This week marks the completion of my first artistic residency after graduate school. As an overview, I have planned to write a post about each specific site during the residency to perform as both an archive, diary, and site for future reference. There were quite a plenty experience with the residents and participated individually I would like to cover. Some of the images at the end of this entry offer hints about the writing to come. Here you can listen to the audio recorded inside Vigeland’s Masoleum.
The month-long residency with PRAKSIS Oslo, in Oslo Norway, involved balancing working (for wages) and the deeply laborious effort of artistic practice. As a group, we visited several sites to encounter specific bodily experiences such as an anechoic chamber in Moss, Norway. The delightfully accommodating SEAS had our group to experience their chamber. At once I felt myself atop a snowy mountain and deep within a sort of Platonic cave without any shadows. Several of the artists experienced the sensory deprivation experience where I had been working at Bare Flyt in the Sagene area of Oslo. We visited the Vigeland Mausoleum with an echoic resonance making of the voice, a sense of a holy experience. Most days of the week, several of the artists would gather at NOTAM, and we would discuss our individual projects and where they intersect. We met with Stephanie von Spreter, the director of Fotogalleriet, as she graciously joined our meetings to review our work. The organizers of PRAKSIS, Nicholas Jones and Charlotte Teyler, hosted several delightful dinners in which members from art, educational and political actions in Oslo joined us for some memories I feel honored to raise a glass towards.
The sort of things we discussed were plenty, but some themes that continually surfaced:
synchronicities, esp, perception, embodied sensations, the real, imagined, virtuality, personal biography, the other, whether or not free will or choice really exists and the implications, what constitutes collaboration and through careful consideration by the lead artist of the residency, Lindsay Seers, we landed upon corroboration.
The theme during March – April 2017 was A Global State of Pareidolia was joined by eight with experience encompassing art, music and neuroscience: Gunnlaug Bina Kuløy (NO), Anne Haaning (DK), Milenasong (DE/NO), Jeremy Olson (US), Lindsay Seers (GB), Nina Torp (NO), Rachel Wolfe (US), Monika Żak (PL). More information about each resident can be found in the PRAKSIS registry. The residency was also visited by Nina Rodin.
This residency offered a stark contrast to many of the institutional experiences I encountered during graduate school. I was surprised and encouraged by the supreme openness, warmth, curiosity, and supportive nature of this group of genuine artists. Quite often, I will find closures or endings terribly tragic, that all promises to remain in contact result to be words in vain. This time there really was not a sense of goodbye, but the real sense of vi ses, or we see, next time.
And so I am reminded of a poem I wrote in Chicago and performed at the Green Mill many years ago. At this juncture of writing and saying aloud these words, I was in a cognitive space where I found the division between work and leisure to be a construct of value only to the markets which asked me to pay my wage to their products or objects. I sought a life where there would be no division of work and leisure. That even this word leisure seemed in 2007 (or was it 2006, or 2008?) an ideal about an attitude. What if the ridged way of marking time with days, hours, and activities could be dissolved? Of course, these kinds of descriptors of time remain in play today, and quite often I may appear as a totally absent-minded person, but more importantly, this seeking I had set out for became fully realized throughout the duration of the residency. I brought with me to the residency a vague notion we may create a work together or share an accumulation of many small works together one day (as Lindsay has already been creating several videos for each of the residents), and gained something more immediately of value-the dissolving of concepts, beliefs, allusions. A more cohesive experience of living and creating. Yes, I experience this quite as sensationally as it may sound. To be a more complete and whole practitioner of embodied reality, not forced or coerced by preset standards. And again, as in science, quite often the proof has been created by whatever set our minds towards. Here is the poem, at last:
sit atop a twiddle my thumbs tuesday
aching for the ever acclaimed weekend
i bide my time with silly banter until
we can be near
i’m singin’ a tune you had better listen to
but no good at games
i’m claiming innocence and honesty
will someday gather me a man
who can handle my moves
not try to tame my heart
but hold my hand
no room for tears
for we never say goodbye
only see you next time