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  • Writer's pictureMarlene Dahl

Automatic writing

This is a task I preform in the studio that I often tend to keep to myself. But I thought I’d share it here anyways as it does play a part in my overall artistic process. I call it “automatic writing”, but I am sure it has many other names too, and it is a kind of word associating exercise. I start by thinking about the purpose of the project I am working on; what it is about and its core subject matter. I focus on what I have learned and discovered so far in the research I have conducted. And then I keep on writing down the words that simply come to mind. It may sound simple but sometimes it can be difficult to not control or censor your own thoughts or associations.

This is what I came out with this time around.

"Alternative, distorted, magic, unreal, history, upside-down, mirrored, good vs. bad, the otherworldly, strange, force of nature, uncontrolled, unexpected, flipped, different, flow, flood, blank, unplanned, unforeseen, perspective, direction, memories, history, flaws, viewpoint, chaos, unstructured, wild, shaped by nature, created by the landscape, momentum, evaporate, disappear, unnoticed, pass by, vanish, ephemeral, brief, other, lesson, notice, learn, discover, fall in, destroy, climate chaos, future, fear, life, “water is life” but “people are not as grateful as water – they forget”

Water will collect wherever it wants – not where it is convenient for us humans. It will go whenever it wants to – it is a force of nature. "

So what is the actual point of this exercise?

Well, it can be hard to tell at first. But sometimes it can lead to new directions within the project, new paths that needs to be investigated. Sometimes it can take you back to the beginning and help you gather a greater focus or understanding for where you are going with your work. At times the words that come up in these writings ends up being the names and titles for artworks. And sometimes they develop into poems or expressions that become significant to communicate the initial idea.

Take care and stay safe out there


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