Thursday, July 17, 2014

UFO of a special kind

From September 2010 to September 2011 Kathleen Loomis and I did a joint art project, „Daily Mail“, which we have both written about on other occasions (my reports, included you will find a link to Kathy's blog). Both of us agree that it was one of the best (collaborative) art projects we have ever been involved in. Despite the fact that we both knew it was good to stop after a year, when it ended, I went through a period of severe mourning – which might well have been increased by the fact that the end of the project coincided with my son’s entering school, yet another significant end of a period, but a great part of the feeling down was certainly affiliated with the end of Daily Mail. In any case, I decided to put together a documentation so that both of us would have something to hold in our hands and look at.
I started a file in InDesign, divided the pages up for six spaces that would show the pictures, calculated the size of table and spacing for text passages, and set to work, copying the pictures, the little texts. One day started with Kathy’s pictures, followed by mine, and the next day started with my pictures, so that would minimize the number of times I had to change back and forth between the different folders that I had saved our messages in. 

One page of the documentation, November

I planned to do about half an hour to an hour every day. By the beginning of November I realized that it would take forever, and that I certainly would not be finished by Christmas as I had originally planned. So as a kind of ‘place holder’ I chose one picture by each of us for every week of the year and ordered a memory game in two printed copies, which I gave to Kathy for Christmas.

A look into the memory game box

I played it with my family a few times, and it has been a dear keepsake since. By the beginning of June 2012 (or was it Christmas 2012 already? I can’t remember) I had finally finished the first half of the ‘big documentation’, up until March 15. That had been the ‘final date’ in our original agreement, when we did not yet know how well we were going to like it. Small catastrophes such as that I couldn’t find the texts of my messages from weeks xy to xz were overcome through Kathy’s reliable help, she would resend message texts from me, sometimes pictures of hers. By then the file had grown to over 120 pages, and would not fit into a single pdf-file. At least my computer did not want to do it, so I decided to save every page as a separate pdf-file, which I then took to the printer, as I don’t own a color printer myself.

The printout was shipped, the other half still remained to be done - and the good intention to keep going right away seemed to have been put into that package that went across the Atlantic. After all, we had continued the project for another six months (minus a few weeks when we met in the States and/or were traveling without internet access), so there was almost just as much to do still. I did get started on the second half pretty soon, but pretty soon after that it sort of got stuck.
So when early in the year (this year – 2014! three years after the conclusion of the project!) Kathy asked whether she could come and visit us for a few days in July, I resolved that I would definitely finish this documentation in time for that visit. Again I set to work, bravely faced more of the minor catastrophes – why on earth had I not saved my messages all through August? Over and over again I had to retrieve pictures of Kathy’s from my e-mail archives. During the time of computer change on my part I had lost three days’ worth of pictures from my side. Again, in all these instances, Kathy proved a reliable partner and supplied whatever it was I needed.
The whole process took much longer than I had possibly imagined. Had I known, how much time I would spend on it, I probably would have refrained from starting on it in the first place. But here Kathy was scheduled to arrive on July 1, and I would be gone to Berlin the few days immediately before that – I just needed to get it out of my system.
And I did. I came up with a title page, 

took the CD to the printer two days before I left for Berlin, picked it up on the morning of July 1, 

and could finally declare this project finished and hand over the missing part to Kathy as her birthday present.

Kathy arrives at Munich airport -
after I had picked up the finished documentation!

However, I will now have to look for a place where I can get it bound professionally. Because this stack of printouts needs a really good binding job done. And then this UFO will finally be FO.

After all that, Kathy and I had a wonderful four days.

Kathy, already taking pictures before jet lag set in

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