Wednesday, August 12, 2015

See no, smell no, I don't know.

See no evil

smell no evil

I don't know nothing about no evil...

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

My car as canvas

My son is away at a pre-college summer session so I have been rearranging the house.  This also includes my studio.

I can home frustrated the other day and as my studio was in total disarray I took my art out on my car.  I had been itching to do it for a while now anyway. 

I still have more work to do - the rear end and the roof.  I also need to wear a respirator -even outside.  Holy paint fumes!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Ocean in the Badlands

When I dream I often go to a place that falls between the direct intersection between Aldine, New Jersey and the Badlands of South Dakota.  In the dreamworld these locations are just barely not adjacent.  They are direct neighbors once removed.  They coexist in the same small community.

In my dream, the space between between Aldine and the Badlands is only as big as my dream.

I live in a house there that sits on the edge of a dry lake by the ocean.  There are scrub pines along the road. The dirt is red.  The light is gray and blue and purple and seems stuck in dusk.

I was only really ever in the Badlands for the most brief moment. An eyelash bat of time.  I lived in Aldine really never.  But the traffic jams on the way to work there were the result of dairy cows on their way to work.

The house in this intersectionality glows.  It fills the space and pulls the light.  If this light were water it would exist as fog and mist and roll into the places we'd like to forget.  The places women with the marmish pursed lips tell us not to speak about.  The light like fog rolls in and makes us utter the truths that we have be told we should forget and never speak of.  Those truths that fester like cancer.  The pursed lipped women only want to hear stories of happiness and sunshine and sweetness even when the cancerous truth they bury and ignore eats away at them.

The ocean should not exist in the middle of the continent...the lake is only just dry.

My house has the scent of roses and ocean and must.  The lamp in the corner has turned itself on- old wires...need replacing- and glows yellow, warming the blue and gray light.  For a moment the world holds its breath with this new light.  Then when life continues, so does the exhale.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Woman with Black Box

Congress Street in Portland Maine was closed to car traffic for 3 hours last Friday Evening for the the First Friday Art Walk.  It was mostly glorious.  There were circus performers, marimba players, guitar players, drummers with buckets, fire eaters, and roving artists.  I was one of the roving artists: one of two "official" roving artists according the First Friday Art Walk (Portland, Maine) Converge listing.  I wandered Congress Street with my black box.  I guess I have come to terms that I am basically a mime when I perform this piece but with a major exception:  I am NOT the cliche mime. 

The why I do this piece is to observe human interaction.  Last Friday showed me some pretty horrible acting humans as well as some pretty amazing ones.

The horrible were the packs of roving self entitled adolescents.  These children ended up chasing me up Center Street threatening to push me over, pull off my wig and steal all my stuff.  They finally stopped after I broke character and screamed "Get the fuck away from me you little shits!"

Although my husband was nearby I felt very scared.  I made it very clear to these children that I did not want to interact with them but they seemed to think that because I existed they could harangue, threaten and chase me.  They were very horrid creatures.  

What troubles me most is that I had the ability to break character and use my verbal skills to make them leave me alone.  I also had my husband as back-up.  What if I was unable to create verbalized language?  What if I was alone and no one would help me?  These are problems that lots of folks face and the children who chased me had no clue that they were acting totally inappropriately.  The chances of them hurting me if I had less privilege would be pretty high.   

One of the amazing things was an interaction two young children who had asked kindly (with no verbal language) to see what was in my box.  The woman caring for these children asked if she could take a picture with the three of us.  Of course I nodded.  The youngest child was placed on the ground, locked my eyes and climbed through my skirts to hug me.  She was unafraid of my visage and seemed to appreciate my quiet.

After the two young girls got their bubbles, I was able to watch them dancing after the bubbles that their caretaker blew down the road.  Their giggles mixed with the music from the square and was one of the most beautiful sounds I heard that evening.  Thank you, little ones.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Lou Xiaoyang: March 4, 2015: Feminist Paper Doll Project 2015

Lou Xiaoyang

In 1972, Lou Xiaoyang found an abandoned infant in the rubbish heap she was pulling recyclable materials from.  She brought the child home and thus began over 40 years of rescuing and caring for unwanted children.

This story has been used by both sides on the abortion debate to prove their own points.  I am personally pro-choice as I believe that we should give women the ability to control when they do and when they don't get pregnant.  I also believe that a society should help to care for the most vulnerable of our society.  What enrages me about the anti-choice folks is their seemingly lack of concern for the fruits of those pregnancies they so desperately want to control.   Lou Xiaoyang is beyond this debate: she sees the children cast off and cares for them.  The end.

Stephen Hawkings said recently that our doom as a species is not from heavenly bodies falling on us or nuclear winter.  Our doom is our aggression and our lack of empathy.  We seem to only have compassion when it is convenient.  Lou Xiaoyang  was a rubbish collector.  Her compassion and empathy were given to those who needed even though she could have probably used some her ownself. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Ursula K Le Guin: March 3, 2015: Feminist Paper Doll Project 2015

Ursula Le Guin

My uncle gave me a copy of "The Wizard of Earthsea" sometime during the 1980's.  I loved it.  I got lost in the lands there.  I went sailing in my mind.  There were goats and mountains and wizards and dragons.  I have secret stashes of this book in my house.

Le Guin's books also opened up different ways of thinking: in "The Left Hand of Darkness" she told me about thinking about gender beyond the binary.  She opened up the realms of compassion and strength to those concepts beyond the mainstream media.  She helped me dive into the subverse.

But also she taught me to believe in metaphors.  She said, "People who deny the existence of dragons are often eaten by dragons. From within."

Monday, March 2, 2015

Avijit Roy: March 2, 2015: Feminist Paper Doll Project 2015

Avijit Roy
"We are united in our grief and will remain undefeated" 
(from the opening page of Mukto-mona (Free Thought).)

On February 26, Avijit Roy and his wife were returning from a book signing in Dhaka, Bangladesh.  They were attacked by religious extremist and Roy was brutually hacked to death. (She is currently in critical condition.)

Avijit Roy was an outspoken atheist and critic of religious extremists.  He founded the Bangladeshi liberal blog Mukta-Mona in which debate and rational discussion were prized.  He was noted for engaging folks who disagreed with his ideals and thoughts in discourse and debate.  

On the site, Avijit Roy's daughter (who he adopted when he married Rafida Ahmed Banya) spoke out about her relationship with her father. She said this about him in a twitter post:

"He and my mom started dating when I was six years old.  In the twelve years that followed,  he became my friend,  my hero,  my most trusted confidante,  my dance partner (even though we're both terrible dancers), and my father.   Not once did he tell me to simmer down or be more polite;  he taught me to be informed,  bold and unafraid."

Thank you, Avijit Roy.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Leonard Nimoy: March 1, 2015: Feminist Paper Doll Project

I watched Star Trek and Doctor Who with my Poppy-  my mother's father.  They were on just after the PBS Nightly News Hour.  I loved this ritual with my Poppy.  But I hated the news only because I wanted the stories that unfurled on the screen to fill my eyes with far off lands and ideas.  The news was reality and my 4 year old mind had had enough of that. The folks on Star Trek and Doctor Who had star ships and they could travel in time.  They had world of wonderful exploration at their finger tips. 

And Star Trek had "Mr. Kitty Cat Ears"...Spock.  I loved him.  He did not people down.  He was fair. He observed.  He understood the use of being quiet. He very rarely displayed anger or rage.  He talked through his problems.  This was a salvation for my child self.

Leonard Nimoy was not Spock.  Spock was dependent on the artistry Nimoy placed into him.  This was the same artistry that he placed into his photography and into his understanding of how to use his celebrity to help others.

Thank you Mr. Nimoy.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Heart box

I think many people forgot First Friday last evening.  Or perhaps it was too cold for folks to venture out.  Either way, pity.

I have been working with my sweetie and conspirator on little automata.  Together we created a little blue bird automaton.  Last night was its public debut.  It was an interesting one.

This is it in motion:

However,only a few people even bothered to ask what was in the box.  In previous evenings I have had the black box that seemed to compel folks to ask what was in it.  My thought was that this box would do similar things.  I was wrong-ish.

Only a few folks seemed curious enough to completely engage.  One gentleman said that I was a puzzle that he NEEDED to figure out an engaged in "conversation" for almost 2 minutes.  The "conversation" was so long that my sweetie (who watches from the sideline to keep me safe) thought that I was verbally talking to him.  Eventually, this gentleman figured that he needed to ask to see in the box.  He laughed, seemingly delighted when he finally saw the bird.

My point in this piece is not to deal with emotion.  My heart is not broken nor am I seeking any spiritual enlightenment for myself or the community.  My point is to get people engaged in asking.

I placed myself near another artist friend, Abbeth Russel last night. She was juggling and is all around wonderful. (She also is a founder of The Hidden Ladder Collective.)  We were among the small handful of artists out.  After being out for a bit we went off to have a beer and debrief ourselves.  On of our questions was: How to engage people? and Why do people NOT engage?

I wonder if people feel exposed when they are curious.  Is curiosity too risky?  I know I did not engage one person last evening while I was walking to the corner of Brown and Congress because I was focused on walking and there was a bit of fear around talking (or in my case non-verbally communicating) with people.  I was fixated on my own goal and thereby negated her curiosity.

Other folks seemed pompous and self important.  They seemed to already know everything about what I was doing even though they really couldn't have.  Perhaps this was a fear mechanism as well?

I would like to thank those folks who did stop to engage with me last evening.  Sharing my art with you is the reason to stand out in the cold.  And the interaction with you made me forget about how cold it was for at least the duration of the engagement.

See you soon!