Maritza Ruiz-Kim

Artist, San Francisco Bay Area

Beginnings Lead to Unknowns

1. When you begin something, is it always the case that one doesn’t know how it ends? There is no omniscience or telling the future. It’s an experience. A travel in time or place or mindset from point A to point B. You begin a travel of sorts, and you pack for it or don’t, and you plot your path or you don’t, or you follow landmarks along the way or… you don’t. You just move.

2. Tonight I went to a lecture that Paul Kos gave, and I was reminded of the outlook that he has in his work that probably worked its way into mine from the beginning. (He taught a class I took in my first semester at the San Francisco Art Institute, and I took several more from him.) He talked about happening upon inspiration & meaning, and having that guide the work. He talked about absurdity. He talked about asking questions. And finding out what happens.

3. Here is a description of a performance I did in that first semester of art school (I was a transfer student in my 2nd year of college. I had just turned 17.)

I wrote 2 or 3 letters in handwriting that didn’t look like mine, and I mailed them in an envelope for my mom to then return to me by mail, so that the letters I wrote would be sealed with postmarks & returned to me. When I got them in the mail, I put them in my backpack. When I arrived in my class, and it was my turn to present my work, I went to the center of the room, I emptied the contents of my backpack onto the floor, including the letters I had received (that I had written), notebooks, and a personal journal. I placed all these items in a neat pile, with my real journal on the bottom of the pile, and I left the room. I waited outside. And waited. I expected them to tear through the letters and my journal as well. I was pretty freaked out. They finally came out to find me. It seems they were silent in that class. No one touched anything. One guy asked me about the letters directly. I admitted they were fake. He was a little angry. But he never asked about the other items, and I never told him. It was all real. And what I had written in the letters, it was a form of real. Fiction based on my life. It was all real. If he had just asked. There was a lot in that performance that was undiscovered, and I left it that way.

4. What is it with starting a conversation? People have their reasons for not doing it. They are worried that they’ll seem stupid. Or make a mistake. Or maybe they don’t care to talk. Or they don’t care to talk to that particular person.

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