The Beat of a Minute
You: trigger. Phone: trigger. There. No there. Here. How. That. Door: trigger. Squeak: trigger. Outside. Inside. Outside. click click
Click No. click
Wait. Here. point: handle (geometrical distractions) There. slow motion laughter. You: trigger. Go briefly
Have this. Hate that. fork, no spoon. Like that. Yes
Please: trigger. Sweet.
No salty: trigger. You: no.
Carrot Cake, Egg Shell, Cat
I ate a piece of carrot cake in bed on my 30th birthday morning. It was chilly in my room, the cake was chilled from the refrigerator. The cake was relatively moist, the icing cream cheese perfect like I like it. Smooth across my tongue, sweet, but slightly tangy, my grandmother's cake, but not quite as good, like always. I sunk into my blankets and looked to the left at my cat on the floor. Silent, as always. Only the small fan whirring to help me sleep. She is black and white, quite fat, her belly spreads out like melted marshmallows on the carpet when she sinks into the floor, a warm doughy pillow. Imagine being a tiny baby kitten underneath her! How splendid and sleepy. Then, she reaches over with a paw toward my tupperware full of art objects and gently taps an egg shell. One of three nested in the box, she chooses the most intact one to gently press on. Her paw rounds around it, curved as if trying to pick up a newborn chick. It's as if she knows she could crack it, but wants so badly to roll it around on the floor. She pulls back her paw. She stares at it. She cocks her head, her ears turn back. The egg shell won't budge. She won't risk breaking it, I think. I take the last bite of carrot cake, distractedly. She is done with the egg shell and silently pounces onto my bed. She looks at me. She looks at my fork. She begins to knead the blanket on my belly and purrs. A piece of moist cake falls onto the naked part of my neck, rolls, settles, tickles me. She stares at it. A new little toy.
Shame as a portrait: shame looks like a chopped off tongue shoved back in the mouth, you try to close it in, cover it up with your lips, but the bulge is bitter and chokes you. Then you have to spit it out and everyone looks, or at least, you think they do. But really everyone is hiding a tongue or two.
Dirt paths change with wind and wear. Maps must change to accommodate. There are maps on my body that change with wear as well: The wrinkles on my skin, the tiny, shallow lumps on my buttocks, the ever-changing freckle constellations that appear and fade (I am particularly fond of an inch-wide cluster of 20 or so tiny freckles that appeared on my thigh as a teenager).
(When I ask other girls about their freckles they hate them. I love mine. They’re like little worlds embedded in my flesh. Like in Horton Hears a Who, he carries that little dandelion with the speck on it. On the speck is a whole civilized industrial world of little Whos--tiny people with funky Dr. Seuss-style characteristics.) On my moles, the ones with bumps, the very dark, dark chocolate brown ones, I imagine they are mountainous and stormy. Nothing lives on them. But the smooth light brown freckles that lie flush with my paler flesh, they are happier. More inviting. I image tiny creatures would sunbathe on those freckles.
Freckles are marks of cancer, a blemish of death. Uncleansable. Or they are angel kisses, marks of heaven and purity. Once, I attempted to scrape off a raised mole near my belly button. I scraped til it bled. But the next day, as the skin healed, the mole grew back. I did this over and over and still the tiny brown bulb refused to disappear. It stood its ground.
I have found that to fight my flesh is a futile war. I came to like this mole. When it became popular to have belly button piercings, I was proud to say I already had my mark of beauty down there. An added jewel would be gaudy and steal away the mole’s strange allure.
The mole to the right and just below my lips reminds me of Marilyn Monroe’s beauty mark. I can’t remember if she drew it on with makeup or if it was actually a mole. Either way, a mark of beauty, made angelic in all her sick naivety. When I color over my mole with brown eyeliner, it is too much in the mirror. It throws off the balance of my proportions and takes away from my eyes. It becomes the mole of a witch.
To attempt to change the flesh is a futile war. My flesh knows ways I find it hard to accept as truth--it is already beautiful, its instinctual ability to endure and heal and nurture itself over time. My skin is the cloak of a wise sage woman that I wear. It is my choice to listen.
Scars are stuff of myth, too. We can choose to change the story to fit the situation and the listener.
Contorted in front of the mirror, twisting my thigh around, I find a cluster of new freckles. I made a map of all my freckles and moles on pieces of bark with stick pins. My constellations are constantly changing, morphing, fading. New ones pop up out of nowhere and I wonder when was the last time I looked at or touched that patch of my own flesh. How often do I neglect portions of myself? When I look at bark on a tree—the thick kind, on oak trees, like old rough hands—there are sometimes ants trickling up and down the wrinkled paths. I think of my own creases and what will become wrinkles. How much I can control their pathways. At some point, ants really will crawl all over my creases. But by then, I hope my parts will be growing into a tree.
Once a tiny black ant skittered underneath my fingernail and disappeared, as if it had found a secret hole inside me. I was very small and this was very magical. I was afraid at first, turning my hand over and over. It couldn’t have gone in there! Could it? I look back now, and figure, it probably just fell off of my hand, but part of me wants to hold on to the magic part—knowing that its little body will always belong inside of me.
Dream and a Blackened Foot
Last night I dreamed of many things. But the moment that stood out was when I examined my foot and it was black. Not painted or covered in ash, but like black ink had seeped deep into my skin. My foot was hardened and one large callous. Like a sedentary layer marking some long barefoot journey I don’t remember taking. Rock hard, I couldn’t feel when I touched it. Not even a tickle. I began picking at the black and it loosened, began peeling back in chunks. I worked at ripping off the tainted layers. I could not find my pink flesh no matter how deep I dug into my heel. I was not scared though, only curious. What was I morphing into? I don’t remember when I woke up, but whenever I did, the dream remained awake too and kept unfolding in my mind as I brushed my teeth and vacuumed my house. I dug and dug and picked at the dead black dermis, it flaked off in chunks in a little pile on the floor. Eventually, I stopped and realized, I had scraped off my heels clear to the bone. Literally scratched off the flesh that was my feet. No more padding, only an ashy pile of nuggets that resembled hardened glue that you peel off your skin as a kid. So there I sat with no feet, only nubs of bone. It didn’t hurt and I was only still curious. I did not wonder what I would do. I only examined, as if these nubs were not attached to me, and would not affect my mobility. I just sat and wondered with my curious immobility.
Inside a tent of sheets I prayed for my scraggly stuffed toy cat to become real. There were marbles in the cotton neck that sounded like purring when I squeezed it. I would stare into its glassy plastic eyes determined that if I didn’t blink, the kitten would. I prayed for God to make the toy turn into a real cat. I left the room for a while, giving Godtime to do its job. When I crept back to my tent, my stomach and heart fluttered with anticipation. I peered inside and examined my kitten from a distance. But its chest did not rise and fall with breath, its plastic eyes still wide-eyed, and staring. I lost interest in God, and left her there, went outside to play, because there was nothing else I could do.
Once I did find a real tiny kitten stuck between a wooden box and a thick metal fence near an old cabin. Maybe a couple days old, a pathetic, faint meow. I did not see the mother. I did not know whether to free it or not, perhaps it was safer this way. I ended up sticking my hand through the fence and pushed her through, its little head almost too large to fit between the bars. Her ears pinned back and her legs curled up. I crouched down and put my nose to hers. Then I remembered kittens do not open their eyes for days after birth. I could not take her home because my father was allergic. So I left her there, her tiny rib cage heaving in quick expansions and contractions. Her eyes clenched closed. She would have to be patient because there was nothing else I could do.
what if I did this (un “done” performance) and imagined results. Never actually do it. Just imagine results.
3 or more women in a room (no more than 7) spread out in the space equally, filling the space, repeat the following lines each at their own rhythm. Ideally the acoustics allow echo, no microphones. A chair sits empty in the middle of the room.
One: “this is where it happened”
Two:“this is where it will happen”
Three: “this is where it’s happening”
The Fuzzy Blue Pony
Around seven or eight, I stole a small fuzzy blue plastic pony from a fabric store while my mother was checking out. One of those little toys you might get out of a gumball machine. I hated fabric stores because I had to go so often. For years afterwards, I asked God for forgiveness, scrawling page after page in my diary with the fake lock. There were two other sins that I spent years asking forgiveness for as well. The three sins. I must have been 12 or so when I finally confessed to my mother.
For the Person Who Might Come
are your grinding teeth
and tissue might help
this particular matter.
will only speak
why are you sweet
only on the inside?
tastes like a closet
that’s been shut up for years.
with a paralyzed tongue
the heart and lung
lodged like a cramp
not unlike one lost earring
i’m eliminating my body
I am hands and feet and head
I can punch through it
I can walk through trees
i am silver-gold shreds
that means no one can touch me
that means i can do great things
is this not what you have learned?
to be imminent, above all things?
we are held still before tenacious thought
i am unruly desolation now
blink, and i am there
i am eliminating your thought
because i can now
that i am nothing
i give wrists and elbows and ankles and waists and nipples and collarbones
take it all from me
and do something good
if you can
take a body
take a breath from this world
and make it something worth
i am nothing
you are nothing
we are everything
the body only disintegrates
when no one
hiraeth: a homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, a home which maybe never was; the nostalgia, the yearning, the grief for the lost places of your past.
i think about my homes. i think about my beds. i think about burying into my pillows and sinking/eliminating/dispersing myself/folding into myself/bundling myself/scrunching myself into a ball of warm flesh. I think about hiding in closets and turning the lights on and off on and off. The children's books and elementary t-shirts and cheerleader outfits hanging above my head. I think of the dishwasher and its metallic bleach/ammonia smell/ the pepper jelly in the refrigerator that no one eats. I think of that one apartment's weak freezer/ everything is soppy that should be solid/ everything is soppy that should be solid/ everything is soppy that should be solid/ i think of nonnie's mushy cinnamon toast and how it melts down my throat/ i think of the fan above my head and its woosh woosh woosh/ i think of the pillowless cot in the damp gym of the hostel in Amsterdam the worst loneliness i've ever felt/ i always miss pillows/pillows are home/ pillows encase you accept you act like they need you and don't say anything back to you/ i think of my dead dog at my feet/ i think of my cat on my chest hurting my boob/ i think of my mother/ i think of my mother/ it think of my mother/ i stop thinking
Weaving Fragments: Notional Stories on the Screen
an examination of Bound to Remember
Bound to Remember is a compilation of several short video segments I shot in natural settings with organic materials and my flesh. I used materials that drew my eye, like a pearl, string, a small bird bath, as well as a small tree in my yard. I pieced together fragments of video segments and audio snippets of my whispering voice to create an abstract, achronological narrative that is open to interpretation. The video’s flesh and earth textures, light shadows, green and brown color scheme, and presence of nature along with key words like “climbing trees” and “dug holes” infer the story’s setting: children playing in a grassy yard on an early afternoon. The natural materials I feel speak to biological processes like growing, which relates to the childhood experiences to which the audio alludes.
The audio is my voice speaking in a soft, timid, near childlike manner, as if I am telling secrets. I tell of past events that insinuate the spanning of time from youth to young adulthood, from digging in the yard and climbing trees to early experience of lust and a boy. The short phrases suggest a childlike play that oscillates between innocence and guilt or a subtle desperation. The narrative is not incomplete, but fractured. No sentence is finished (refer to script). I aim to leave gaps open to interpretation. I feel the viewer will likely not know any more information in the end than in the beginning; but this is not important. Rather, she or he is left with a feeling, an atmospheric mood. The overlapping frames an hazy translucence of the layers adds to the ethereal, dream like aesthetic, as if the viewer can see inside the speaker’s mind, what she is remembering as she tells her story. I see this piece as a visual and aural representation of memory. Images surface and sink on their own accord, drawing new associations with the remembered events.
The psyche constantly churns through these memories, creating new story lines. I repeat certain video segments multiple times throughout the piece in order to evoke a circular cohesiveness. My biting my finger, string spinning around my naked torso, water sinking in a jar of mud all reemerge in a rhythmic pattern, each time suggesting different meanings in conjunction with the different coinciding spoken words. By dismissing the linearality one finds in a storybook, the narrative could theoretically have no ending or beginning since the words are so ambiguous. But it is in this ambiguity that one may make her own sense of it. The placement of words before or after one another suggests different happenings. Each phrase can be a childlike utterance or have a darker meaning, questioning the age of the speaker and the genre or nature of this story. For example, “It only happened once/ I buried it in the yard.” The viewer may ask, “What only happened once? What did she bury in the yard?” It is here that the viewer can fill the gaps with his or her own answers, personalizing the narrative.
Though the narrative is interpretable, the corresponding images and words follow a loose emotional pathway. The verbs I speak, indicating the actions that happened, suggest a lightheartedness. One can imagine a child digging holes, making mud pies, building a fairy tale on a square patch of grass. But the words also suggest an attempt to break out of or twist out of something: “push, climb, turn, escape”. I speak, “I felt light…” and her feet appear on the screen wobbling as the person stands on a tree branch. The viewer cannot see anything but her feet, so it is left to the imagination whether she is playing in a tree, as she speaks of earlier in the piece, or if the person is, perhaps, considering a suicidal jump, reaching towards and circling back from the “escape” she mentions later.
As I say, “I felt so naked in front of them,” my hands lose their tight grip on a tree branch and slip off screen, leaving the viewer to imagine the consequences. The words suggest shame, being exposed. Coupled with the tense holding on of my hands, this fusion lends towards a desperate plea or failed attempt. Whereas if the audio wasn’t there, or a different phrase was spoken, the image could suggest something entirely different. I enjoy this way of telling because it allows the character to communicate with the audience, but asks them to meet her half way, as if together, they create the reality of the piece. The piece becomes their secret as well as the character’s. While she could be burying evidence of a crime, the viewer may be burying a dead pet mouse. Or vice versa. In this way, I hope the piece allows a dialogue to open up between the piece and the viewer. As the viewer asks questions and answers them, the piece poses new questions to be answered.
I enjoy how the spoken words each have dual meanings, both childlike and foreboding at the same time. This adds to the complexity of the narrative, and we are no longer able to discern her age.
“I felt like it was an escape somehow / We had so much fun”
What is the viewer’s escape is not hers, but is equally as valid. I like this way of story telling because it is not so much of a telling, but as an offering.
I hope the images are pretty on a hypnotic, curious level, inducing a visual hapticism. As the bleeding images fold into each other, I show contact between flesh and materials like string rubbing across my belly and arm and my feet pressing into tree bark. I want the sensual feeling to speak to the viewer as much as the audio. The underlying layer of incomprehensible whispering I included in order to add to the secretive, intimate aura. The knotted string wrapped around my feet and torso, along with the strings that cross each other between fade-ins and fade-outs, feed the circular, tangled sense of uncertainty as to what is actually happening. String conjures the ideas of mending and connection, like weaving something together, which is in a sense what the piece does. It gathers pieces of scattered images and spoken words and ties them together in a way that at once makes a sort of sense, and remains loose enough to adapt to the viewer’s experience.
While each puzzle piece may not necessarily have anything to do with each other, when assembled, they begin to relate to each other. In a sense, the words tie themselves together. For instance: “I got my hands really dirty a lot” suggests a child telling how she gets messy when she plays in the dirt or with paint. But pair this phrase with “It only happened once” and one might get a foreboding feeling that something bad happened. “I buried it in the yard” again speaks to a child hiding treasure in a garden, or something far more ominous. This organic relationship between the phrases is what animates the piece. The phrases can shift between each other, dance around and share words, while harboring translucent implication.
As opposed to full opacity images that follow a chronological order, Bound to Remember calls for this organic layering of image and audio. The piece aims to be visually and aurally visceral. Close shots suggest an intimacy, but an indefinable nature, as well, since the viewer can’t always identify what is happening or who the unidentified person is. The irony lies in that the more magnified the lens, the less the viewer sees or perceives. Throughout the entirety, the viewer sees a string slowly rolling across a belly, crossing freckles and creating red blotches on my flesh. It might take him or her seeing this for a whole minute before the image becomes clear, if it does. The body’s nudity gives a rawness to the piece that parallels the intimate sharing of secretive experiences. If she were wearing clothes, it would only take away from her vulnerable exposure contributed to by the haptic contact of thread against skin, and the grainy blurring colors rubbing up against and smearing against the screen. Allowing the pearl to linger on the screen at the end gives the viewer a chance to soak in the essence for a little longer, letting his or her interpretation settle. The extra length at the end flows with the pace of the piece, as throughout, the segments slowly melt into each other.
Video Dialogue: from "Bound to Remember"
It only happened once.
I buried it in the yard
So they wouldn’t think that
And we just spun around so many times
And it was so fun
And I pushed so hard
I could feel myself sinking
It was blurry and soft
I felt light
And we used to climb so high
And the way that he looked at me
I felt so naked in front of them
Around and around and around…
And finally I just poured it all out.
I never said anything about it
It dripped… dripped..
And I watched it
And I don’t think that
I felt like it was an escape somehow
We had so much fun it was like
And we climbed the trees and we never looked down
I wanted to so badly though
I got my hands really dirty a lot
I liked the feeling of…
And then we….
I just kept looking for it
And it wasn’t anywhere
I thought I’d lost
We dug holes, so many holes
I couldn’t go back
I didn’t want to
I lost it
I lost it
But then, but then…
Jesus, Lover Of: dialogue for a live performance
Woman with child voice and her adult voice
Stack of playing cards next to a container of Clorox wipes and a bowl of mud. Enter wearing a dress with panties beneath, singing (adult voice):
Jesus, lover of my soul
Jesus, I will never you go
(Pause. Standing in center of stage)
(Singing) Jesus, lover of my…soul
(Speak) But I want him to love my body. I believe Jesus would have been the perfect lover.
(Left hand slaps left facial cheek)
Once, at my church, I did this interventional prayer sort of thing. They asked me to close my eyes and imagine Jesus. What he looked like. Where he was. How he was looking at me. So, I closed my eyes. I saw him. He was on a beach. It was night. The water was dark. Kind of terrifying. But he had these hands, reaching towards me.
(Hold hands out palms up)
He was this…
He was this Renaissance guy
Like he came form the sky
He was this man of a man
He liked to work with his hands
He loved little kids
And cute baby lambs.
(Speaking) I told them my truth. Especially about the hands.
(Left hand slaps face)
The way he touches me
Like a father rocking me to sleep
Or the tide coming in
Or a convulsive weep
Or yes, even the rhythm of sex
(Left hand slaps face)
The rhythm of…
(Left hand slaps face)
(Deep gasp, looking up, slowly hold nose with left hand)
(Child voice) I don’t wanna go in the water. They’re gonna dunk me under. But they tell me to tell Jesus all the bad things I do.
(Step with one toe as if into water, slowly lie down still holding nose. Grab cards. Stand up. Normal voice. Read several cards with ‘sins’ written on them.)
All the things I’ve never told him.
(Apathetic, stoic. Let cards fall to feet)
If you repeat something enough times, the meaning fades away. It becomes all about the natural rhythm…
(Left hand begins to slap face. Stops)
We begin as baby. We make babies. We end as a baby. (Tearing dress down center from neck to hem. Tearing of veil after Jesus rises from dead. On knees, feed self with both hands handfuls of soupy mud until gone. Let dribble down right side of mouth. Stand) Death, feeding baby, blood, vaginal fluid, Jesus drinking human sins, martyrdom of motherhood?
They say come to Jesus as you are. Come to him as you are.
(Hymn begins to play. Hop off stage and dance into audience, greet them, left hand touching foreheads. Song ends abruptly. Walk back on stage by stairs. Begin trying to wipe off mud stains)
Sometimes I wonder how he’d hold me. If we had babies, what they’d be like.
We’d drink wine and eat good breads. Live off the land in a giant canopy tree house. We’d have books, lots of books and he’d teach me, teach me…
(Child voice) All about heaven. When you tell Jesus, he forgets all your sins.
(Repeat sins until exhausted, voice morphing into adult voice)
On the beach. We’re on the beach and he’s begging me to come with him in the dark water because you only live once down here. I’m terrified.
I don’t say this next part in the pray intervention thing. But I finally follow him in the water. He dunks us both beneath the surface and holds me with those hands. (Slowing, as if melting or falling asleep, rhythmic) His face begins to fade. The water begins to fade. My body begins to fade. It’s not terrifying anymore because I can still feel his hands. I wanted to stay in the water. So I did.
(Deep gasp. Hold breath as long as possible.)
(Right arm pulls limp left arm into a cradling position, as if holding a baby. Begins rocking arm like a mother).
(Walk into dark slowly rocking baby) Into audience?
Cards signify: chance
Clorox: I can’t really clean myself
* * * (extended)* * *
Performance Action Script:
WOUNDS AND THINGS THAT BELONG IN WOMBS
On the floor: a table with three chairs and bathtub or basin that I can fit in. A fur coat lies over one of the chairs. On the table: Three wine glasses, a fish bowl, a bowl of burgundy paint, feathers, a watering pale full of black ink or oil, a potted flower, gold and silver bracelets, a bowl of berries, and a piece of cake. There is music playing, a wintery violin melody. The audience is near me, close enough to see what the objects are on the table.
LA: In a long black dress. Enter carrying rusty old red lantern, maybe with fire in it. Set it on the floor.
LA: Paint feet with burgundy paint with feathers.
LA: Get in the tub of water and wash face, letting red feet dangle out of the tub, then step out very wet and dripping. IS MY FACE VERY POWDERY WHITE?
LA: Water the flowers with a pail full of black ink or oil or dark watery paint. Stand still.
JG: Enters, wearing a long black gown, as well.
LA/JG: Stomp and thrash bodies around for 45 seconds and thenkiss each other on the forehead back and forth for 30 seconds, tenderly, never on the lips.
JG: Hands LA a knife and a large shovel. Walks away and LA stands there.
LA: Licks the knife slowly, and sticks it in the flower pot. Stirs the tub of water with the shovel and leaves the shovel in the tub.
LA: Puts on the fur coat and slowly smashes berries on forehead, her hand slowly comes towards her head as if sad or weary. The juice drips down her face.
LA: Try to lick it off, pacing the stage, but likely cannot reach the juice with tongue.
LM: A woman comes to me. She is wearing a long skirt, nude torso.
LA: Pulls a long piece of red yarn from LM’s mouth and puts it in her own mouth. Lead LM to the tub, holding her head.f
LM: She gets in the tub, letting her feet dangle out of the side, like LA did in the beginning. She stirs the water around her with the shovel,.
LA: Simultaneously, paint LM’s feet with burgundy paint.
JG: Walks on stage, picks up lantern, puts it on table. Exits stage.
LA: Tears a hole in dress with teeth near breast.
LA: Sits in a chair and pull the yarn out of mouth. Pulls the flowers out of the flower pot and ties the yarn to the stems. Holds the yarn in mouth and twirls around, letting the flowers spin around her.
LM: After a few spins, tries to grab the flowers and drops them in the tub.
LA: Puts many bracelets around one arm. So much that elbow cannot bend. Sits in the chair and tries to feed self the cake with the wrapped hand. This will make a crumbly mess.
LA: Puts the fish bowl on the ground andsits on it, covering it with skirt. Urinate in it and pour it into wine glasses and serve a table of no guests. Sit for a while waiting on no one.
LM: begins slowly stirring tub water with shovel again.
JG: Comes out but does not sit down. We just stare at each other. Sweeps up any cake that fell on the floor and sprinkles it in the bathtub. Leaves stage.
LA: Grabs the side of mouth with hand, pulling it like she’s stretching out her mouth. Hand is fighting with her face.
JG: Enters, crouching near the tub, does the same face fight.
LM: The woman rises from the tub, gets the fish bowl and pours all the urine into the tub. She leaves the stage.
JG: Leaves the stage.
LA: I let the fur coat slowly slump off of me and fall on the floor. I pick it up and throw it into the tub.
LA: I reveal a breast and smear a circle of berry juice around my nipple. I try to lick my nipple, grabbing and trying to pull my breast to my mouth.
LA: I pull the knife out of the flower pot and delicately, elegantly, scrape my feet with the dagger, trying to scrape off the paint. I toss the knife in the tub.
LM: The woman appears again. She washes my face with the tub water. She licks the juice off my breast.
LA: Gently, like a mother. I cradle her head and lead her to a chair. I sit her in the chair and push her head down and wrap her arms around her body, like she is a moldable doll.
LM: Expressionless. The woman looks at me during the whole action below…
LA: quickly, brashly, I take everything table off the table, except fish bowl, and toss it in the tub, I lie on the table. I let one arm flop off the table like I’m dead, then a leg, then my whole body falls on the floor. I do it again.
LM/JG: Third time I am on the floor, the woman and man carry me and put me into the tub, my legs dangling out of it, same positional as before.
LM/JG: They stomp around wildly for 30 seconds, then slowly embrace (same as LA/JG before).
JG: Man leaves stage.
LM: Returns to LA and takes off LA’s dress and puts it in fishPUTS IT ON?), sticks it in the fish bowl. Picks up the lantern; leaves stage.
All items are in tub with me. Stage left bare with table, chair, and tub. Fish bowl on table with dress in it.
“LM always exits left; JG always exits right
Question: What does all this interior explorations (how do I respond? etc.) have to do with other people? Why would they care? Show the findings, present the findings, they can take from it...the opportunity to re look at their own logics.?
Directed Reading Project: Synesthesia and Performance, map of the initial process:
- I want to investigate the relationship between color and emotion/sensation through the lens of historical color theories, concepts and ideologies. I will document my findings with my own creative interpretations via performance, sound, video and visual representations. I will also create an annotated bibliography that documents my rationale and functions as a kind of artist statement explaining my work.
- Possible Movements: Fauvism, Expressionism
- The name, Les Fauves was actually first used as a derogatory remark about their work by French art critic Louis Vauxcelles. Les Fauves actually means “wild beasts”—it referred to Matisse and the others’ choice of colors, indicating that their work was savage and primitive. “A pot of paint that has been flung in the face of the public,” said Camille Mauclair, another critic.
- I want to look at this ‘savage and primitive’ nature of color use as a different sort of language that expresses emotion. How does it work? (Repetitive brush strokes, thick black lines, rough, quick, brash strokes, unfinished look)
- Maybe look at Expressionism, which focuses on dismissing recognizable subjects and relies on form and color to communicate meaning.
- Possible Specific Investigations
- How does one define colors’ qualities in relation to emotion and sensation?
- Specific artists’ writings
- Scientific findings from chromoaccoustics and/ or synesthesia
- Can colors be stripped of descriptive qualities and redefined?
- create narratives surrounding colors
- when i was young green meant grass, now it means money. tell the story between.
- create narratives surrounding colors
- I can relate the relations between emotion/sensation and color to hapticism, as a quality I am already exploring in my practice
- the touch of skin, a peach, the taste of pie, add these all together in a perfume, or use as materials in a video...
- How does one define colors’ qualities in relation to emotion and sensation?
- Brainstorming Creative Projects:
- How do I physically interpret and/or embody colors?
- Develop a taxonomy or semiotics of colors, (maps, charts)
- Develop my own ‘vocal wheel’ (like a color wheel) that translates color into sounds or gestures or images.
cezanne==patches of reality. how do they fit together?
patches of shadows of fluttering leaves. take the pattern and the movement of shade...
- interpret quivering blades of grass with violin
-in order to figure out what the sound really is, let many people listen and write down what it makes them think of or feel...then tally everything up.
... material action promises the direct pleasures of the table. Material action satiates. Far more important than baking bread is the urge to take dough-beating to the extreme.
- ^ Brus Mühl Nitsch Schwarzkogler. Writings of the Viennese Actionsts London, Atlas Press, 1999. Malcolm Green, ed.
- ^ a b c Malcolm Green
what is a flutter? a shudder of the body.
bound by light
shudder across the stage.
soft pricks light bends
bend across the stage
a patch of grass and a blue crayon. smell of cinammon
a square of carpetand a swatch of red and the smell of dirt
a piece of bark and bleach and gray
a piece of glass and egg and pink
a piece of smooth plastic and garlic and green
a dish of water and the smell of incense and purple
a dish of dirt the smell of a woman’s perfume and black
a swatch of cotton and the smell of fish and white
a swatch of denim the smell of peanut butter and orange
a strip of metal the smell of must and navy blue
the taste of salt
the taste of wine
the taste of banana
the taste of metal
when i enter the space, i will sit down and sprawl out, feel the grass with my face and rub my cheek over the grass, it will be cold hopefully, i will be wearing a white flowing dress, i will rub my body hard on the ground to stain the dress with green marks and streaks. i will take a bite of grass and chew it. i will spit it out. it probably won’t taste good, i will wipe my tongue on my white dress until the taste is gone. i will dig a hole with my left hand. the hole will be deep enough to stick my fist inside. I will stick my left fist inside and fill the hole with dirt with my right hand like I am filling a hole with a new tree in it. I will lay down on the ground in as comfortable position as I can with my fish stuck in this hole. I will do this until something happens to stop the process.
a task driven piece: nail a thousand nails in a tree in a pretty pattern around the trunk.
dissect a dead squirrel or bird (whatever I can find as roadkill) and put small pieces of meat in tiny jewelry boxes decorated with glitter and ribbons.
Take pieces of the road kill and sew it back together. in a mismatched fashion.
HAND MOVEMENTS WITH COLOR:
RED- hold hand out and flex as hard as possible until your hand shakes
YELLOW- make a cup and scoop back and forth
ORANGE-fold your pinky finger, ring finger and middle finger at the second knuckle
PINK- wiggle your index finger at the top knuckle. other fingers are in a fist
BLUE- make a circle with thumb and fingers, slowly open and close the circle about an inch.
I am collecting data for a project-in-the-works exploring relationship between color symbolism and emotion. If you have a few minutes, I would greatly appreciate your feedback. This is a voluntary. All info will remain anonymous and confidential.
When you think of these colors, what do you immediately feel or associate with it?
Green, blue, yellow, red, orange, purple, white, black, brown
In my annotated bibliography, I will mark the notes that stick out to me, and let these notes shape the project. I will write this up front. As a sort of experiment. Watching the path unfold.
Is there a beginning core idea? Synesthesia in symbolism, messing with awareness to make a new awareness, or discover existing, underlying repressed awarenesses. How do these awarenesses present themselves in famous paintings? Or if not looking at famous paintings, how do these awarenesses manifest in historical performance art….where do I find flickers of this in writings?
Essentially, letting these underlying paths “texturescapes” “soundscapes” formulate a performative work.
WHAT IS MY CENTRAL QUESTION???? DRIFTING, WANDERING, AWARENESS, SENSES’ LOGIC. –EMOTIONAL ASPECT, SCIENTIFIC ASPECT…
red. blood, of course mine, mine, yours maybe, koolaid and carpet, being a child, stains, stained rich warm and red. cheap plastic flowers. grandmother’s house, which takes me to pink....
pink. blush my cheeks, baby cheeks, flush, lipstick wrong color awful shirt color, hot pink high school, also flowers dying flowers awful color which takes me to brown...
dirt sand dog fur. mmm deep dirty brown. poop of course, but nutrition and density, deep dark earth, the root brown warm brown heat brown hair boring, my dog, the earth and all of death passes through brown which takes me to gray...
gray chalk gray asphalt gray the boy from school, gray day, cloud thunder rattle my bones old dead bones the dogs in the backyard probably gray the one crayon that no one uses which takes me to white...
white also never used as a Crayon, but heavenly cream cheese, halo ice ccream, pure white snow, snow white and seven dwarves, angel skin ivory porcelain doll or china, white makeup masks ivory keys playing with masks, nothingness which takes me to black...
black is also nothing, but dense, a colder nothing than white. darker and cooler, down depths, black curtains to sleep well, black soul, sheep, night, man, bird, crow, oil, coal, thick, sludge, nothing edible is black, but fruit like bananas, the one in my fridge, turned black which takes me to yellow...
yellow gross, sick, too bright sun sun always kindergarten sun color. laffy taffy the banana kind the sickly icky sweetness of yellow dye. yellow, hello, oohhhh, chicks baby chick and ducklings easter all things easter and new and baby. most babies sick babies come out yellow mixed in placenta when they can’t breathe they turn blue which turns me to...
blue. sky, birds, bye, birds, ocean tide, oceans wide, berries, very blue blue, mouth full of the word, fills up your cheeks with ‘bl bl bl’ sounds juicy and bulbous the word blue. sad sometimes i am blue. you too? i good sharing word. an empathetic word is blue. Now That Is a Revelation!
BLUE IS EMPATHIC
Green, all new, everything wet and new, not like a new baby but like wet grass, cold wet grass. sometimes algae moss ocean, eyes with envy jealous of princess the mean one wears green thumbs green and tender, vegetables healthy steamed or fresh you need all colors like yellow, red, green, which leads me to....
orange, nasty. pumpkins and spices and warm, but nasty. fall time holidays autumn memories of footballs and broken bones and pies but nasty. fake cheese in macaroni. orange drink, fake dye. orange juice, pulp, of the orange, rind, bitter orange rind, leaves turning orange, they’re on their way a very absurd color, it’s silly it’s clownish, it’s the entertainment for the queen, which takes me to purple...
purple is royal is velvet. is antioxident and Dymatap, the kid medicine you want to drink so you say you don’t feel good purple juice, grape juice, purple is satisfying and comfortable, like a velvet hammock beneath a starry sky also made of velvet.
When I smothered pink frosting on my belly, I was reveling, I was proclaiming. When I slid my nude body over concrete structures on the concert hall entrance, leaving red marks on my skin and reading from the Bible, I was pressing into the sharp teeth of my religious upbringing, I was smearing my guilty, dirty bleeding self on the white walls that bear the inscription of what a young lady from Oklahoma should be. When I am naked by myself in front of a mirror, I pose and suck in my stomach and clench my buttocks and make pouty model faces.
When I am naked in front of a crowd, it’s like, come on, touch me with your eyes, see if I flinch. I do not clench my muscles because I am not nervous. I am built of steel but still bleed. And I like to bleed. I’ll give you my blood in jars if you want it. I know I can take it. Maybe you want to use it in a magic potion, maybe you want to drink it. Maybe you want to pour it down a drain, I don’t care.
I am performing when I am on the defense and when I am coy. I perform when I am a vicious and when when I nurture. I am a performer of the sly, on the verge of manipulative, and I perform when I yearn. Latin for “perform” is fungor, fungi, functus and defined as “to occupy oneself...”. I am a fungus, primordial nutrition, feeding myself constantly. But a fungus can be poisonous, perhaps “to oneself”. To perform, I have learned, is no different.
Skin and Thread-reflection on the performance: Tips
I thread multi-colored strands of thread through the callouses on my toes and the pads of my feet. I did this as a kid, when I had lots of callouses from swinging on the monkey bars. I enjoy the puncture of membrane, the translucency of my skin. I can see a blurry metal line passing beneath my flimsy layers, as if barely beneath the surface of an iceberg. When theneedle poked through my skin and resurface. I pulled the thread through the microscopic tunnel. I can feel it, almost a tickle that makes me squirm a little.
The needle punctures a boundary (my skin), in a new vulnerability, I am open to expansion, addition, the framework of my body has begun to evolve. Is my body injured, broken?
When the pin enters the first few layers of flesh, it becomes evident that these layers are clear, as are all the layers when pulled away from the muscle, when dying. I imagine sheets of music nested between each layer of dead epidermis. Peel back my layers and play the music. When we get to the bone, I desire a standing ovation.