The Gallery Companion
The Gallery Companion
Looking for Clarity?
15
Preview
0:00
-1:24

Looking for Clarity?

Four things that have spoken to me this week
15

Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Untitled (March 5th) #2 (1991). © The Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation, Courtesy Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York.

I’ve got four lovely things for you today. A bit of poetry, some music, a film and an artwork that knocked me for six this week. All on the theme of what on earth am I doing in my life, feeling a bit lost, and finding solace in the arts. Maybe the long, grey days of winter are having an impact on me, but over the past couple of weeks there has been a distinct gear change in my head. I’ve slowed down and shifted from self-flagellating workaholic (my standard modus operandi) to doing the thing immediately in front of me, and no more. Barely that, actually. It’s quite freeing.

I recently started listening to the Huberman Lab podcast (thanks Mary Jo for putting me on to this), which brings the latest research in neuroscience to a non-academic audience. This week the guest was Dr Kay Tye, a brilliant scientist whose work investigates the neural circuit basis of social interactions and loneliness. It was a fascinating listen on all sorts of ideas but the one thing that I remember most clearly from two hours of chat was that she only checks her email once a week, and doesn’t do social media at all. I’ve been skirting around this for a while, but I’ve now removed the email and instagram apps from my phone home screen, and deleted quite a few others entirely. Also very freeing.

I still check them every day, but I’m consciously decoupling and it has definitely given me a bit of headspace to go with other flows a bit more. That’s not to say that I see no benefit from a bit of downtime with instagram, and in fact this week the algorithm handed me this golden nugget: Helena Bonham Carter reading Mary Oliver’s poem Wild Geese. Its about self-acceptance, belonging, and our need for connection with others. It perfectly sums up how I feel at the moment. Plus her voice is like honey.

Another one of the podcasts I regularly listen to put me on to Tracy Chapman’s performance with the American country singer Luke Combs of her beautiful song Fast Car at the Grammys last Sunday evening. It’s heavenly. I’ve listened to it about fifty times already. The song was a track on Chapman’s debut album released back in 1988, when I was too young to understand its significance or meaning. Ten years later as a confused teenager wishing I could be someone else somewhere else, I had this song on repeat for months. It’s about hope and changing things up, loneliness and the importance of connection, and looking for something else.

This post is for paid subscribers

The Gallery Companion
The Gallery Companion
Shortlisted for the Independent Podcast Awards 2023, The Gallery Companion is hosted by writer and historian Dr Victoria Powell. Expect stories about all the messy, complicated stuff that artists explore and question in their work: what’s going on, how we think and behave, how the past impacts on the present, and the role of art in our world.
Listen on
Substack App
RSS Feed
Email mobile setup link
Appears in episode
Dr Victoria Powell