writing, earthworks, spacial arrangements, installation art, performance, music, costumes, masks, wigs, accessories made from trash, “recycling”/upcycling, crafting, materials, tools, teaching+learning, alternative education, alternative medicine, alternative economies, social change, community, locally-grown food, neighborhood projects, video projects, documentary, stop-motion, puppets, dioramas, music videos, recording, sounds.
30 things in the list = ~30 days in a month
There are, of course, countless piles containing past experiments which have not yet been placed in OUTGOING flow-paths. (Such as the boxes of photos and collage material, but hey, that’s normal!)
Plucked from the random piles, here is a batch of photos that were shot on some slide film which went undeveloped for about 2 years, during which it was exposed to Texas heat extremes and who knows what else. Plus, it looks like I had the camera on the wrong ASA. But they turned out neat!
Yes, I’ve been BEHIND on blogging (leaving a flier for an event-past up for 2 weeks, oh my!). So here is a photo to savor while I get all my ducks in a row!
— — — —
The year is rounding out to a close. That means almost 1 year of Synaesthetic Breakfast, and an opportune time to write a NEW Artist’s Statement, new goals, and to re-organize my folders once again! (If you haven’t noticed, I love RE-organizing… more than maintaining pre-established order. I think it’s genetic. My maternal grandmother used to rearrange the furniture to the extreme of making her children switch rooms. My father liked to remodel everything…)
Off the cuff I’m going to throw out there that I would like to do some self-interviews as a way of synthesizing, digesting all this work that I’ve been producing since moving to Austin (almost) 5 years ago. Five years– that’s like going to college all over again! And it really has been a time of self-education and creative development that I am proud of. I’ve flailed from time to time for lack of “structure” and moaned about my miserable record of documenting/cataloging/writing about everything that has happened…. but those failures aside, I am pretty happy about what I have achieved and what I’m working on now. (I almost said “where I’m headed,” but the crystal ball is being coy just now.)
For the future of Synaesthetic Breakfast: more photos, colors, textures; more writing about other people, project updates and catching up with my self-documentation goals.
Among the many things I’ve been meaning to blog about but haven’t within the past weeks/months/year:
– The interview transcription from Neighborhood Acupuncture Project, covering topics such as how co-healing is actually more effective than treatment in isolation…
– The video/audio/photo documentary of Scott and Jen’s ever-evolving garden-scape (outside of but not really separate from their Museum of Natural and Artificial Ephemerata)
– My report on Saturn Return now that I’ve gone through it!
Also, I’ve been meaning to share these photos:
Another Big Idea/fantasy plan that I haven’t blogged about: Science+Art Barn-Raising.
Basically, my studio/yard is a test-site where collected/scavenged materials (mostly man-made post-consumer scraps) are subjected to extreme (Texas) weather conditions.
Two teams (coexisting, not opposing) will converge on the site = Scientists, studying the breakdown of these materials into the environment + Artists, creating conceptual work from and with the materials through constant rearrangement and manipulation.
Science is a steady collecting of data that must be grounded in physical reality. As an artist, I am immersed in this physical reality and its constant changes; I observe the weather, the passage of time, the biodegrading occurring. I struggle to keep up with the challenges of this “outdoor studio”, this “man v. nature” drama which usually results in the ego/idea surrendering to that which is so much larger. Decomposition keeps pace with composition. I find myself gluing things less and less. So maybe this struggle and surrender, this process, IS my material? I let go and observe the transformational work of Nature? If I could morph into a part-time scientist, it could be my subject of study, which might actually be objectively useful in the field of environmental science. As it is, I am kind of stuck being an artist (at least for now), so I would like to invite some other people to come be the scientists.
Consider this a rough draft! Please do: edit, question, comment!
This is a picture of the metamorphosing studio. As you can see, the tripod on the floor represents the intention to start working on the video art project that was mentioned several posts ago. The grumbling heard quietly throughout this month of not-very-many posts is the sound of being behind on so many things, as always. Mostly I am behind on reaching my goals of self-representation on the web (both here and at r-e-r-t.org), but it is moving along, inch-by-inch.
I had a partial furlough this past week (and this current week), during which I had hoped to get caught up on those and other things, like preparing for TONIGHT’S WORKSHOP, but things tend to never really go as planned. However, I am still glad for tonight’s forum, where I am going to get to work with others on a project that is still so mysterious to me. I’m excited to see what happens!
(And here comes my philosophical rambling of the week:)
At-home vacations can be good times to reconnect with the balance point between your practical needs and your high-falutin goals, and through that, to redefine your priorities. At the beginning of my “vacation” (which wasn’t really a total vacation, but was at least the idea of freedom), I was overly anxious to CLAIM my time and use it as selfishly as I could (i.e. by focusing on the stuff on my art to-do list). Having to battle that against other responsibilities, I got kind of exhausted by that emotion fairly quickly! Now that I’ve had enough of “my own” time that I’ve gone ahead and “wasted”, I feel that my outlook is more balanced (i.e., my greediness has subsided). So, what I’ve learned is:
#1. I exist not (only) to serve, but to INSPIRE. This is what I should remember when I am forgetting to save enough space for creative work, or when I am doing something for someone else just because it is my habit to do so. I have a creative inner child, here, Hello!
#2. On the other hand, the ability to structure time in a way that leads to accomplishment requires maturity. I have tended so far in my life to work really well within externally-drawn boundaries (school, themes, deadlines, etc.), and, in fact, I rather depend on them for my motivation and determination. (That’s one reason why I do so much collaborative work.) I need to develop my own inner authority figure whom I can trust, follow, and be accountable to; until I do, I better be grateful to those external structures (i.e. “day jobs”)!
#3. Never underestimate the importance of warm-ups! (Sweeping is one of my favorites.)
Leah commissioned me to make a “dark (balding) clown” wig for Next Halloween (I happened to finish a year early)…
and it turned out pretty GOO-OOd! Now accepting pre-orders…
Instead of making a Dia de los Muertos altar, I just managed to finish my beerbox mask in time for the Butthole Surfers show. I wanted to get it on to the stage so that they would accept it as a gift, but it ended up just on the ground on the side of the stage. <:-/
Who knows where it ended up?
IN OTHER NEWS!
what? Well, there’s a new show at Po’Boys, which I would like to post pics of, and Side Sauce (new compilation CD by Night Viking & Friends) is allllmost done, and the puppet theater needs to be documented, completed (with help!), and used.
That’s some news!
Highlights: The most STUFF ever. Our team of sellers did very well — Leah with her giant-tarp Bag Sale of clothes, Monkeypants with his media (books/music/magnets), and etcetera. Mike was absent but delivered a crib full of more mutant soft toys, several of which had the laughing voice boxes that took a long time to quit. I think the creepiest one of all was the one that died early, the rubber Satanic-baby-head on a string. <!>
One person was disappointed not to find any dead-people slides or skull belts. (!)
The guy from Reno left with a whole new life, though. (!)
I had so many expectations beforehand (as always); I wanted to make a bunch of spooky-awesome stuff like Halloween/Reincarnation Wreaths, car crash earrings, hanging baskets, a panty-hose mask-making station, and of course an Awe-Inspiring Puppet Production in Mini’s (awesome) Theatre… But, well, we did what we could! I set up store in the studio, and that felt good.
Had some fun for sure.
The writings/”To Do lists” leading up to Junk-a-thon are sitting next to me in a box (there are many). I guess I’ll have to do something with them now!
The date for the 2nd ALIEN ART SHOW has finally settled down onto late Feb. 2010.
I have decided to make my next big creative focus be a long-term project leading up to this show. Using the puppet stage and friendly participation, we will shoot video on a weekly basis of puppets and stop-motion art. I have a collection of idea-visions (inspiring materials) already bursting to become real, and they all fit the space/e.t. theme!
The video presented in February will be the edited culmination of this project, possibly a “mix tape” of music-inspired pieces. Musical suggestions/contributions are welcomed! I already know I need to listen to some Sun Ra and more Moondog.
I’ve never given more than a few seconds of thought to the idea of lunar inhabitants, but the topic has been coming up a lot in comments on articles about the recent moon “bombing”/”mission”. Since I’ve already been working with moon imagery for awhile, I will enjoy exploring this idea imaginatively and physically.
After Junk-a-thon and the Inaugural Community Puppet Show, I will turn my fiery, community-organizing energy down to medium heat. Sunday fence-painting, thinking in terms of my VERY local community, finishing up the theater and studio while honing my carpentry skills, and focusing on performances + this video project, are going to be good ingredients for winter-into-spring! (I also will spend some serious time on getting the website up to speed, and hopefully get out to see/hear more local events.) By next spring/summer, this creative-community base (rert) should feel very solid!
Been changing my theme like I used to change my hair. — Alas, no more caustic chemi fumes; after a last fun blast (“Napalm Orange”) in 2005, I decided to stay “natural” and just wait for my hair to change color by itself. For awhile I wasn’t cutting it, either, but now I’ve reached a good maintenance length and enjoy the clean feeling of a trim.
What am I talking about- Oh yeah, Changes.
This simple theme is comforting to me because it looks relatively old*, which is more reflective of my actual level of computer literacy. I want to be kind of “bare”, not wearing a well-designed mask or hiding behind a velvet curtain. Well, I do want to do that in my future puppet theater! But on the computer, not so much.
(*Actually, it was “Sandbox” and I had to change it again because it wasn’t displaying my photos!)
It’s been raining steadily all afternoon. I might as well be in pajamas, because I’m not going anywhere. The sound of it coming down on the tarp-roof of “the studio” was at first exciting like camping; now it is reminding me (unfortunately) of the Venus scene from Ray Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man. Slight, pointless anxiety- as if some part of me keeps having to make sure I’m not going to drown. It is a beautiful music made of individual note-drops, but after going on for hours, they blend together in monotony. Although at first I thought it was this persistent consistent noise, combined with being house-bound, that was breeding in me a slight tension; now, I think it is more that I CAN hear each raindrop. I am AWARE of their impact. The drought has been waiting so long to break, and now we all have a deeper respect for the impact and importance of this water… And as it fills in the holes that I dug last week (for erecting the posts that will hold up the theater’s roof), I become once again so small, so relatively ineffectual.
Change happens slow and fast, depending on your perspective. To me, the progress out back (see Studio/Theater plans, August blog) is achingly slow: steps forward come only after steps back; I replaced the studio canopy in a three-part process, rain proving flaws in my engineering vision, leading to progressively more sophisticated (though still extremely rag-tag) designs. Building on no budget! Well, I do like challenges.
Yes, so the work I’ve been doing is, to me, behind schedule and beside the point I wanted to be making by now… To others, who have no idea of my plan and to-do list, every change is a surprise! Quick vs. slow. Nice.
Last time I was at my mother’s house/library, I picked up her old copy of I Ching: The Book of Change (translated and edited by John Blofeld, 1968). I’ve been enjoying the introductory/explanatory chapters thus far. As this post illustrates, I am taking thematic comfort from the philosophy expressed (Taoism). The author explains that he chose to title the text in the singular rather than more common plural (Changes) form, because [he believes] “the Chinese authors selected the title to reflect their concept of Change as the one unchanging aspect of the universe normally perceptible to human beings.” (p. 23)
So, the Tao is one unchanging Change; in our human experience, there are many many small changes– to back up and look at the bigger picture, and squint a little: yeah, it does all kind of blend together in one endless flow, like a river. Opposing energies/forces, mixing and flowing. The I Ching, when used as an oracle or divinatory tool, simply tells you how to best manage your journey along that river, by suggesting action or inaction as the better choice for the given situation. The framework is also very moral, based on what the “Superior Man” would do, i.e. one who “[desires] to live in harmony with the laws of Heaven and earth,” (p. 42). I shall enjoy studying this as I continue to seek a deeper and deeper experience of Balance…
I am good at creating the appearance of drastic change in a short amount of time (in performance, installations), mainly through the manipulation of materials. I like this. From a formal perspective, it is based on a very simple/rudimentary fact that drama, change, and contrast are all attention-getters. If I can get an audience’s attention, then there is the hope that I can give them something. Curiosity is one of my favorite of human emotions, if it is an emotion. Anyway, spending time crafting different ways of getting attention is a lot of what art ends up being about; the other part, which is kind of independent of art but nevertheless integral to its meaning, is that which is being expressed. A lot of times after completing a big art project/show/event, I have felt a kind of let-down deflation, because though my material efforts may have been noticed and enjoyed, what I put into my work in terms of thought and concept ended up feeling like coins tossed into a dark well. It’s not that there was no response or impact, it’s just that I have no way of knowing what the response or impact was, not unless someone took the time and effort to respond. Usually it’s just: “Hey, I really liked your show!” Uhh… “Thank you!” Occasionally there are conversations that go beyond that, and I can hear my initial statements echoed back to me, affirmed. Rarely, someone will point out things that I hadn’t even noticed, or they suppose themes that are so far from my intention that I get the delightful feeling of curiosity myself (energy returned back to me). Case in point: some “stranger” at Jo on the Go in San Marcos commented that my installation of hand-made wallpapers there was “obsessed with genetic mutation and reproduction.” Now that gives me something to think about!
I guess some conversations are slower than others. Points-of-view change, slowly, gradually, like evolution. And sometimes there are bolts of inspiration, other times confrontation, and moments when resonance is felt so clear, you really can almost hear it ringing. Let’s circle those moments and talk about them, make art, discuss again.
The frustrations I have on the physical plane, battling obstacles and practicing patience, stem from my eagerness to contribute to the dialogues going on in art and community, compounded by self-imposed limitations on how I want to make that contribution. Vision pulls me forward and mud pulls me down, grounded.
While I am typing, various pieces/relics of art pieces past are outside in my “studio”, slowly accepting moisture through their completely non-archival surfaces. I’ve got a tent full of future trash! Why? (I’m exaggerating a bit… it’s not FULL… and some of it is former trash, future art…) These things hold, to me, not-fully-discharged caches of meaning. If someone picks one of them up, the story attached to it just starts rolling out of my mouth, sometimes. Here at Synaesthetic Breakfast, I hope to someday bring you some of those stories, and pictures-in-words. Then the cardboard may safely melt back into the earth…
It’s not raining anymore! Bye-bye.