know thyself / by Keeley Haftner

In the interests of postulating a greater unified practice that has intentions toward the kind of work I hope to produce, and which is rooted in the kind of work I already make, I have begun a process of mining old writings from the previous four years.

These were writings (casual thoughts, desperate pleas, weak statements, epic proclamations) that I was archiving with the specific intention of eventually creating a blog in which I could hash out some of these ideas, potentially as a collaborative effort between myself and other art makers and thinkers. The bulk of it will likely never see the light of day, but in the spirit of beginning, I’ll share one that had me loling for your reading pleasure. Mid-twenties art-making anxiety, away we go…



Excerpt from writing called “SOLVE FOR X”, written May 20, 2012:

[After a diatribe on too much freedom being a limitation (suggested in a Claire Bishop/Paul Ramirez Jones interview), I attempt to list my freedoms as a means of focusing my practice. I’ve included the whole latter half, which is embarrassing, but I hope you’ll find it as comical as I did]

1)   Freedom of content  (C)


-       Form (as merged with other content, not in itself)

-       beauty

-       waste

-       feminism

-       ‘taste’

-       participation

-       erasure

-       kitsch

-       craft

-       time

2)   Freedom of media (M)

-       Craft

-       Sculpture

-       Paint

-       Print

-       Performance

3)   Freedom of intent (I)

-       Audience receives insight into complex subject

-       Audience receives a piece of work that they can interact with or keep

-       Site-specificity or ‘the local’ in a process of making (why? This drives me nuts!)

-       Ability to convey something new

4)   Freedom of end result (ER)

-       a literal document (this is a painting, this is a sculpture)

-       a ‘passing document’ – this photo or video helps second hand viewers to relate to what this work was

-       no document – this work is represented through memory, story, or not at all

-       an unfixed result: this work is constantly changing PUBLICLY, so that no two experiences of it will be the same

Kay.  That’s a lot.  Too much.  Wayyyyy to much. Here are the problems - so what is the ‘solution’? Is there is something ‘to solve?' If a formula is essentially ‘solve for x’, we don’t know what ‘x’ is until we solve it.  So if we have our ‘ingredients’ to the recipe, we know full well that ‘x’ cannot be solved for until we have an intelligible amount of numbers to work with.  Not unless we have a whole lifetime (which we do, so as the formula changes, we can add more things to the equation to make for different results).  So for now, we shall make a formula that can work with these different things in manageable ways.


(C² + M)I = ER


Solve for Media first: can use:


Craft to make sculpture to make painting to make performance

Print to make performance

Sculpture to make painting to make performance




Painting to make print

Performance to make painting

Sculpture to make painting

Painting to make sculpture (?)


This was the stupidest thing I’ve ever written.