Deterministic Non-periodic Flow

   
There’s a magic that happens with the hollow vessel, when one hand is on the outside of the clay, and one on the inside. That inner hand feels the other through the clay divide. You feel yourself forming a wall that changes the nature of all the space within, now defined by that which surrounds it. And that changes the space outside.
Western potters tend to work from the outside hand, shaping profiles by pushing in with the right hand. Greek pottery and most European pottery is very profile-driven work. When you see early Chinese pottery, it’s very inside hand-oriented, inflated from within.
As the potter’s wheel spins the inner hand inflates volume. Over decades of throwing I focused on that inside hand. I wanted the experience of what my left hand saw through fingertips to be visible on the outside of the vessel.
In the beginning the wall of the vessel suggested an unseen inner space, but as my language as a sculptor developed, that relationship inverted – the interior was revealed, the interior became participant, then subject. Finally the vessel wall is only understood, implied by that which is contained in the way you wouldn’t understand a spine without a suggested musculature and skin to contain it.
I spent most of my life with a faith and belief that my intention – my consciousness – was in control, driving the metaphoric car that is me. Recently I’ve lost faith in that idea. I’ve become certain that consciousness is not driving. I can pretend to steer with my intention. But I’ve come to appreciate consciousness more like a lost sailor in a rowboat in the ocean of the unconscious. The ocean makes most decisions.
As the vessel opened up and became not just a model of body, but of mind, the interior and exterior became ambiguous. When I first began work on the Imprints series, the exteriors began to describe broken things, ossification, scarring, even cancer-like overgrowth of new forms emerging from within.
The large hollow vessels with pierced texts from the Memory Containers series were my best metaphor for the ghost, the spirit. No substance, no pretense of containment, just form. The transience of the body was there.
Then the interior became an interesting and frightening domain. Small fragmented pieces became improvisational models of moments, explorations of interiors. For the first time I was able to experiment without teleological projection, to make work without knowing where it would go, what it might look like. The vessel is still there. It’s just become invisible.
“Deterministic non-periodic flow” is a definition of chaos. Deterministic: events have a cause. Non-periodic: not a pattern. Flow: emerging.
The mind is a constant emergence of chaos – not disorderly – but a system that creates itself deterministically, but not predictably.