ABOUT DOUBT … introducing...
THE BOOK OF DOUBT
I recently came to the conclusion that the biggest enemy to my own creativity was probably doubt…
Other artists just don’t seem to have as much of it, or maybe they are just better at hiding it.
Maybe its healthy, sometimes. When I began this process I wasn’t sure.
Parallel to my work on performance project Invited Ghosts (which was beginning to feel more and more like some kind of comeback) I tried to formulate my feelings about doubt, trying to understand what it was, what it did and to try and discover if it was at all useful for artistic processes.
I had a series of meetings, walks and online discussions with other artist friends.
I formulated a set of questions and wrote to some colleagues near and far,:
Dear Friends and Colleagues
I was wondering if and how the prescence of doubt effects you in your own artistic practise and what steps or processes you have to work against it.
From afar, through the thin veneer of social media it seems many are easily able to hide their doubt, some appear to have none at all, and others have a lot.
Can it also be useful?
Does the approval or the interest of others matter to you and can it influence levels of doubt?
Where do you get the power from to make decisions or trust your own instincts?
Does doubt appear more when you’re thinking about working on something or when you’re actually in a process?
Does doubt appear more when you’re at the beginning or when you’re nearing the end of a process?
Does doubt visit you more often now than it used to?
Does your creative process allow space for doubt?
Do you find decision making easy? Can you explain?
What does the notion of „a good idea“ mean to you?
There seemed to be two clear strains of doubt out there:
The first being a fundamental abysmal doubt, the black hole that eats everything into itself and shatters it, and the second a more selective doubting of individual ideas
The first is that blocking, destructive brutal form of doubt;
Like a ghost that comes haunting, sometimes doubt can be watching from afar, just present enough to remind you that you shouldn’t be doing this.
Or like an old companion who whispers in your ear as you wake to tell you that it will all go horribly wrong.
Doubt is a challenge to your own abilities and your right to take your place in world of expression and ideas.
The second being the doubt that emerges everyday while you are working which actually shows that you care, that you have a critical eye for the things you are doing - „The ability to question yourself and not take for granted all the things that are considered as true. A critical approach.“
I decided to make a BOOK OF DOUBT.
Adrian Elsener made a beautiful cover for the Book Of Doubt, which we wrapped around an old hardback book we found.
I printed out all my correspondance and replies and stuck them on the pages inside, redacting all the names and email addresses with thick black pen.
Late one night, a friend and I climbed a hill to bury the book as a kind of ritual and make a film of ouselves doing it.
With thanks to a lot of people who helped and wrote to me and special thanks to (in no particular order).
Dominic Oppliger, Brian Rogers, Piet Baumgartner, Paloma Ayala, Jen Rosenblit, Simon Borer, Michel Schroeder, Daniela Weinmann, Sophia New, Martina Berther, Nicole Seiler, Trixa Arnold, Christophe Jaquet, Gessica Zinni, Adrian Elsener, Anna Papst and Julia Perazzini.
This project was supported by a 2022 Stadt Zürich Covid-Arbeitsstipendium.