On Sensitivity

I cannot begin to define the significance of sensitivity in my work without facing the space between what is innate versus chosen sensibility. I start making from an innate sensitivity, following attractions or intuitions that I do not consider to have chosen for myself. I don’t take indulging in these compulsions lightly and evaluating inclination is a chosen sensibility of mine, one that ultimately shapes the form of my work. But both ends of the creative process and everything in between come alive around questions of intention or the lack thereof; where does the commitment lie in this indulgence and and what am I really feeding my energy into?

Sensitivity is never so simple. It gives range to every emotional dimension, from the inconvenient and vulgar to the most mystical sense of feeling. Either end of any spectrum can easily be invalidated as shameful or false, though I believe that defensively guarding oneself from either by logic is problematic. It changes the exploration of nuance to a question of what one’s limitations are to being consciously present. Though I have chosen cultivated disciplines, for me the work is about curiosity and acceptance of all currents. My goal is to be a clear conduit.

Sensitivity implies a state of open perception, one that requires passivity and allowance. Simultaneously, it is the means to actively create within one’s vision. You are in the river yet you are the river is the paradox that exemplifies sensitivity to me. I would never want to demystify this, but I am asking for sensitivity for sensitivity’s sake. I can’t decide if this is logically justifiable or not but hopefully, it will lead us to intimacy. Then I might be able to integrate the visible with the invisible, the divinity of physical embodiment with the nonphysical dimensions that open up within vulnerability.

Rebecca Solnit eloquently wrote, “It is the job of artists to open doors and invite in prophesies, the unknown, the unfamiliar; it’s where their work comes from, although its arrival signals the beginning of the long disciplined process of making it their own. Scientists too, as J. Robert Oppenheimer once remarked, “live always at the ‘edge of mystery’ — the boundary of the unknown.” But they transform the unknown into the known, haul it in like fishermen; artists get you out into that dark sea.” Like Solnit, I think of the unknown as an opportunity. Specifically, sensitivity as both a means of dragging someone out to sea with me, and the means of survival in any vast space, where logic is in organic matter.