Sunday, May 25, 2014

Ne vouz faites pas de souci

I am obsessed with the artist Sophie Calle. I was first exposed to her in an exhibition at Mass MOCA in 1999 and I have been hungry for more ever since.  That exhibition included photographs and diary entries from a stint where she pursued a monochromatic diet (i.e. she ate only pink food for a week, followed by only white food…), photographs and writing from a stint as a maid in a Paris hotel (primarily of the personal effects she encountered in the rooms she ‘cleaned’), and photographs and writing collected by a private investigator who Calle had entreated her mother to hire to follow Calle.  Other work I’ve been fascinated by since then includes a late 1980s phone booth installation in lower Manhattan where she offered snacks, pillows, dimes, and positive aphorisms for passersby looking for some TLC and/or connection.  
On Friday I visited the Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest uptown forher latest exhibition, “Rachel, Monique,” which is inspired by the loss of her mother. The exhibit presents a variety of elements; photos, audio, diary entries, and a video: Couldn’t Capture Death. On this video, you see the last chest expansion, and then, several minutes later the rituals of letting go: stunned stillness, checking for pulse and breath, tender kisses on the cheek, ultimately – one version of the spiritually ineffable.

Ever since I was first exposed to Calle – I felt a deep artistic kinship with her. We are both insatiably curious about strangers’ private lives, and especially the clues people’s personal effects tell us about them.  Like Calle, I prefer an immersive installation experience in my art, rather than a traditional ‘framing.’ I am also interested in excavating the deepest depths of my and my collaborators’ personal lives and psyches for public consumption.  I am influenced by her playfulness and sense of humor, as well as her willingness to probe and confront the most challenging feelings and concepts through art.  

Monday, February 3, 2014

detroit and america

Dina just sent me this article because we've been talking about the play Detroit, by Lisa D'Amour... I'm so glad she did. It's a long piece but so moving and so important. And it has great pictures.

I have some people from Michigan, from Saginaw and Flint. And one of my best friends is from Detroit. And I loved the book Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. So, I'm really interested in Detroit. Also because it is potent. It is a real place that is also a reflection of empty promises and corruption and really terrible thinking. 

The article also reminded me of the fascinating recent profile of Theaster Gates in the New Yorker.  I'm so happy these people exist in the world and they're at it every day doing their good work.

I'm also really glad I wanted to hyperlink Lisa's name. It made me do a little internet-stalking and I learned more about Lisa from her website. I knew I really liked her world view and way with language and all that from reading (and seeing the production of) Detroit. Now I know we are also very kindred. She recently did an installation called Nest that was part environmental installation, part devised theater piece, part social inquiry. I also have my Nest... that endeavored to engage similarly.  And she wrote and directed a theater piece called "Swimming Cities of the Switchback Sea" for Swoon's moving installation of homemade barges a few years back. I love Swoon and that project especially. I wish I could have seen the show.
Ahh, theater... ephemeral as neighborhoods.