A continuous scroll of two-word “do-its” on a small electronic LED sign encourages us to act – without knowing what “it” is referring to. It’s up to us, the viewer, to decide.
At random intervals comic-strip exclamations stop the scrolling action for a second..
seemingly to make you think about the doing of “it”. Rose Finn-Kelcey’s evocative piece despite being only 19.7cm x 2.2cm has a presence beyond its actual size. “It Rules can be left running while you get on with your life.” Discrete yet powerful in its message – how often do we not do it through our lives and regret it later? What holds us back? Or what inspires us to go and do it?
Rose Finn-Kelcey very sadly died three years ago this month, aged 68, from motor neurone disease. Her ability to combine irony and seriousness so effectively (like this work), her sense of purpose, her firm belief that a piece of art could be made of anything, the fact that no two works of hers are actually physically alike and her continuous desire to experiment (Steam inhalation) all combine to make one wonder what she would have been producing today? “omigod!” . Her presence in the Collective is a special one.
Two things happened last week that made me reflect on this work – both completely different and unconnected. For as long as we have it in our household, I now return to it often and read the scrolling text. Previously unseen do-its always pop up.
The first was a video I saw of the first ever no-parachute jump successfully pulled off by veteran skydiver Luke Aikins from twenty-five thousand feet! Mad man? “thrill it” reads the digital screen, “breathe it” continues the LED messaging in green. Whilst most of us would regard such an action as insane “omigod!’ or even “enough!” that was Luke Aikin’s “it” and he certainly did it. Does it matter “why”?
The second was an excellent session I attended last week organised by the Digital and Social Media Leadership Forum [DSLMF ] on “women in digital”which was a chance to discuss the opportunities and challenges in leadership for women in the digital space. How can you “do it” ?- what are the obstacles that may be holding women back? You didn’t have to speak coding languages to benefit from the session and there were a wide variety of careers represented whose common denominator was “digital”. But what really took it to the next level was the sense of support in the room for having the conviction to pursue the best route for you in your career irrespective of age, family priorities and responsibilities and the obstacles and pressures that may exist to put you off pursuing “it”. To “do it” without compromise, “believe it” and “ok it”.
Rose Finn-Kelcey, despite her early death, left her legacy for us in all her art. She once said of herself
“I work in the belief – or dare – that I can continue to reinvent myself and remain a perennial beginner.”
You may not want to be a “perennial beginner” – you might even become an expert! But working in the belief that you can reinvent yourself, continue to learn , start on new paths throughout your life is surely worth “it”. “own it”, don’t “miss it”. It rules