Monday, December 31, 2007
So that will be my new 2008 planner; I just finished writing in all the dates, birthdays, full moons, and dates for the new mail art project that Ching-In and I will collaborate on for the entire year. I have one more box to make before I make some new books, and got my contracts back from a new collection in Portland. Cindy flies back from Sweden today! She should be landing in about 20 minutes. So, time to get a move on that box...
Thursday, December 27, 2007
When I first designed it, I knew what text and images I would be using, and its size (big). I was unsure about adding a third layer, to sound an emotive voice, something less clinical. In the end, I left the page blank, since that was part of the emotion. In Wyoming, one of the artists talked to me after my first slide lecture and said she thought that I was too distant, too removed, and recommended giving more to push my work closer to the audience. That I talk about such serious events but give people no way in.
I think this is a symptom of cold heart, which Ching-In and I discussed a week. I never thought I'd end up this way, but I think I have it. I mean, it's not totally frozen over, but I am well on my way if that's my goal. She was funny, b/c she said, "I want it! Then you can't get hurt!" Oh, no. This has been my project for the past how many years? You still get hurt, but usually by your own hand. I made all those freaking bricks to explain that and now they're still haunting me b/c soon they will be arriving on my doorstep with no place to go.
Anyhow, all that to say: I think I'm keeping the first version of this book for a little while longer. For all its perceived flaws, it works (and so the cycle refreshes: the book as me, me as my mom).
Friday, December 21, 2007
So I yelled across to Susan and we chatted as well as we could with two train tracks between us. Hilarious. Hopefully I'll see her once we get a hold of each other like normal people via email or phone.
This is from my VT sketchbook. Feels like five thousand years ago. Ching-in, the other night, said, "can you believe it's been almost a year since we met, and that soon it will be January and we won't be in Vermont??" I'm feel overwhelmed by everything I have to do, and just want a studio. I need a studio so badly. I feel crazy not being able to do anything while cutting things on the floor and making tiny wisps of papery things b/c there is no space for anything more.
I've been reading Robert Coles' The Call of Stories: Teaching and the Moral Imagination, after finishing Ann Patchett's Truth and Beauty. I've been thinking about the ways that I choose to participate in the world, and how being an artist is one of them, but wondering how much responsibility I am taking or not taking, and how do people grow up with a sense of caring about other people? Kids seem kind of concerned about endangered species or littering or other socially responsible things, but adults seem to tune out everything but what they want to care about. How does that shift? Why don't we care anymore about working together to make the world a better place? Why are we so selfish and small minded? Why can't I get myself to write a new artist statement?
Likely, I just feel crazy b/c I trimmed 58 books w/an xacto knife, and then folded and cut 116 endsheets (some by hand, some on the board shears), and then cut down 125 pieces of board. Or b/c I am staring at 80 responses from a performance I did three years ago and wondering what I'm supposed to do with them. Or b/c it is the darkest night of the year.
Who knows! So I'm ending with someone else's words, through Ann Patchett's book. It's about her friendship w/Lucy Grealy, and there are lots of Lucy's letters interspersed throughout. This is part of one of them:
I have been musing some more about what I've said in this letter. My whole concept of art has taken a serious shaking, and I am beginning to see what I can get from this, which has something to do with a better understanding of. . . .christ, I don't know. I did know for a minute there but then I had a coughing fit and now I've forgotten. That is one thing I've learned, that it is possible to really understand things at certain points, and not be able to retain them, to be in utter confusion just a short while later. I used to think that once you really knew a thing, its truth would shine on forever. Now it's pretty obvious to me that more often than not the batteries fade, and sometimes what you knew even goes out with a bang when you try and call on it, just like a lightbulb cracking off when you throw the switch.
Friday, December 14, 2007
Being an artist's assistant, it's funny business sometimes. I mean, between all the hard work. It was funny having our little chat together and the bigwig artists having their little chat together. That was a nice way to break up a Friday.
Sunday, December 09, 2007
It made me realize how great that residency was b/c it really did take me completely out of all of my comfort zones, into a place I probably will never be again.
Saturday, December 08, 2007
PARADISE AND ITS DIS-EASE
A Live Art Installation by jill sigman/thinkdance
PARADISE AND ITS DIS-EASE is a durational performance ritual using movement, sound, objects, and fluorescent junk foods. For 4 hours, Sigman will be "in the ring", as object, icon, mover, and substance; each hour will begin a new phase of the installation, addressing the decadence, deterioration, and dis-ease of our time in a different way. She will be accompanied alternately by DJ Joro Boro and composer/musicians Kristin Norderval (voice and electronics) and Gustavo Aguilar (percussion), and assisted by performative helpers Donna Costello and Jennifer Sydor. A live art installation, PARADISE AND ITS DIS-EASE is a hybrid gallery/performance/club environment. Join us for this experiment.
Saturday, DECEMBER 8, 8pm - 12am
FREE FREE FREE
1 Grattan Street (corner of Bogart Street), #221
Complimentary Wine: Courtesy of Dance NYC
PLEASE NOTE: This is an ONGOING LIVE EVENT that changes slowly over time. Come any time. Stay as long as you like. Have a drink and hang out. Better yet, leave and come back again to witness it at different points during the evening. You can go across the street to The ARCHIVE Coffee Bar for a snack, or wander down the hall to Studio #215 to see PERMANENT PRESENT, a group show of visual art works by artists Gina Beavers, Marilyn Dizikes, Christopher Hines, James Reynolds, Justin Rymer, and Stephanie Rivers. Then come back and visit again.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Clover sent along this AMAZING article about our mutual friend, Julie Laffin. I was astounded by how well someone with no experience of chemical injury could write about Julie's experience. It's a great read, eye opening and compassionate and wonderfully articulate.
Something from Kimsooja that I found while cleaning out bookmarks (I'm switching browsers and trying out Camino):
Although the nomadic lifestyle is a characteristic phenomena of this era, I could also be one's choice we can still live without moving around much and be rooted in one's own place. Human curiosity and the desire for communication expands its physical dimension and happen to control human relationships and the desire of possessions, and pursuing the establishment of a global community, which includes the virtual world. But a true nomadic life wouldn’t need many possessions, or control and it doesn't need to conquer any territory it's rather an opposite way of living from a contemporary lifestyle, with the least amount of possessions, no fear of disconnection, and being free from the desire of establishment. It is a lifestyle that is a witness of nature and life, as a kind of a process of a pilgrim. Nomadism in contemporary society seems to be motivated from the restless desire of human beings and it's follies, rather than pursuing true meaning from nomadic life.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Monday, December 03, 2007
I'm mailing these books out to a new library collection: it's all for you. I'm always looking for new places to house my small books. I can't tell if it's a good impulse or just part of my own hatred of having a lot of stuff in my possession. The woman in charge of one of the reputable collections that I'm in told me never to get rid of my one-of-a-kind books. But I can't stop! Better in someone else's closet than mine, is my motto. And besides, if you're in Portland, you can see books that you might not be able to see if you were not in my home.
Friday, November 30, 2007
Tonight: Josh and Lynn, the poets I met this week in Brooklyn, are reading at 7pm at Pete's Candy Store.
This weekend: Tonight and tomorrow, at Danspace Project, Rebecca will be performing for Movement Research's FALL Festival.
In the meantime, I'm working on a new press kit (to encompass all of my work, not just my books) and drawing comics. And have a surprisingly pleasant social load in town over the next two days. Happy almost December!
Thursday, November 29, 2007
It makes me (almost) want to pick up my fiddle again just to build up the skin. But that takes a long time. In the meantime, I still have violinist friends that I can live through vicariously. When I saw Kiwon this week, she talked about how she had to go to Philly because she had five open seams. For a moment, I was stumped. And then I realized we were talking about her instrument. When temperature/humidity shifts, wood instruments expand/contract, and often parts will pull away from each other, causing gaps at the seams. You can hear open seams if you hold the neck of the violin and knock lightly all along the perimeter of the instrument. Wherever you get a different sound, you know you have an opening. So you have to go to the shop and get it glued and clamped back together since it affects the sound of the instrument when you play. I haven't taken mine in for a tune up for years, not since halfway through living in Chicago.
Hopefully I get to take care of my own seams in December, figuring out what will happen in the spring, seeing more art, and getting into shape. Or maybe I'll sit around like my violin in the closet. Here's to the first option. Oh, and Jennifer in upstate NY got my knit plastic bag panel; an image is up on her website (scroll all the way down). And, I finally read for colored girls... on the train late last night. I still remember helping my painting teacher prep sets for that production at Oberlin almost 10 years ago. Someday, I'll do sets, too.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
To accompany this crop from an old photo of mom, "Hey Mama" is on.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Though it wasn't the best thing I've read on a Sunday, I appreciated Julia Alvarez's Once Upon a Quinceanera. It made me think that I could have used a good ritual for my birthday.
Check out Jami's fun contest for a free copy of her new book, The Kept Man. I'll do my part once the sun comes up.
I was going over my notes from prepping my Oberlin lecture, and found things that I never said in the lecture: "as soon as you figure it out, it will shift/change." And on my "to do" list for being an artist, the bottom of it said, "Read; Sleep; Eat well; Have fun."
The most exciting tidbit: recently, I've wanted to have my diploma. I did graduate over a year and a half ago, so it's not an unreasonable desire. I emailed someone at Columbia, who forwarded it to someone else, who then emailed me and tried to make me out to be the culprit, saying that they had no current address and phone number for me. This person gets emails from me regularly. Apparently, it has been sitting in that office since July 2006. I didn't say, "I filled out at least five change of address forms!!" or, "Do you know me?? I'm AIMEE. Aimee always fills out the forms, and ahead of time." And believe you me, this person knows me.
I'm sad to say I don't hold the record, since a friend who went through the program years ago waited three years for his diploma. But maybe when I finally get it, I'll feel like I've accomplished something! Maybe this is what my advisor meant when she said that it takes at least two years to feel like you're really out of grad school! [Hahahaa. Just kidding, Melissa. I don't think you're part of this ridiculousness at all. But it would be a good way to really drive that point home.]
Monday, November 26, 2007
Anyhow, I'm back to yucky nitty gritty work (as in, the computer is turned on again), and got a lecture from little sis today about how I seem to just be waiting for things and marking time. She says that I have to be more proactive and make investments in things even if they seem to not yield a whole lot, which to her means 1. rent a studio space and 2. send stuff to galleries. The first thing makes a lot of sense. The second thing rates up there with eating insects. I understand it, but I am still not convinced that I would thrive in the gallery system.
Right now, I'm going to just work on teaching proposals. It's always nice to evade work with other work.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
I like cutting them up in the middle the best. Cutting the handles comes in second (wait, or maybe first). Last is cutting the bottom. I hate that part - the way it's folded in to expand when goods are put inside.
Knitting makes me feel like my hands are going to fall off. At least, after four hours it does. Makes me realize why people probably have a lot more fun knitting w/soft, not unruly yarn. I wanted to stay up and finish last night, but my head was pounding. In a few hours, I'll be done w/the whole thing and then ready to draw a few comics.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
My knee went into horrible pain in the afternoon, and continued today. Then Gili had a horrible back pull/spasm today and is all jacked up. I feel awful that I can't go over and take care of her. Somehow I'd like to blame globalism for this, but really it's b/c I watched "Children of Men" and its special features a few days ago. I'm reading even more depressing stuff: The Frailty Myth. It's always great fun to read about how I'm destined for osteoporosis and bone fractures b/c I was never physically inclined and quit sports for violin. Argh, classical music! I had a friend at Oberlin who swore that when he had a violin studio, he would make all of his students go running w/him b/c physical fitness is crucial to playing an instrument. Too bad I didn't have a teacher like that.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Post-posting: I was so spastic that I forgot to mention that my designer added an updates/news section to my website, so I finally have an official space to toot my horn!
Sunday, November 18, 2007
The plan is to cover an abandoned gas station with panels (with any fiber method: knitting, crocheting, sewing, quilting, etc.) from people all over the world. I have been planning to make mine out of plastic bags. Cindy and Ivan were really excited about this b/c they have way too many. So this is what I have after a day, about 30-40 bags. Clearly, they shop at places with white bags. Colored ones are more fun. I still have more than half the panel to do.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
I'm spinning. I might have a show abroad and one in the Great Plains next year but not sure yet. Really annoying news: my res site won't be ready for me in January. "How about May?" How about May?? Are you joking? I decided not to take a job b/c of that res! I really hope a few others work out in the interim, b/c I am ITCHING to make new work. Oh, and the hilarious news: apparently, I have been assigned the task of cooking Thanksgiving dinner for five. Super.
Work has been killer, but I'm surviving. Today, I was delighted to be back on a board shears (it's been over 6 months!) and was SO happy that I still had my chops. Plus, the construction people were playing hilarious Polish music outdoors, which made up for being soaked by the morning downpour. I got new striped socks and a fun pair of leggings (w/only the legs) from Cindy last night, so now I'm set for colder weather.
1. I am considering a last minute photo shoot for my knit halter
2. I am considering sending DV tapes to my Chicago editor to cut a January performance, w/o even viewing the tapes myself
3. I am considering knitting lots of plastic bags
4. I am considering NOT sending xmas cards this year
5. I discovered how to survive rush hour (hint: let everyone else do the work for you)
6. My iPod died on me this morning but never fear! Kanye will rock my Friday. I insist.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
The best part of dinner was when I showed Pauly the popup from Oberlin, and the server was so distracted looking at it that she had a hard time counting out our change. Then, the woman next to me asked for titles of good instructional pop-up instructional books. Sweet.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Anyhow, this is Rebecca in Mexico, making a beautiful handmade paper cased binding out of a cereal box! She is looking for places to stay in NYC for her "first real trip to NY," Nov 23 - Dec 2. She's going to be here to teach and perform with Lower Left, a dance collective, as part of Movement Research's Fall Festival focusing on improvisation. Three of them are crashing at one place here and just want to take the burden off their host and roommates. So if anyone knows of other options, please let me know or contact Rebecca (info[at]pmpd.org). Someday, when I open my own hostel for artists where I don't feed them SPAM, I'll take all of them in. For now, just spread the word!
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Here is more of the pop-up from Lizzie (I am probably spelling her name wrong and don't know how to spell her nickname so I won't butcher both) from Oberlin. There is an exhibit back at Columbia College on Mexican paper; someone go and tell me how it is! Oh, and also in Chicago: this Tuesday night will be the fourth year of Site Unseen, an annual festival of live art. My first year that I will not be present in body, very sad. But maybe some of you will! I have so many friends and colleagues in the show that I won't list them. Just go out and support!
Friday, November 09, 2007
Thursday, November 08, 2007
It's a good time to figure out what works and what doesn't.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Anyhow. It was a jam-packed trip and I had a great time. I loved teaching, and was so grateful to Nanette for bringing me out and taking good care of me. I didn't run around campus that much; I didn't want to b/c I thought it would spoil all the good memories. You'd think there'd be more to say but I am bone tired so that's all for now.
Sunday, November 04, 2007
I teach in a few hours. It has been amazingly wonderful to see my old art teachers and see how much I learned from them. Time to get something to eat and get back to the studio to prep books!
Thursday, November 01, 2007
But anyhow, back to work. In honor of Jami's birthday today, I want to share a funny quote from the Kozol book:
The children had been told I was a writer and, like many children who quite often make this flattering mistake, they thought this was incredibly exciting and had carefully prepared a bunch of questions that they fired at me energetically, like just so many eight-year-old reporters. The questions they asked were really interesting to me and were, in fact, a whole lot more original than the questions grown-up interviewers generally pose.
"Is it lonesome to write?"
"How do you write so many words?"
"How do you feel if people criticize your books?"
"Does it make you sad when people know your books but can't pronounce your name?"
"Do you feel sad because you're old?"
One of the children also asked, "Do you write little books or chapter books?"
I had forgotten that distinction between books that are, essentially, extended stories and books long enough to be divided into chapters. Although I'd never thought of it this way before, I told the children, "I write chapter books," which led one of them to ask me why I didn't also write what she called "easy books" for younger children.
I'd answered that I'd never done that yet because I think it takes a special gift that I don't have but that I would like to try to write a book like that someday.
"Do it!" the child said, dispensing briskly with my effort to be self-effacing.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Instead, see Gili's blog of us having a really nice Sunday brunch on the roof. Joe played chef really well and then we all just played. In Gili's sweatshirts since it was chilly up there. It was terribly fun. Gili asked for breaking moves and I found that I'm barely have any left. She's a great student, completely hilarious, and good at taking instruction (e.g., mirroring back your stupid behavior back at you).
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Good news: I start a p/t job assisting an artist when I get back from Oberlin. I like to think that I'd rather edition books than process Rome Prize applications (the other job opp that I turned down in the city). Let's hope that my art instincts win out over my admin ones!
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
This is the view from the grave of my very good friend who died of leukemia in 2003. I had never visited it before, and my trip to Cali was spurred by the sudden desire to visit. It was pretty uneventful on the outside, except that the weather shifted suddenly and was rainy, windy, and cloudy, to the shock of my Californian host. But big things shifted inside, and I realized that
1. dead people's bodies don't go anywhere if they're buried in the ground
2. your life goes on even if someone you really love is buried in the ground
3. I don't have to live in California! [This is huge, for anyone who knows of my long-standing desire to live there.]
4. if I don't have to live in California, then I can be HERE, NOW! Hey, what a concept! I can just be happy with where I am now and not freak out about not being somewhere else!
and so on. I am happily shedding all the useless things, people, ideas, and dreams that I have been holding onto for a loooong time. I don't want anything that doesn't serve me anymore. What I do want: to read this, prep a really good class for Oberlin, and renew my commitment to a daily meditation and yoga practice. That's the short list. Wait, no more lists! Haha. Clearly, I'll need to recruit more help on this road.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Now, I have to get back to the business of my life and career. I spent yesterday unpacking, packing for my next residency next year, and prepping for my workshop in two weeks. I finally caved and went shopping for storage bins. I've avoided it for a long time, but the age of shoeboxes, paper bags, and random things shoved into random crannies is over.
I'm also very happy about this 30 business. Lots of letting go, making changes, resetting priorities. It's much easier when there's a big number to remind me.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
I'm going to put that out of my mind for now as I stare at the piles. This is an image from Chela's studio, and even though it was Thursday, it feels like forever ago now that I'm back home. It's so tricky, this time, b/c I feel all the things I've learned and the subtle shifts that have happened from all the traveling. But that time goes up in smoke so quickly! But for now, I'm back in the same place, but at a different point in the spiral. I'm thankful for everything, mostly the over-the-top amazing friends that I have, like Anju, who saved my ass in a major logistical glitch at the end of my trip.
I have black ink all over my hands (it exploded in my blender; no surprise. I should have just left the ink in Wyoming) and realize I didn't avoid re-entry by going to California; I just delayed it! Tomorrow will be a huge work day, but how excited am I about tonight: sleeping in my own bed after five weeks! Yeeehaw!!
Friday, October 19, 2007
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Went to the Berkeley Art Museum this afternoon and saw two huge sheets of Korean handmade paper and some more Patty Chang stuff in the Asian American exhibit.
Lots of snacking and fielding phone calls and emails and feeling cold and overwhelmed but still loved. I probably kept myself too busy to freak out about my age. Gili made the wise observation that my "vacation" in Cali is just like any overscheduled day in NYC. Elbert says I do this every time I come here. I need to find an Overschedulers/overcommitters Anonymous.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Suddenly, I am face-to-face with the new decade, and completely unprepared! Yikes. I hid in Sunnyvale for another day to rewrite my Fulbright essays and panic about my slides. Hopefully, I will be able to get to SF tomorrow w/all my bags from WY and then to San Mateo. Somehow.
In the meantime, this is a perfect sign of getting older. A friend last week emailed, saying, you're birthday is Tuesday next week! And I wrote back, saying, NO, it's Wednesday! Now I know to trust my friends.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Friday, October 12, 2007
Chris, Joana, Marianne, and I all took a great hike up to the highest peak that is closest to the property. The view was stunning. And hilarious, b/c a herd of cows was grazing in our front "lawn" (like vast expanses of grassland). On our way to town today, we saw real cowboys!!! At least four of them, and at least two herding dogs, and one guy was even swinging a lasso in the air! What they were doing was very sad, separating the calves from their mothers. But then again, the bumper sticker I saw in town before I pigged out on an amazing Mexican lunch was also depressing: "vote Republican." Ew.
Back to packing!
Thursday, October 11, 2007
LAVA's 4th Annual Handstand-a-Thon
Saturday, October 20 @ 7pm
A fundraiser for the LAVA Studio's Student Scholarship Fund and Community Programs
Help us raise money by raising your toes in the air. Get pledges for each minute that we as a community (that means you, too!) spend with our feet off the floor. Our goal this year is $7,500!
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get a pledge sheet. If you can't make it to the event or would prefer to make a gift before the event, you can do so by mailing in a check (payable to VOLCANO LOVE INC) or by giving online using the "Just Give" button on our contact page.
|[n.b. - please excuse my poor typography on this; I'm too tired to do anything but cut and paste.]|
And sure enough, I was putting dishes away today and a glass bowl just exploded in my hand. I have a tiny cut but otherwise was able to blot all the shards off of my hands. It wasn't like last year, thank goodness. And props to Joana for cleaning up for me (I had gone into shock and she stepped in as mom).
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
These are tags from Marianne's studio. I love her little notes, and her paintings.
Monday, October 08, 2007
Snow in the far mountains melted today since it warmed up. I took an hour-long walk at high noon with Chris, and then an almost two-hour hike up to 1,000 Acres with Joana close to sundown. I tried running up a hill and then almost fell over trying to catch my breath.
I'll miss crunching around everywhere. And seeing pregnant cows, deers with white tails that look like huge waving flags, and rabbits.
But it's not over yet! This is one of my gazillion sample books. I'm paper sample book queen. I like doing the small ones that look like books but have no pages. I'm just trying to stay happy my last week, not beat up on myself for how much/little work I've done, and get my business into order as best I can before flying off to California (Ellen says we can go to Santa Cruz when I get there! Wohoo!).