Beth Jervis

ArtPhusis

ParBeth: a major writing experiment

ParBeth was an experiment in the construction of an ArtWork using only written material to compose the Art object. I undertook the experiment during my time at University (2005 - 2006).

The project was inspired by the Derridean concept "Parergon", and ideas about how identity are expressed through Art.

 

I composed the piece in a number of steps:

- Annotating an old diary written between the ages of 9 and 18.

- Interposing the annotation with a present day diary.

- Making footnotes of impressions, reverberations, inspiration of the present day individual alongside the younger individual.

- Writing to people who featured in the diary; friends, family, teachers, ex's, and asking them to send a contribution from their diaries that would be inserted chronologically.

- Framing the material with formal documentation and memorabilia from a personal archive of stored documents. (Birthday cards, certificates, diplomas, msn conversations, et al.)

 - Asking my partner to read and write with me as we were deepening our relationship. 

- Creating an index of individuals appearing in the full completed text.  

The idea was that the finished piece would give a snapshot of identity which was truer to a biographical image than a story. 

It took about a year to assimilate the material. 

 From a socialogical point of view, I think the most interesting present point about the object is that the organisation of the material somewhat reflects the type of snapshot organisation of identity performed by web based programs such as Facebook. But it was made before FB existed. (Or at least before I knew it did! ).

 

 I would like to offer you, the way to see that establishment was an important idea, even if institutions were an unfortunate result in it. And, institutionally speaking, I. In terms of reality, myself. Equally as undefined, but this time less attached. Myself could easily be yourself or ourself or itself or the self, myself could be selfless- my. And in doing so creates unease for the institution, because who does it belong to I? I would like to think about the world in terms of myself. That is to say that everything I perceive is equally important. But myself sees out, not I. I is only for speaking. Myself enjoys all the options brought to it through the being of not being I, not being alone, not being closed. Myself is an established concept but it refuses to convert to something concrete. However saying so makes it concrete, the institutional ‘myself.’ Now new words will have to be found to describe this conflict. 


I should drop between my self. "

Read some further excerpts from ParBeth below

Snippets taken from ParBeth

It would be, could be, is. 

OK, so today I decided I would tell the story through a Love story, because it would sell well, but also, because that’s how it happens.

 

 Ben is the playground, but his appearance is the wolf. I want to draw him here. 

 

Music versus a connection. 

Dear Diary/Dear Ben/Dear, 

There are several ways we can get what we want. One is by setting ones own rules and not budging. Another is by playing someone elses game and giving a better account of what is happening than they did. Either way there is a constant redefinition of style. 


When an illiterate person touches your skin, will they feel the difference emanated in you by me? In your smell? In your flavour? In your appearance are there things I can not see? Can not hear when you speak? How many decibels of me in you can there be? Nothing, I see nothing. I touch nothing. There is nothing between you and me. A story to co-exist. And what is illiteracy? Is it contained within these words? Or are these words but the sun on dust… 


I need to post a letter, to write to people concerning the project, fro which I will have to get on the Internet. I will go to the internet café. [Dear Andrew, do you remember that time we were on the love swing and kissed? I remember I suggested it]. 
But I do not remember if that was the day I taught you to ride a bike- 

To be liked because of something profound in people, but not to be indebted eternally. To be appreciated in the moment. A passing moment of joy, of sadness, a hug. 


Stuart put the brick down! Says: 
there isnt any hope needed 
Not all martyrs see divinity says: 

Not all martyrs see divinity says: 
thanks for trying to help 
Not all martyrs see divinity says: 
i really appreciate it 
Not all martyrs see divinity says: 
but i gotta think about things a bit more 


I don’t want to take an interest in anything anymore, 
without you there. 

We are going to spend our life together. I am frightened, but I know it will happen. 

I will write a composition for you.

 

 I had an idea about what it was meant to be like. But really, that was only a reflection. It was a memory. Really, I was experiencing everything for the first time.. And when we allow ourselves to forget that, a new acquaintance is as much as an old friend. Forget that we are looking at real things I mean. I mean, we should forget that we are looking at old things because they are attached to memories, and instead just see them. 

 


 

Picking up where you left off- A phrase that echoes an agreement. 

 

 

As British citizens we are constantly being asked to open our eyes, open our eyes to guilt, suffering and pain. That is why we are so reluctant to open our eyes. 

 



I would like to offer you, the way to see that establishment was an important idea, even if institutions were an unfortunate result in it. And, institutionally speaking, I. In terms of reality, myself. Equally as undefined, but this time less attached. Myself could easily be yourself or ourself or itself or the self, myself could be selfless- my. And in doing so creates unease for the institution, because who does it belong to I? I would like to think about the world in terms of myself. That is to say that everything I perceive is equally important. But myself sees out, not I. I is only for speaking. Myself enjoys all the options brought to it through the being of not being I, not being alone, not being closed. Myself is an established concept but it refuses to convert to something concrete. However saying so makes it concrete, the institutional ‘myself.’ Now new words will have to be found to describe this conflict. 

I should drop between my self. 


Eventually people arrive who want to come in. It is like a floodgate in the right setting. Love comes flooding in, and because it is true love, it doesn’t mind seeing tears. It doesn’t call your weakness. You are still allowed to be and be Loved. You are lucky. 

 

I came to the conclusion quite a long time ago, that life wasn’t worth living, and that the only way to make it plausible for yourself was to construct a reality where you could make the best of it, and I don’t mean trying hard to be a good person, I mean manipulating your fate by jumping through hoops to put you in the best position possible. 

By the time I was 40 years wiser than my age I couldn't remember why I had got there, and I was just sad, that I was so much older than everyone else. I think that is why I was compelled to write. 
I am accusing acting human of being weak. Its because I realised we are all using coping strategies as a means to subsist. And mine works better than yours. It doesn’t give me time for you unless I am using you. You live by these rules as well. You just don’t admit you do. 

I feel sorry for people who Love the world because of its magic. The only way to Love the world is because you are in it. 

This is an experiment in the construction of a work of Art. 

Foreword, I will begin to write my foreword now.