The art of pausing


I was part of a workshop seminar for artists last weekend at the Camden Arts Centre and the artists who were leading it were talking about the pauses that occur when leading workshops. Pauses being the moment when you realise that a certain activity (trying to make a 2 metre long slide from 30cm plastic rulers / trying to explain how the inside of an eye works with a metal spoon and a piece of paper) hasn’t turned out the way that you expected it to, and what you do when you realise.

They were encouraging us to look at these pauses as positives, rather than as an excuse for much wailing and gnashing of teeth and for the most part it did work like that. Although we suggested ‘they didn’t turn up’ and ‘activity bombs’ as pauses they were kind enough not to use them as we ran through workshops plan being pelted by random happenings including my favourite ‘let go?’

And the happy, optimistic slant to all this is that once you do, let go, you’ll realise one or two things 1. the activity just bombs and 2. the activity that they’re having over there with the bits that are left over is far more interesting anyway.

If this is all too life affirming for you, here are three things that have made me pause since then but not made me want to paint the town in polka dots:

1. loosing my oyster card
2. contracting some weird freakish food poisoning and lying in bed the whole of the following day feeling like I’d been punched in the stomach and lower back a number of times
3. loosing my new oyster card