Sights & Sounds: Charles Broskoski
Common Discourse is a project designed to help others (and ourselves) think through creativity, focus, and intentional work—from Alex Tan & Alice Otieno.
Every Tuesday we share words from a journal, a few ideas, a quote from somebody else, and links worth sharing. On Fridays we invite a guest to share images from their camera roll and a sound that resonates with them.
Charles Broskoski (Cab) is an artist, programmer, and entrepreneur based in Hudson, New York. He’s one of the many Founders of the online knowledge connecting tool, Are.na. We reference Are.na often, and if you don’t know what it is or haven’t spent time with the platform, I encourage you to read more about what they’re doing here.
Alex and I first connected with Cab when using the platform, and are constantly fascinated by his research on how we can continue to build a better internet for ourselves and others.
Here’s what he shared with us this week!
Almost 13 years ago, before we started Are.na, I was dedicated to “image making”.
I was in grad school for painting at the time, at Hunter College. My work mostly consisted of making watercolor paintings (and inviting my friends to make watercolor paintings) in my weird corner-office / studio. I still have hundreds of them.
Around this time I was also making “paintings” on the computer using any kind of software that would let me make a drawing or painting-like image, mostly Maya and Photoshop. I had a few different websites that I used to publish these digital paintings, one of which was a blog which displayed only two entries at a time, with large text displaying the relative timestamp of each image (i.e. “2 days ago”, “4 months ago”).
Thinking about it now, it’s hard to fully articulate what I was trying to get at during this time period, but I know that what I was doing was treating image making as if it were photography. I wanted to produce a large archive of my own images that I could then edit later. I also knew that time was a factor in how these images were perceived. Sometimes an image has to hit you at the right time, when you’re in the right mood or in the right stage of your life.
Around the time I was making these images, I was really into this essay by David Joselit called “Painting Beside Itself” which tried to describe a class of painting where it wasn’t just the final work that was important, but the entire network of influence and reference that make up the work. A painting or an image has a position within a network, and that position is constantly changing, as is everything around it, including you and me.
Anyway, looking back on some of these images now, my impression is something like “hmm, that’s not bad!“. But this is a selection of a selection. All of these exist in an Are.na channel which archives this period of image making, but that channel is also an edited selection of the whole archive which is hundreds (maybe thousands) of images which will probably never see the light of day.
And here's a somewhat related blog post written (and presented only as spoken audio) by my friend and colleague Meg Miller. Maybe it would be nice to listen to while you're taking a walk or drinking some water.
Thanks for consuming!
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