Béatrice Machet- Quick answers to Kit’s questionnaire
1. Why were you interested in joining Project 366, and how did you see it relating to your art practice before you got involved?
I was interested in joining Project 366 because the challenge of writing in English each day was stimulating, because doing this I kept in touch with Kit on a regular basis, because it would open my consciousness to an Australian contemporary artists web I was curious about, because collective work always has appealed to me, because I’m always keen to try new things, (like an enthusiastic adventurer!)
2. How does working with other people affect your art practice/ process? Does it also affect / change your style of working? In what way?
Knowing you are read by professionals invites you to read their work very closely .. (and I confess sometimes I just skip through because time is missing). Reading people participating in the project encourages you to tackle some themes they have developed, gives momentum to sometimes and somewhat “exercise a right of reply”. considering I have no “style of working” except following my intuitions, feelings and reflections, this everyday practice rather looks like a “diary practice” to me. But something could come out of this amount of texts like an invisible thread becoming more and more obvious, and if it’s the case then, I could consider working hard on selected drafts in order to really achieve a nice collection to be published in the end.
3. Has Project 366 been a good way for you to be with others in an art practice community? Does it feel like a community to you? Why?/Why not? How?/How not?
Yes I do feel being part of a community, I always felt the atmosphere was warm and kind between us. Alas the big distance and our hectic time tables don’t allow that much long discussions, but reading people day after day gives you the feeling you know them better without having exchanged a simple oral word or a look. I don’t know how their voices sound like but I can guess a lot of their sense of humor, their sensibility, their stamina etc etc!
4. Do you see 366 as a dialogue? If so, in what way? Can you see ways in which it could be more of a dialogue or a better dialogue?
Well, yes a dialogue or rather a springboard for it, at the moment I see possibilities, skectches and drafts of dialogues but nothing completely developed and driven to a conclusion.
What about communicating on skype from time to time so as to meet people, not exactly “in the flesh” but at least speaking to a living face you know is not virtual …
5. Has working on daily artmaking through Project 366 affected your work or the way you work? If so, how?
I already was involved in artmaking on a daily basis, my habit is to write each morning, and the earlier the better because it seems to me I’m still in touch with some dreamlike realm I left when awaking. The more I wait the more “I think” instead of feeling, the more I want to demonstrate instead of showing!! In the morning I’m more connected with a genuine spring of words, which can be strong and wild, especially when writing in French, the first written words are always sharp and biting, strange and lively disturbing, they sound so true to me!! What changed through project 366 is the English written exercise it entails … I rather spontaneously wrote in English when living abroad, but it’s the first time for me to “dare” write in English on the French soil. And it changes my relationship to “my land”, because I have English names coming to my lips for it and it is a shift of consciousness for sure.
6. Do you think others in the project have influenced you / affected your ways of working or your subject matter?
Yes others did have an influence which is very difficult to grasp and to define … sometimes it’s just an expression which echoes and resonates with my own thoughts, sometimes it’s about “discovering” a new word, sometimes it’s the feeling of diving into somebody else’s sense of humor … and it changes the color of your mindset, it makes you day, it works as a seed… you never know when you’ll get the ripen harvest but it’s there as a certainty, a promise to be fulfilled.
7. How have you found the cultural diversity in the project so far? Has this had any effect on you? Do you think things could be different / better in this regard?
The cultural diversity in the group or in the project is not that much obvious to me. Even though I’m aware we are living in different countries, on different continents, I feel we basically share the same roughly said western culture. To get things more diverse, maybe we could, each of us, write about specific historical, cultural, national, political events, or very rooted topics … doing this could help assert some kind of “identity” …
8. Do you think there's what you could call a learning process going on through the project? If so, could you describe that?
Absolutly, a learning process is going on through the project. To me, the learning thing is first about how to write in English. I don’t exactly master the English language, far from it, (yet I can express myself and it’s a great opportunity for me to sojourn and travel in and between different languages) and reading all the poems posted on the blog is already learning something. Through reading and examining and meditating the poems, I can also learn something about myself, I can compare and imagine what I could have written in French, then in English, about either pictures, themes and stories I “bump into” when I turn on my computer and go to the blog’s pages.
9. How do you see your role in the group?
I never saw my participation as a role to play, but as it seems, I’m the only French person in the group and I’m happy to bring this “identity” and share my mother tongue with the group. Maybe my use of the English language can shift something in English native speakers’ minds so as they can look at their own language differently (I would love that!)
10. How has participation in Project 366 affected your sense of yourself as an art practitioner?
It haven’t changed my sense of myself as an art practitioner since I’ve written and performed (danced, shot pictures, painted) for many years now, the new thing is that I’m living in and between two languages so as to be able to even dream in English (whether broken English or not!) This impregnation by the English language is more and more palpable in my everyday life.
11. How would you like to see Project 366 develop for the second half of the year?
I would like people to address or invite somebody else to work on a draft, on a theme with him-her, or to write collectively,
12. What do you imagine after Project 366? (Both in terms of group art practice with a comparable vehicle and in terms of your own personal practice.)
On a personal level, I’m sure I’ll come back to my drafts someday and will work on them again with the idea of gathering a consistent collection, in order to go further on themes and feelings and reflections the drafts as they are clumsily evoke. In terms of group art practice, I’m already involved in two French groups of poets, one is about “sound poetry” (poésie sonore) with poets in Lyon, the other consists in writing with two other friends so as to, from and with three heads and bodies etc, create a fourth author. I’m not sure I have time enough to imagine other experiences by now! But I keep my mind wide open to new initiatives of course. And I’m used to collaborating with artists such as composers & musicians, visual artists & painters, dancers, actors … so this Project 366 is a nice episode in my writing life which has been already marked with collective art projects.
PS: I apologize for my mistakes, I hope my English is understandable enough… I’m in a rush till August the 21rst…