In a recent collaboration between the artists Olaf Elliason and Ai Weiwei, each spoke about what they considered mark[making] to be. Both Olaf Elliason and Ai Weiwei have created a project where any person can create a mark of any kind on their virtual Moon site. For more on this project http://www.moonmoonmoonmoon.com/#sphere
Ai Weiwei indicates that mark[making] is the most significant thing you could possibly imagine, such as the ‘last words of a dying man’. Olafur Elliason points towards the importance of mark[making] which includes ‘the marks that are being excluded, suppressed or just not being taken care of’. Both of these viewpoints hold great interest for me. This is, firstly, because I have been in the presence of many people I have nursed as they indeed spoke their last words, and secondly, because I do not take care of my own mark[making].
Such profound moments ought not to go unnoticed. Phenomenal shifts of this kind should be valued for what they are. So many times I catch myself disregarding something I have made, some mark I have created or some trace that has been left behind along my creative journey. If, indeed, I were to honour it in the realm of passing itself, I would certainly be placing my creative self-worth at a higher level – where it ought to be.
Reflecting on the geographical and media restrictions placed on Ai Weiwei in China, the act of creating for this iconic artist is neither haphazard nor without impending danger (such as torture). This no doubt also weights the value of mark[making]. It would stand me in good stead to remember the meaningfulness of art under such dire circumstances. Art matters in situations where creativity may appear to hold little or no value, such as in the context of the 295 lives lost in the Malaysian Boeing MH17. We should be mindful of Olafur Elliason’s words of truth:
Even in a tiny, tiny mark, there’s a mark that matters.