1. Introduction: Structural Elements:
On Phases, Groups, Categories, Threads &c.
Art doesn't just consist of random material. There's always a certain order to it, be it directly implicated by the work itself, as an internal principle, or laid upon it by an outside observer, as an external one. If the creating instance doesn't impose a certain order themselves, such order will appear anyway, and be it just by a chronological agenda.
The necessity for ordering material will be felt more strongly the more material there is available; also, ordering minimum amounts of material may just appear as nothing but compulsive and obsessive. Yet the more there is, the more compelling the choice will be to impose a certain structure within, to guide the access to the material.
Every kind of ordering holds the potential for a certain hierarchy to appear as well. Chronological ordering, for instance, usually prioritizes the new over the old.
The ordering principles I have imposed over my art have developed over time. The sheer growth of the mass of material has made it first of all necessary to create certain structures, all arbitrary by themselves, interrelated and to a certain degree co-dependent on themselves. The basic ordering principles that are common to all my artistic are the following:
Chronological order. Individual items (which may constitute a poem, a photographic series, or a collage) are sorted by their date of completion. The idea is to make clear what's new, and also, to make it possible to see a certain thought, motif or style develop over time. The chronological order is made apparent firstly in the chronologies as a primary principle, and within the order of the categories, groups and phases as a secondary principle.
Thematic order. Individual items are grouped together by a common theme, object or style. Thematic order can be combined with a chronological order as well, as items within a thematic set are usually sorted chronologically. The thematic units are:
Categories: They are the smallest thematic unit, indicating close thematic unity, and possibly some sort of story development amongst the items within the category. For my photographs, the categories have been transformed into photo series, as I've come to incorporate a serial structure into my photographic works. Only within the Voyages group the term category still appears to host series below the category level.
Groups: Groups form the next larger unit, consisting of a varying number of categories. The thematic closeness is less strict, but still visible. Groups within poems have a more defining and closing nature and are as well chronologically as thematically defined, usually, group x closes before group x+1 is opened. For photo series groups, however, the group identity is rather thematically than chronologically defined, the chronological/numerical order only indicates the time of opening, not of closing.
Phases: As soon as the number of groups grew uncomfortably large again, and also given the a-chronological system of the photo series groups, the term phase had to be introduced, providing yet another ordering mechanism. The color scheme introduced therefore is supposed to create something of a closer group identity. The main impetus behind the phases is chronological in the sense that it is supposed to set apart different styles and motifs that have manifested within my work with the procession of time; the thematic aspect therefore is of a more abstract nature.
Threads: Given the implicit serial nature originating from the chronological order and topical connections, it had only been a matter of time to make such seriality more explicit. Alas the necessity to form more direct serial orders, which I call threads (to avoid a confusion with the photo series). Threads combine various items (like poems and photo series) in order to form a closer thematic unity. Threads can coincide with items that are already related to each other in terms of concept (like the Fields and Bedlam threads), or form relations that mirror a unity of locality (like the Double Eagle and Golden Eagle series forming something like a travel log) - all of which having been coined as threads post shooting - or threads that have been planned beforehand to realize a certain idea and conception (like the Metropolis thread).
June 9th, 2003