Magic in the mundane?


Over the weekend, I walked with my friend and collaborator Shoshana Gugenheim from the Portland Steel Bridge, on the corner of NW Oregon Street and Interstate Way, to Director's Park in the heart of Portland's downtown. We walked shoulder-to-shoulder, in-step, in silence.  Like one entity, my left hand was at my side, still, mirroring hers which rested on a satchel. My right hand felt the momentum or her right hand, together they swayed with intention propelling my feet forward. Right. Left. Right. Left. Both of us keenly aware of the other and our surroundings. Both of us listening and absorbing: The smell of coffee from a cafe on the corner. A woman's perfume. A loud conversation about tomorrow. A crow swooping down to land on the top of a lamp post. I heard the gentle tap of it's claws touching the aluminum armature as a truck passed, thundering down Taylor Street. Negotiating directions and intersections, a change in elevation and traffic felt curious. When we walked beyond each building's shadow, sunshine filled our eyes. Together we squinted. Left and then right. Left then right.  


We were experimenting, playing, wondering...actively wandering. How do we inhabit public spaces? What does civic engagement mean? What are the political consequences of our presence? What are the consequences of public silence? What would it be like to walk together, in-step through the bustle of a city? What would it require to remain together? Would anyone notice our unity? What does it mean to combine our efforts? Combine, at it's linguistic origin comes from the prefex "com," which shares it's meaning with "co," means with or together and "bine" means two. Two people. Two sets of arms. Two pairs of legs. Two bodies. Together. 

Last February, during our "Walking Tour of the Olympic Sculpture Park," Eric Olson and I publicly shared a set of scores or simple instructions that were set to site-specific sculptures or places throughout the park. Standing on a walking path just a 100 feet from Jaume Plensa's 2011 sculpture Echo we instructed the audience to, "Identify a rhythm in your environment. Using your voice or body, echo this rhythm. Repeat. As we walk toward the sculpture spontaneously repeat." 

Photograph by Jonathan Vanderweit. Orbiting Together. Seattle Art Museum Olympic Sculpture Park. 2018

Photograph by Jonathan Vanderweit. Orbiting Together. Seattle Art Museum Olympic Sculpture Park. 2018

In this period of listening, mirroring and echoing I found myself giggling with Celia, a 4 1/2 year old friend of mine. Her little feet pattered on the pavement with certainty as she grinned up at me. With focus, I smiled back at her and tried (with all my might and attention) to step in sync. My short steps and her big steps, my foot lightly settling to the ground, matching the sound of her confident stomp.

While walking with Shoshana, I recalled this moment. Sometimes the inspiration for my future work is hidden in my body. I only see it when I am brave enough to act on my vision, impulse or intuition.

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Social Works

I've been reading....


(left to right; top to bottom)

Float: Variations on the Right to Remain Silent by Anne Carson
The Lure of the Local by Lucy R. Lippard
The Choreographic by Jenn Joy
What We Made by Tom Finkelpearl
Choreographing Difference by Ann Cooper Albright
Draw it with your eyes closed: The art of the assignment by Dushko Petrovich & Roger White
Performing Monuments by Mechtild Widrich
One Place After Another by Miwon Kwon
Theory/Theater: An Introduction by Mark Fortier
Small Acts of Repair by Goat Island
Standing in Space by Mary Overlie
Social Works by Shannon Jackson
This Very Moment by Barbara Dilley
School Book 2 by Goat Island

How am I different because you are here?

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How do we 'respect'?

While at the Washington State Penitentiary this past week, one of the inmates shared an acronym that he uses daily. These are words he lives by and hopes his kids will too. I find it to be a powerful guide for those of us who do creative social practice work within communities. 

R - Relax
E - Explore
S - Smile (welcome people in and accept them)
P - Participate (engage fully)
E - Evaluate (assess your impact)
C - Compensate (adjust based on your evaluation)
T - Teach (share what you learn)

Shared with his permission. By request, he remains anonymous. 

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Quietest Place?

What are your places of rest and solitude? Where do you find quiet? Where is quiet located?

The Art Assignment is a really rad weekly video series produced by PBS Digital Studios.  It's a sophisticated, playful, fun program hosted by curator Sarah Urist Green and author/vlogger John Green. The Art Assignment takes you around the U.S. to meet artists and solicit assignments from them that anyone can complete and then post on their website:

It's a genius series (and curiously happens to mirror the model of assignment making that I have in my own studio practice *grin*).  The newest episode really sings to me.

Jace Clayton, aka DJ /Rupture, challenges you to take a walk from where you live and find the quietest place. Once you're there, take it in for a moment and then make a short video or take some photos there.

(The Art) Assignment:  Quietest Place

1. Go outside and talk a walk from where you live or are staying at the moment. 
2. Continue until you’ve found the quietest place possible.
3. Take a moment to absorb it. Then document the place through photography or video. Upload it to your social media platform of choice using #theartassignment.
4. Fame and glory. (Your work might be featured in an upcoming video.)

Artworks mentioned include John Cage’s 4’33” (1952/53) and Charles Baudelaire’s essay The Painter of Modern Life (1863). 


or find posts from all categories of THE LAB below.