Sometimes We Make Stuff, Sometimes We Break Stuff

As an art educator, I spend a lot of time thinking about and planning for acts of creation. And, in my personal life, my family and I spend a lot of time making stuff. But every once in awhile, it’s nice to break things too. It gives us a sense of power over the material world around us that is not so different from bringing things into being. Watch any small child around a stack of blocks and you’ll understand.

Sometimes, when we tear something down, we make way for something new. Such was the message of Ai Weiwei’s Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn (1995) and Robert Raushenberg’s Erased deKooning (1953). These were conceptual works, making way for new ways of thinking and creating. Sometimes it’s not that heady.

IMG_4470I spent an hour and a half this morning tearing up an old bathroom floor. It felt wonderful. I only planned to take out the threshold today, just enough to make room for work to be done outside the doorway, but once I got started, I had to keep going. When I was a teenager I loved the band Guns and Roses. I guess part of me still has an Appetite for Destruction. I was feeling the Flow.

As I worked, I thought about the history of the space I was in; the layers of linoleum, wood, and glue stacked on top of one another. I thought about who put those down and how excited they must have been to have something new. I imagined what the bathroom would look like once we remodeled it. But most of all, I thought about how powerful I felt wielding a crow bar and cat’s paw and how much different the world might be if more women learned to use them; if we had the opportunity to tear things apart once in awhile, rather than always being in charge of nurturing and raising them up. What new possibilities might we imagine?


One thought on “Sometimes We Make Stuff, Sometimes We Break Stuff

  1. Pingback: Playing with Scissors | Outside The lines

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