creating clement space


As the BIG Anxiety festival draws ever nearer, I am plunged into a flurry of making, musing, more making and more musing. While crafting the installations for Clement Space in the City, contemplating the concept itself, and trying to find spaces of clemency along the way, an old song of mine wove its way into my consciousness.

The road is long and the dark night is lonely“… A line from one of my songs, “To Touch the Edge” written and recorded 1998/1999. I did not realise it at the time, but it was a plea to find Clement Space: a place – mental and/or physical – where mind, soul and body may dwell, even for a few brief moments, without threat or assault to intrinsic Beingness. (Click on title of song to access on SoundCloud.)

Days are now filled with the sensory textures of netting, organza, cotton, linen, yarn, thread, pinpricks on fingers, and the whirring gargling rattling of my mother’s trusty old Singer sewing machine.

What is happening in my mind, while I am physical engaged in this thrilling, and even exhilarating, sensory activity?

Contrapuntal, polytonal, polyrhtyhmic voices, weaving in and out of mental tapestry…

Travelling across, back and forth, neurocultural domains…

Morphing, fragmenting, defragmenting…

Anxiety mounting, surging, over executive confusion… Unresolved non-cadences… Unanswered questions… Hanging from an invisible line, suspended over swirling whirlpool, watching the debris go round and round…

Worrying over budget constraints… art is expensive… so is autism…

Is art somehow devalued when it becomes a channel to communicate autistic embodiment?

Pondering floor coverings, cushions, and stuffing… What to use? Where to buy? How much money can the artist scrape from out of personal pocket? Will there possibly be additional funding for this? How will I ship it all back to Sydney from Singapore?

How to ask and re-ask and re-package questions that are unanswered? Do they even understand my language? Where did my emails end up?

Navigating social interactive minefields, never quite knowing who, what, where and how…

Why is the autistic person always working overly hard just to basically prove that they are human? Anxiety… anxiety… anxiety… a crescendo-stretto is building…

Will the social paradigms ever be in favour of the autistic? Will I live long enough to see this revolutionary evolution?

Yet, there is clemency in the support and guidance from sympathetic and empathic (allistic) team members… and a wonderful festival ‘boss’, a figure I greatly respect and admire…

It’s not so terrifying, is it?

Back to the elemental resonance… Touch, feel, smell, gaze, listen and can you taste it all in the air?

Finding respite within the minutiae, at the same time drowning in the global whirring machinery that forges ever ahead towards the Grand Show…

One thing I do know… as a multi-artist and performer, and as a meticulous-minded autistic: no matter what happens, The Show Must Go On!


More pins… more thread… more pinpricks… cut here, fold there… now for some trial fitting…

It is very hot and humid… let’s have the air-conditioning on, please…

To find Clement Space, I am traversing inclemency.

But Lucy… Lucy watches over me… And all is well with my soul.

(Sometimes, Tiny and Bizcuit come to help out too. Canine angels are such superior caretakers of this autistic artist’s embattled soul.)


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