The 'forms' of All Moments come from Tai Chi - where each movement is described as a FORM. They have cool names like Repulse Monkey, Leisurely Tying Coat etc and there are several styles of Tai Chi - Yang, Chen etc which come in 'sets' of specific numbers. These include some level of repetition, though an understanding that there is no ‘real’ repetition as each form is experienced afresh with each action. (But there are sometimes right/left versions of a form). There's something profound about the concept of variation in repetition that accords to my disbelief in 'equals.'
I split my text of All Moments into two sets of forms:
The Open Circle which is the basic 32 forms (the ‘chapters’ if you like, of the story) and
Creative Balance the 24 forms. These are ‘variations’ of the 32 forms. They are split/curated into two smaller sets
WuXin - 11 forms which are the ‘story’ of Brand Loyalty
WuJi - 13 forms which encompass thoughts and ‘being’ outside of that story - places I have been, places the story took me and places the story came from.
(You have no idea what a personal trial it was for me to break from the geometry of 2 x 12 =24)
The forms contain a mix of fact, fiction and philosophy.
The Form structure thus works as an analogy ‘beyond’ chapters. I felt it important to come up with a variant on the A-Z of Brand Loyalty.
A more recent work ‘The One that Got Away’ (2018) in which I was experimenting with a non-hierarchical narrative structure had a deck of cards as the chapter alternatives. Number 52.
But for All Moments I wanted something that would link with Chinese patterns. Ever since ‘The Other Side of the Mountain’(2003) I’ve been trying to find a way to work in the hexagons of the Iching/ bagua trigrams as a pattern (and failed repeatedly) but the Tai Chi forms have provided me with an acceptable (I think elegant) alternative.
Tai Chi practice has informed a lot of the process of construction of this narrative and in practical terms it’s something I would never have been able to achieve without Scrivener software. Its non-linearity has proven essential to my constructional needs. If there was a god of software, Scrivener would be it! In the beginning there was the ‘word’ of course, but Scrivener has allowed me to go beyond ‘word’ in so many ways - and this informs much of the thought and practice of the text.
Then we come to ‘number theory’. It’s no secret that I have a poor relationship with numbers as things and a language. I certainly don’t see them according to the rules of mathematics, or even arithmetic. So when I ‘use’ them it’s for somewhat individualistic purposes. To make patterns, but patterns beyond ‘number’ per se. First I was trying to mirror Brand Loyalty and come up with 52 ‘units’ of text but I couldn’t get this to resolve as I worked on the structure.
The cards, if you like, fell out at 56. It took a while before the significance of this became clear to me. Here’s my answer…
This work is being born during my 56th year and has become a statement of what I understand/ who I am at 56. And so the 56 forms seemed to offer a good analogy or perhaps its a metaphor my relationship with the text both in terms of structure, theory and ‘reality’.
Find out more about the theory, process and meanings - an exercise in creating a brain in a virtual vat.