Monday, December 31, 2007

New books for 2008!!

I was SO excited about Ching-In's gift to me yesterday for my third decade: this perfect journal. Apparently, Bon Bon is a "Japanese-French girl who's ultra-mad about Vespas, Pop Art, space-age lounge, and 60's sounds!" The pictures are hilarious, and ones I like best of her on a corded phone in a womb chair, and of her breakdancing in white boots. Mostly, I am entranced by the moire-pattern volvelle on the cover (the spinning wheel!!).

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

"Cold heart"

I had this brilliant idea during my morning commute that I should take apart my very first version of one of my artists' books, to make a portfolio for a different set of work. Scavenge for parts. I've done it before with other pieces, and maybe it's not good to get attached to things that stay wrapped in double layers and stashed at the bottom of a pile in a closet that's hard to access. So I pulled it out tonight, unwrapped it, and turned each page. I was surprised by how it struck me anew, all the attention I put into the cyanotypes, the binding, the paper...I worked out a lot of stuff in this version and I can see it now, after making this book three times (2 books the 2nd round, 10 books the 3rd round, setting type TWICE for each version because there weren't enough letters to do the whole book at once). I thought of it as "no big deal" b/c of how cool I wanted to keep it, a book about what was "wrong" with my body and what my mother did to it over the years to make it "perfect." In my mind and files, I often call it the "white book." Terttu calls it the "baby book." The full title is "PROJECT: AIMEE / MISSION: PERFECTION" but I only ever list it as the last two words.

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

Another VT sighting!!!

I have NO IDEA what is going on lately, but this is my second Friday in a row where I've randomly reunited with VT female residents from Jan, in Greenpoint. This time, I was waiting on the subway platform, eating my peeled apples, with Terttu's bday mix on my iPod, thinking about the Beastie Boys' lyric, "NYC is a city I feel at home in." I look across the platform, and Susan Peebles is on the other side!! It was EXACTLY like w/Marcie: 1. What the hell are we both doing here? 2. That's her! 3. Wait, is that her? I'm sure it is but maybe I'm just freaking out some random New Yorker by staring and smiling. 4. Oh, look, she's responding to me!

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.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Delayed reaction

Last night was great. It was so funny to come in and see the photos I had taken in Mexico of Jill up on the wall. Like another lifetime ago. I stayed for the first two hours of the four hour show, and was so happy to see everyone from the residency: Jill, Kristin, Elizabeth, Gustavo, Gaelyn, and Alicia. Though it was also strange to be coming in from the cold in Brooklyn instead of huddled around the kitchen preparing breakfast or whatnot.

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


I forgot to say that this came last week: I've graduated! Hahaa. Tonight's big event is seeing Jill and Kristin and Gustavo from the Mexico residency perform for Jill's company and seeing Elizabeth, who is in town from Mexico!!

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
1 Grattan Street (corner of Bogart Street), #221
Bushwick, Brooklyn
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

Recent inspiration

Starting Friday (6-9pm) and running thru Sunday (both Sa/Su, 11-6pm), Marianne from Wyoming will be selling paintings at the Style Market Holiday Sale at FIT's Great Hall (7th Ave/28th St). This is one of her paintings in progress from Jentel.

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.