Week 10. Taxonomy

Chemical elements have their own taxonomy based on structure and properties: noble gases, alkali metals, halogens, etc. They put themselves in numerical order.

But then there’s QSAR – quantitative structure-activity relationship: the way you can look at a chemical’s structure, its taxonomic place, to predict how it or a similar chemical will behave. It’s the ghost in the machine. Chemicals have identities that are beyond what we can organize, and these identities are seen in reactions, relationships.

I have a recurring dream in which I’m the Hagia Sophia, which has been many things to many people – church, mosque, museum, yet also something else, something itself.

I wanted to draw chemicals as roads, but I kept thinking of cityscape, of how we can love and feel at home in a city – apart from structure, apart from culture – when we feel the “itself” of it, its ghost in the machine.

Materials: Gouache, waxed paper

This is my first tarot card, a four of planets: wondering about creation and what lays at the outer edges of the universe. I want to design my own deck, a set of cards to lay out the taxonomy of my emotions.

I live too much in the moment, I am continually shocked, I lay awake at night trying to process the confusion.  I am unable to map out cause and effect. Once I can name it, my mind quiets, the dust storm settles, I can examine the situation.  A pebble dropping through water, a sense of clarity.   

My emotions are not so complex, I find myself lost in the same places over and over: sense of abandonment, sense of responsibility for all outcomes, unrelenting standards, not feeling safe.  It is finding the names of those feelings that is complex.

All card decks have four suites, my deck will have: Ocean waves (emotions, moods), mountains (work, struggles, goals), planets (abstract concepts), and spirits (relationships). Can I use metaphors to name the un-namable?

Materials: colored pencil, water color, Pilot sliver marker.

***The image is from a stained glass grave marker in the cemetery in Assisi, Italy. I drew it from memory, if anyone has seen this grave and can send me a photo I would be grateful.


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