creative isolation felt by so many needleworkers around the world. Viva la Internet!
As we all know, the world has become more and more a homogenized place; it seems that creativity and individuality is often shunned for “what’s best for the whole.” Hmmm…very Orwellian. Anyway, although I don’t have a blog, I do believe that people are cryng out for a recognition of ourselves as individuals with thoughts, lives, feelings, reactions and creative ventures that makes us feel unique. I am all for that. We are not all the same which is what makes life so marvelously interesting and challenging. I say celebrate the individual and write whatever your heart wants to share.
It is entries such as these (today and yesterday) that sparks my imagination… I endeavour to explore them more by using my own experience as a benchmark… Since reading these Sharon I have wondered about why I use the motifs I do not only in my stitching life but also in my writing… Of course I do experiment with other themes but find myself coming back to and repeating certain aspects or parts thereof… What is it about these symbols which fasinate me or on some level do I try to express some inner landscape… Have we not forever tried to express who we are (if it is as simple as that)through our creative endeavours… Some tribes of North American Indians built totems (lateral thought here)and it has been those totems which have helped further generations understand the person and their past… Will someone down the line after I leave this mortal coil look at my creative endeavours and see immediately the essence of me through my motifs… A similar question to what you are posing has fluttered around in my mind over the last few months… I have questioned why I blog and indeed why I have this burniing desire to create at all… I will be interested to read further…