How did you put this program-manifesto together?
I promoted among the spectator-actors the practice of a radical theater act, which consisted of interpreting one's own drama, exploring one's own intimate enigma. It was for me the beginning of the sacred theater and was almost therapeutic. Then I came to realize that if I had, in my theatrical expression, shattered form, space, the relationship between actor and spectator, I had not yet attacked time. I was still a prisoner of the idea that the show must be repeated, performed many times. At the time when "happenings" were taking place in the United States, on my part in Mexico, I had invented what I called the "ephemeral panic", which consisted in staging a show that could be presented only once. It had to be accomplished by introducing perishable things: smoke, fruits, jelly, live animals...It had to do with accomplishing acts that could not ever be repeated. In summary, I wanted the theater, instead of tending toward the fixed, toward death, to return to its uniqueness: the instantaneous, the fugitive, the only moment forever. This way, theater is made in the image of life where, according to a saying by Heraclitus [of Ephesus], one never bathes in the same river. Thus, to conceive the theater was to carry it to the extreme, to go to the paroxysm of this art form. Through the happenings, I rediscovered the theatrical act and its therapeutic potential.
I've realized that I don't really have any self-portraits that aren't "in character", for lack of a better term.
Here I am, I am at home.
Photographs on the wall are mine, Veronica Ibarra's, and antique postcards.
Neptune Teaser from Last House on Vimeo.
The deadline for donating to the Indiegogo campaign for Last House's Neptune is fast approaching. Please consider donating even a dollar or two to this wonderful project. Making full-length films is expensive, and the scale of production even for independent projects really boggles my mind. This is a beautiful, worthwhile project from a remarkably talented and capable team, and I hope you will consider it. I have had the pleasure of reading the script, and it is a stunning, unique story that I want so badly to be told.
"There are people in the world whose imagination is so vivid that when they have an idea it comes to them as an audible voice, sometimes uttered by a visible figure. Criminal lunatic asylums are occupied largely by murderers who have obeyed voices...But the seers of visions and the hearers of revelations are not always criminals. The inspirations and intuitions and unconsciously reasoned conclusions of genius sometimes assume similar illusions. Socrates, Luther, Swedenborg, Blake saw visions and heard voices just as Saint Francis and Saint Joan did. If Newton's imagination had been of the same vividly dramatic kind he might have seen the ghost of Pythagoras walk into the orchard and explain why the apples were falling. Such an illusion would have invalidated neither the theory of gravitation nor Newton's general sanity. What is more, the visionary method of making the discovery would not be a whit more miraculous than the normal method. The test of sanity is not the normality of the method but the reasonableness of the discovery."
I've set up a website this past week that houses a collection of my work. It's currently dedicated almost solely to my photography, but I hope to expand that in the future. It's such a welcome change to have a nice, clean space to showcase my work, not to mention a wonderfully simple and easy to remember URL. I rejoice!
Dear friends are bravely departing their homes for far-off lands, and blessed am I for having spent this past weekend with them, only moments before their bags and boxes are prepared for their passage. (Did I tell you how much I'll miss you?)
There may seem to be a certain amount of pretension in title and in imagery, but I beseech you to trust me. When we three (1, 2, 3) converged, the strange* & supernatural surfaced in remarkable fashion. (The footsteps, the closed door, the circling wind and snow, the circling wind and snow.) I have full faith that this will be more apparent when their photographs from the weekend are unveiled, such masters as they are at exposing the intangible forces within and about. (These images regrettably may be delayed due to their aforementioned circumstances.)
*And I'm not just referring to the night that I pissed behind McDonald's.
There is a great deal that, as with any medium, I find quite limiting when it comes to photography, and particularly when it comes to sharing photography online. So inundated are we, perpetually, with the imagery & creations of the countless members of the globe, that I feel there can be a bit of a numbing effect on the experience of viewing. I find this often happening with myself, as I am undoubtedly fully spoiled in my ability to see, almost daily, the creations of my friends and those artists whom I most admire. The question of impact can by remarkably vexing, especially when creating conceptual work. Though I am quite passionate about the art of language, and most times the ability to articulate my ideas and feelings does not evade me, I feel very strongly that a medium should stand on its own, and so as a well-written story or poem should not require a photograph or drawing to fully communicate its meaning or intent, nor should a photograph or drawing require a statement elucidating all the symbolism and context within it. I could, and often do, go on about this ad infinitum, as my feelings about this are quite vehement, really, but let me instead move on to the point. This is the challenge, then, you see. How does one create an "experience" with their work? How does a conceptual artist create something with resonance?
Last spring, my husband and I attended a performance of Bella Figura by the Boston Ballet. This profound, phenomenal performance left me in shudders, tears. I was struck by how the fleeting nature of the performance enhanced its impact upon me. Knowing that I may never see it again (and no, videos of it online do not capture it in the slightest) created an heart-wrenching amalgam of emotions within me, and it made me feel so fucking small and inconsequential as an artist in the best sort of way. I kept thinking to myself, "Not good enough. Try fucking harder."
With sharing photography online, there is an advantage to the viewer that, for the most part, you may be able to return to that image at any time. You click on it, you comment on it, you move on with your day or onto yet another image. Not good enough. Try fucking harder. This leads me back to the very projects that I initially intended to pursue in art school (which no, I did not finish): multi-media installation and performance. I approach my conceptual shoots in the same way, creating a scene with the appropriate symbols in order to communicate my thoughts, beliefs or experiences, with the hope that it will prompt some sort of intellectual or emotional discourse with the viewer. But there is something about a performance, painting, installation, or any other artwork that involves great investment of time and coordination that really tugs a bit more at any patron, as it causes them to ask (albeit sometimes incredulously), "What is it that the artist wanted so badly to tell us?" Obviously the question of why we as artists need so badly to communicate our thoughts and experiences warrants a discussion on its own, but here I will keep with the problem of how we choose to communicate these things. It is about carefully selecting the right medium for me. Sometimes it is a photograph, sometimes it is a painting, sometimes it is a story, sometimes it is a song, but sometimes none of these is enough.
I was getting to the point. What was the point? These photographs above, taken this morning in my home, are beginning sketches for a project in a medium I have yet to explore: performance art. I have a couple of performances that I have begun to flesh out in my mind, which will help to combine my desire to perform, choreograph, act, and direct a small choral ensemble. I probably shouldn't speak in such specifics, as these things require small, quiet steps forward from where I now stand, but this is what I am speaking nonetheless. All of this only to tell you this. I am not here to debase either you or I by telling you what this "Childhood" is about, only to announce that it has birthed, it is growing, and that I will let you know of its evolution.
Is that enough?
It's been almost a year now since my last visit to my old darkroom. It would be near impossible for me to articulate all that that space meant to me and my heart. Being in that space awakened a drive and curiosity in me that I hadn't felt for a long while; perhaps since childhood.
Here, let me describe it to you.
In the middle of the city, and in the basement of a YWCA built in the late 1800's (I believe), there was a large room left vacant almost the entire part of the year, except during the summer when it would host workshops for young students. Because of the need to host these groups, the space was unnecessarily large for one patron, but the beautiful advantage to me was that it allowed me to dance and twirl to my heart's content while the chemicals worked their magic, or while my prints were rinsing or drying. Countless groups also utilized the building, mostly dance and traditional martial arts groups, so while the day brought me solitude, in silence or to my own choice of accompaniment, the evenings brought African & Haitian drumming, traditional Japanese gongs, bells, drums, and chants, and I would imagine that sweet Maya Deren was dancing with me in the darkness while the alchemy was at work.
After a long hiatus from this beloved space because of a need to avoid the chemical exposure for health reasons, I discovered that the darkroom would be no more because of renovations occurring in the communal structure. I cried, and sentimentally still carry the key to the darkroom in my purse, as though it might reappear around any corner. Tonight, I am feeling nostalgic, and so I scanned up two of the first darkroom prints that I ever made, from my Death Chants series*, which remain in boxes with all of the others in my cabinet. Naively, the package of paper I chose to learn on was a matte fiber paper, which proved to be quite difficult to get the hang of, but I believe that the initial challenge during those first 6 or 7 hours at work helped me to understand the subtleties of developing better than some RC pearl would have.
Here are other prints & experiments I worked on while in that space:
I still have a great deal to learn, and hope that it won't be too long before I can get back to work.
*View the series that these prints are from here.