Saturday, June 26, 2010
Earlier this year my father-in-law and my Mom met for the first time. We have been married for almost twenty years. Am I the only one who thinks that is odd at best and revealing in truth? It just so happens that we are an "interracial" couple....some would say that is beside the point.
I was thinking about how that event looked on the TimeLine of our lives, in relation to the place where they converged. Then I looked at other public history events and started to think about the BIG TimeLine of Humanity. I want to visualize, experience and share more deeply the personal in the public. Public history is not other, it has a relationship and contributes to the context of our personal histories. This has been a consistent idea since I started the What is Peace? series in this Cultural Fusion experience back in 2006. That project is anchored in my oral traditions and history work but I have been stuck about how to move it forward until now.
This TimeLine Installation represents a turning point because it accessible. It uses materials that are familiar which are presented in familiar environments. It is tricky to figure out where/when to push an audience and where/when to just BE with the audience in a sharing space.
I can't believe it has taken so long to take a serious look at this issue of feminist art and southern culture. Rather than a departure from the work I was doing prior, this is actually a deepening and framing of a topic that has gotten increasingly broad. Although I was looking at Life Learning and how it related to the various projects I am doing around cultivating/enhancing SOCIAL CAPITAL for community driven development....it does come down to some core issues that have been allowed to fester....given only band-aid attention.
The TimeLine itself though is not judgmental, it just is. It does not judge what did or did not happen, so I believe it will create a neutral space for multiple realities to co-exist allowing us to stand face to face with paradox, lies, truth, and recollections of them all.
I am using the IHMC Concept Mapping Tool to work out my idea for the online installation. Currently my idea is to use two different photographs to do two versions on different websites...the photographs will show different perspectives. On one the convergence point is clear with a more overhead view while the other is more straight on at ground level.
Interaction - Posting Events on the TimeLine
At this time my plan is to use existing tools to allow others to add events to the TimeLine - both personal and public history events. So you might add your birthday, the day you met your partner, the birthdays of your children, or when your parents married.
Then alongside that are the historical events that take place around the world but are not noted in history books or perhaps only one side is told.
Now is your chance to chime in. Do you have a website about your parents escape from their nation of origin during political upheaval? Add that event and link to the resource in the TimeLine.
At this point I am planning to make it as easy as possible for people to contribute but at the same to deter SPAM posts.
IF YOU WANT TO COLLABORATE TO DEVELOP THIS PIECE - LET'S CONNECT!
Where is this Going?
I will be looking for alternate sites to install the piece to be videoed and photographed - I have two that are of special interest to me at this time.
The next incarnation of the online installation will be that those envelop years getting the most Attention will create a breeze - representing what we have termed Attention Gravity.
Next phase of interaction will be a postal project - I will invite people to contribute handmade envelops and post cards to represent A REQUEST FOR or GIFT OF Forgiveness. The place for those to be mailed will be posted once I have these first two installations done online.
Friday, June 25, 2010
In continuing to think about my response to the question of how feminist art and the movement have been internalized in the south. Feminist art wasn't really something we saw in our environment, those are among the least likely shows to have made it to my neck of the woods when I was growing up. If an artist insisted on showing work that was seen as inflammatory, then they find themselves without a place to show....unless one just put it out there beyond the ivory towers. The feminist movement has an example in the impact of "trickle down" theories. What have we learned about how this has worked in economics?
It has been the legal changes that have been the clearest evidence of its impact. For example, legislation ending the legalization of marital rape and domestic violence being taken more seriously.
Perhaps because basic assumptions of freedom were arguably more grievously overlooked in southern culture, that asserting ones worth and right to choose include and reach beyond the expected.
Generally speaking, once cases were overturned by the Supreme Court it would take about 20 years before the new laws were embraced or actually took affect down south. For example, Brown vs. Board of Education was a 1950 case ending racial segregation in schools under separate but equal. However the high school in the county where I attended did not integrate until 1970. Interracial marriage was legalized 1967 by a Supreme Court overturning Virgina ruling that said equal punishment for the crime of interracial marriage made the practice just. But when I was growing up it was not unusual for interracial couples to be asked to leave establishments, denied admission, or otherwise made to feel unwelcome or harassed.
Even in 1989 when my husband I were newly coupled, I recall a BBQ place clearing out when we entered at lunchtime. The service was colder than the food we were served. It could be that all those people just happened to have to leave when we sat down - but I have not gone inside a BBQ restaurant since. On another occasion, I recall getting upset with a hostess who wanted to sit us in the back near the kitchen although the place was not crowded. Since it has happened previously, on that occasion I wanted to know why we were be seated in this dreadful dark corner by the kitchen. I didn't get an answer but we were given a better table.
The case that led to marital rape being called Rape was decided in 1970, I think, but certainly this and related issues made the lives of many women I knew difficult because lax enforcement and stigma can be more powerful than the law.
What is emerging is that I am curious about the class division in the feminist art movement as being related to the issues of Institutional Critique. I wonder if it is class as much as race that has been the issue limiting discourse around those topics relevant to women's movements. However, with little effort this emerges as a humanitarian and ecological movement - a shift towards peace building rather than war making.
What IF the opposite of war is CREATION?
that is the question that reflections on the play Rent prompted me to Re-consider.
The Art Installations I recall from my early exposure were all in urban environments...usually presented in pristine sterile contexts. What happens if instead of fighting about the way it has been I put my attention on creating solutions... and then continue building on what I learn?
I put up the installation and a retired school teacher came over to ask about it. I briefly explained the art concept as being a TimeLine putting world events in the context of personal experiences to create a more accurate historical picture.
She shared with me about her and her husband's family history as a (white) sharecropping family. His mother was known for the speed in the cotton field. She had met her husband when he returned from the Vietnam War.
I will be adding their events to the TimeLine.
The encounter demonstrated that put in a familiar setting that "high art" can attract those people who would avoid it in an institutional setting.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
I have been revising the front page of the development site - working out an overview. I am actually working on client painting and an essay on feminist art. Although I had not intended it I find it touches upon my interest in Institutional Critique. Also as someone who grew up in the bible belt south - with few exceptions feminist art that I saw or read about did not satisfy. I don't know if I knew at the time what I was seeking. My work was calling me to explore to better understand "Self in Relation_to"...What exposure to post modern ideas in feminist art did give me was insight into what was being done to break old rules to create new ones and that there was a place for thinking differently about things.
Ann Sprinkle Ph.D would have a perfectly valid way of developing a piece around the idea of sex in public spaces, but it is the approach and results of Lorna Simpson which would interest me more. Not because of anything having to do with race, gender, class, or sexuality. Looking first and foremost at the work I find Simpson's approach to be both intimate and intellectual.
Similar to the forerunners of web launched and maintained projects, Cultural Fusion is possible because of the webs potential to expand the scope in ways that would be cumbersome at best without computers and Information Technology.
"Learning to Love You More is both a web site and series of non-web presentations comprised of work made by the general public in response to assignments given by artists Miranda July and Harrell Fletcher. Yuri Ono designs and manages the web site.
Participants accept an assignment, complete it by following the simple but specific instructions, send in the required report (photograph, text, video, etc), and see their work posted on-line. Like a recipe, meditation practice, or familiar song, the prescriptive nature of these assignments is intended to guide people towards their own experience"
Source:the Learning to Love You More website http://www.learningtoloveyoumore.com/hello/index.php
The Guerrilla Girls offers a historical perspective. In May 2010 they celebrated their 25th Anniversary. Pictured on their site are photographs documenting the first Guerrilla Girls posters. From the site http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs074/1101979383554/archive/1103354100081.html: "25 years ago, some posters went up on the streets of New York and all hell broke loose. The posters showed how bad things were for women artists in museums and galleries and everyone started talking about the issues. The press release from May 6, 1985 stated: "Simple facts will be spelled out; obvious conclusions can be drawn." The Guerrilla Girls were born!"
Faye Wattleton (born Alyce Faye Wattleton on July 8, 1943) is the first African-American and youngest President ever elected to Planned Parenthood (1978–1992). Currently, she serves as the President of the Center for the Advancement of Women, and also serves on the board of trustees at Columbia University. She is best known for her contributions to the family planning and reproductive health, as well as the pro-choice movement. Source: wikipedia
How did I know?
In the deconstruction of concepts and beliefs that has defined the process of developing Cultural Fusion - the movement had more influence because the discourse needed to explore inclusiveness as a practice.
At the same time that I am seeking a better understanding of my collaborators' personal culture I am also exploring what my internalized experience of being a southerner or whatever has given by way of personal vocabulary, style and culture. Each of us acts as a filter for the cultures that grow and en-hearten us - like a plant grown in regional soil, it flavors who we are. Yet, at the same time, we are part of a global family called humanity and it is those universal questions like "what can I do?" that has continued to move Cultural Fusion forward.
Questions leading the way
At a personal level I have come to value my commitment to Pay Attention to the questions, feeling to learn how to distinguish the right questions from the distraction. But not for the purpose of avoiding the distraction. Instead the intention is to make a conscious selection between them - to increase awareness of their distinctions.
In addition to revising the main page of the Heuristic Model
I exploring why Alice Walkers' womanist perspective contributed more to my cultural vocabulary as an artist than did any of the feminist visual artists I have been introduced to up until this point.
Just as I have learned to love my southern accent, I am likewise interested in how southern culture from a woman of African decent expresses itself as a matter of understanding pieces of a creative intellectual tradition.
How does this cultural foundation shape my experience with concepts in feminist art?
The video above featuring Paula McClain and Faye Wattleton addresses the issue of race and gender in terms that illuminate the limited impact of the feminist [art[ movement among women of color. Essentially the issue is one of different experiences and priorities. Where the experience of people of color has been systemically devalued a core part of the growth process is coming to find value in ones contributions and creations. I am working on this essay after being inspired by a call for submissions from a couple women's studies journals on feminist art.
While modern feminist art seems to have been shaped more by the misnomer that sexual experimentation and displays are the same as personal liberation I see the opportunity to invite consideration for inspiring deep contemplation about the valuation of the diverse experiences of women who live outside of academic institutions and lesbian cultures, not to exclude them and paying attention to including us. - Them and Us becomes We.
Finding the personal in the multifaceted feminist movement brings one face to face with those challenging issues of race and culture. Why is information of this quality much less accessible than the mindless objectification and degradation of women/people? How different might the learning experience of the public be were works
like Positively Breaking Taboos: Why and How I Made the Film "Period Piece" [with Responses] by Emily Erwin Culpepper, Gannit Ankori, Karen L. King, Sarah K. Peck and Claudia Ann Highbaugh were as easy to access as instructions to build an explosive device, latest public scandal or celebrity gossip.
Positively Breaking Taboos: Why and How I Made the Film "Period Piece" [with Responses] by Emily Erwin Culpepper, Gannit Ankori, Karen L. King, Sarah K. Peck and Claudia Ann Highbaugh Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, Vol. 22, No. 2 (Fall, 2006), pp. 125-153 (article consists of 33 pages) Published by: Indiana University Press on behalf of FSR, Inc.Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20487867
Attention to inclusiveness has been conceptual rather than a matter of practical experience, and this is something I am interested in changing through my exploration of feminist thought in personal culture. I support gay marriage, reproductive AND BIRTHING freedom...life learning as a community solution for an educational system that is not working for many. The feminist agenda of interest to me is radically inclusive. Whereas my reaction to work Like Judy Chicago's Red flag seems to make that less of a priority. Might it have less resonance with women whose experience orients them towards sanitary pads rather than tampons? My issue was not one of finding the tampon or menstrual blood as a subject objectionable,[ to the contrary one of my favorite poems invites us to imagine the butterfly shaped blood stains we would leave if we abandoned all effort to contain and stop our blood flow for that one week each month.]
The impact of the feminist movement in southern culture is most evident in the new legal vocabulary where the consequences offer more deterrent leverage via the political organizing of feminist who have shaped changes in the justice systems perception of issues such as domestic violence could be seen as a race neutral policy issue. N.Y.U. REVIEW OF LAW & SOCIAL CHANGE [Vol. 32:191-THE JUSTICE SYSTEM AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE:ENGAGING THE CASE BUT DIVORCING THE VICTIM by LAURIE S. KOHN*
20 Harv. Women's L.J. 263 (1997) Sex, Sense, and Sensibility: Trespassing into the Culture of Domestic Abuse; St. Joan, Jacqueline
The full implications of FREEDOM TO CHOOSE reaches far beyond sexual expression, religious affiliation or not, or reproductive choice to go to the core of personal identity. Birthing freedom seem to be regarded as less sexy topic gets far less attention. This is especially true when the range of choices is considered beyond the scope of sexual orientation. Of interest to me are the implications on FREEDOM life learning as core personal and social educational reality.
Alice Walker has writes about honoring the difficult in a way that speaks to the deconstruction of personal identity that finds race deeply embedded. When Walker is wrestling with the challenges of her relationship with her male partner of more than a decade at the same time that she was being attacked for her portrayal of men in her work (The Color Purple). The courage she demonstrates in presenting her characters and overcoming her fear of humiliation illuminate a space that compels me to insist that new spaces for intellectual and creative inquiry beyond the wall of ivory towers.
I feel that my frame of reference even in looking at my visual art vocabulary - is based on expression that is less brazenly sexual in the pornographic sense and more in the direction of the soulfully sensual with an orientation towards the union [collaboration or sharing] and creation [art, meals, life, etc.]. I have always been too traditional to be fully Bohemian and too Bohemian to be fully embrace tradition - moving back and forth in the space in between and on the margins. Not trapped in either room.
The Discovery: Paradigm(s) of Possibility
This approach defies the walls separating knowledge silos and industries.
More than brainstorming - Source Art that has emerged from Cultural Fusion gives you the experience and insights that come from uniting head and heart to work together. Using an A/r/tographic approach that engages Institutional Critique on occasion while paying attention to where questions lead.
ScienceDaily (Sep. 16, 2009) — Reading a book by Franz Kafka –– or watching a film by director David Lynch –– could make you smarter.
Cultural Fusion Mission:
To apply art based approaches to help clients and collaborators address the challenges, explore the ideas of interest to them and experience awareness that sees beyond known needs to discover potential.
Artist Statement: from Yvette (evolving)
Seeking to explore ,engage, and apply Cultural Fusion art based approaches to create community/public art that also act as multilateral solutions for new ideas, technology & models for addressing complex challenges. This includes integrating personal experience story narratives that contribute to the evolution of opportunities and artwork.
What if the opposite of war is creation?
What if [Compassion + Generosity of spirit]] = the other L word?
What if forgiveness heals?
This Art Based reseach explores/advances a new paradigm that eliminates or greatly reduces poverty (materially and spiritually) based on promoting value of diverse expressions in arts & oral tradition, innovation that empowers the best in individuals within communities/organizations/businesses, and Radical Inclusion as a norm. With the mission to create Art:Work that delivers solutions to automate global social responsibility.
Specific areas of interest include: Creating/Advancing technology for sustainable living, developing/researching system models as a means to Ending or decreasing Poverty. addressing issues related to homelessness & hunger, Ending Slavery/Human Trafficking, domestic violence.
As an inquiry into art with purpose the Art Based research seeks as a component of functionality the project aspires to result in the information technology and social system infrastructures that support easy glocal (globally local) deployment of new projects as part of this Art:Work first and foremost. As communities of practice become a more normalized concept the concept of community itself expands. People are now having to learn to manage global relationships in terms of geographical spaces giving way to a range of meet-up events uniting a few or many. The concept of region is being redefined and the impact of innovation will serve some regions over others.
Using Art as the base line, the spaces between the business market view and human/ecological services can be seen and experienced as a paradox.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
cast in a post matinee
week night Performance
a fight for your life drama
featuring the soundtrack for
with a melodious
"You are my sunshine..."
and then stopped
the howling creak of doors
opening and closing.
pound pound pound pound on the floor
as body is dragged
sound in motion
down the hall
are stylized vocalizations
shaped to strike like threats
in loud hushed tones
are cymbals echoing down the hall
For an under aged audience
praying for nightmares
this god damn it lullaby.