On Documentation

On Saturday I performed. The act went well. The audience laughed, despite or because of what the MC called my “surrealistic touch”. I performed, people engaged with my act, and that is what it is all about!

Except that if I am a Serious Artist, or even just one who wants to work, I am supposed to document everything. I think there is a grainy smartphone recording of the evening, and I saw one man’s face bathed in the glow of a raised tablet with which he was probably taking a photo. I could hunt down these images, put out a call out on Facebook: Anyone who attended Noche Piripi on Saturday Night, Please Send Me Your Photos!

Smile! You're being documented!

Smile! You’re being documented!


But I should have bribed or hired someone with a proper video recorder. I should have a list of go-to photographers.

Why don’t I?

I think because of my “surrealistic touch”.

“Document” comes from the the Latin “documentum” meaning proof, example or lesson, and from “docere” meaning to show or to teach. A document is evidence. “Evidence” in turn comes from “evidentia” meaning obvious to the eye or mind. So to document something is to be rooted in an accepted and shared reality. I am increasingly doubtful that there is a shared reality, rather shared realities, other realities or surrealities. So I don’t like to document, to fix.

That’s all true, but it’s an excuse. The real reasons I don’t document is fear. I am afraid of being pinned down in one moment, because the way I navigate difficult moods and thoughts is by faith that a new wind will come. Calm waters are too akin to the doldrums.

Still, I have an inclination (and a professional obligation) to carve an “I was here” into the ports I pass. I do it by writing down my reasons, reveries and excuses.

And my observations.

Perhaps redefining “documentation” as “observation”, stemming from the Latin “observationem” meaning a watching over, an observance, or an investigation will allow me to build my portfolio. To investigate is different than to prove. To watch over is not to pin down.


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One Response to “On Documentation”

  1. photokauai Says:

    I’m so lucky you let me film you! Don’t worry no one will ever pin you down Olga!

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