“…What he thinks to be spontaneous is filtered and monitored many times over. Were Pavlov’s dog improvising, he would still salivate when the bell rang, but he would feel sure it was all his own doing. ‘I’m dribbling,’ he would say, proud of his daring.”

Peter Brook ‘The Empty Space’ from ‘The Immediate Theatre’. Speaking about actors (particularly from the method schools)  (too) reliant on their own ‘observation / spontaneity’.

As an abstraction seems apt applied to many ‘things’…. performing

add — subtract

I am reading  ‘The Empty Space’ by Peter Brook.


& should you not have read it I recommend it; as essential reading no matter your preferred artform.

(I have a habit of folding the corners of pages I wish to return to: my copy has a lot of folded corners).

…We are all aware that most of life escapes our senses: a most powerful explanation of the  various arts is that they talk of patterns which we can only begin to recognise when they manifest themselves as rhythms or shapes….

Peter Brook, ‘The Empty Space’.







It had always been of the greatest importance to him, Ferber once remarked casually, that nothing should change at his place of work, that everything should remain as it was, as he had arranged it, and that nothing further should be added but the debris generated by painting and the dust that continuously fell and which, as he had come to realise, he loved more than anything else in the world.He felt closer to dust, he said, than to light , air or water. There was nothing he found so unbearable as a well-dusted house, and he never felt more at home than in places where things remained undisturbed, muted under the grey, velvety sinter left when matter dissolved, little by little into nothingness. And indeed, when I watched Ferber working on one of his portrait studies over a number of weeks, I often thought that his prime concern was to increase the dust.

W.G. Sebald, ‘The Emigrants’

From the chapter on Ferber, whom I guess to be partially based on Frank Auerbach, but relocated to Manchester.

There is a part of me that can strongly identify with the described feelings for a well dusted house.