My husband and I can both hear the mail truck from where we work, Bill from his office, me from my studio. The truck slows at the end of our driveway, the gravel crunches, the mailbox door opens, there is a pause as the motor runs, the mailbox door closes, the truck moves to the next.
Every time I hear these sounds, I feel a pressure in my chest. This sensation is not dread toward the bills that have arrived, nor the junk mail I need to recycle. The sensation is a knowing, that today could be a day I receive help to make the work I want to make.
Maybe there is a “Congratulations” letter, regarding a grant for which I applied. Or maybe there is a huge check from a foundation whose monies I could only have received through nomination. Or maybe when I get back from the mailbox, there is an e-mail from a curator, inviting me to install a new interactive work at one of my lofty-goal institutions.
As I write out each installation concept, grant narrative, and exhibit proposal, I infuse it with intention. I visualize the idea, or thing I have asked for, happening. As I read foundation guidelines for a grant, I know the readers of my words will think to themselves, “This is definitely something we should support.” As I type answers to the foundations’ questions as part of the application, I know the foundation staff will type my name at the top of their “Congratulations” form letter.
Before applications/proposals started to go digital, once I put all the necessary elements in an envelope, I would have Bill add more intention by giving the envelope a kiss. Few things are sent this way now (applications/images sent via the Web; curators accepting my ideas via e-mail/attachments). So, I will have Bill give me a kiss just before I press “submit”/“send.”
My 9 solo-biennial exhibits will have happened, largely because of the power of intention. With my 8 biennials thus far, I said I would conceptualize, produce, and share the 9 installations for each exhibit. I visualized what each installation would look like and what it would take for it to happen. And, each biennial took place. My exhibits will also have happened, because of people who intend to assist and those who do assist, my will (which seems different from intention), and something larger.
It seems like my biennials are meant to happen. When it looks like none of the mill owners are interested, one finally responds. When I need funds for a biennial’s 9th installation, and I have simplified it as much as possible, I am awarded a last-minute grant which now just covers it. When the biennial is about to open, but I haven’t finished, a volunteer texts my phone. . .
My intention is to finish drawing, pre-production, fundraising, and securing a mill before I start installing my last biennial, so I will. My intention is for my last biennial to take place in Lewiston, so it will. My intention is to continue to make the work I want to make after my biennials are complete, so I will. I have to believe intention will continue to work when my 18-year plan is finished.
How does intention enter into the work you do? Or any other aspect of your life?