It was a really intense work week, I spent the week caring for 18 horses and 8 cats on a farm and we had, hopefully, our last Nor’Easter of the year, but I have made it through this week. The amount of work I was hoping to accomplish in the studio was squandered by shovelling endless snow, moving hay bails and assisting with other artist’s workshops, but I did find a bit of time for research.
Being on the farm meant there was almost no light pollution, and on the clear nights, the star gazing was amazing. In between night checks on the horses I would stand outside for as long as I could before I froze. The winter constellations are starting to rise less, and it is invigorating to be able to start to see Leo and Virgo. Taking the time in such a busy week to appreciate these quiet moments really helped me remember why I am working on this project on top of everything else – which is to share that amazing humbling feeling of wonder as you look up.
After the tutorial with Kim Pace, I was excited to think more about the way I can use an archive to tell a story. I really appreciated that she took the time to go through my website and notice how my practice has grown and shifted from straight retelling of classical myths. Now, moving into the idea of creating an archive, how can I use this project to tell a story? and whose story should it be.
I aim to play with the idea that archives contain narrative because of the influence of the archivist maintaining them. In this case that is me, but it should not just be my narrative expressed. By creating this welcoming open project, it can include narratives from anyone with any background, breaking down the ideological hierarchies in other archives – for this project every item will have the same value.
We also discussed how my work can continue to have feminist undertones, and bring that more to the forefront, but considering what social practice artists have also adopted a feminist approach.
This lead me to find artist Orett Asherry. Based in London, her interdisciplinary practice explores ideological social and gender constructions through live art, video, and installation. I was particularly interested in her project: NoNothing Collaborative Storytelling in the Dark, an ongoing project from 2016.
From her website:
“NoNothing Collaborative Storytelling in the Dark consists of a group of people who come together to create stories in a dark space. The stories range from imaginative and abstracted, to the factual and confessional. NoNothing is an experiential format that offers a sensory, informal and intimae shared space where (partial) darkness evokes the deeply tangential.
NoNothing sessions are recorded on a mobile phone and then become public; transcribed or used as a sound piece. The process of creating the stories is like a music improvisation session; where anything can happen and reflects how people feel on that particular moment, how they respond to their immediate environment and the darkness, and how they interact as a group.
NoNothing spaces are made dark before the salon starts, using simple means, such as cloth or card. Yet, a complete darkness has not been achieved so far. Trying to block the light and partially failing, has became part of the process.”
I love the idea that this project is all about collecting stories and making them public, which in a way is what I hope to do with the collected drawings from the exploratory project, but her project is also all about the space. No doubt being in complete darkness changes how to you feel, and affects how you act.
How will my installation create a change in atmosphere for the drawing/observing event? Does it just create context for the archive or does it go beyond that to actually influence what people will make or feel that they should be making? Do I want that to happen?
I have also been scanning and collecting astronomical images from books and magazines that can be incorporated into the zine/publication component of this project. I have about 100 now, that can act a placeholders in the online archive until submissions are received.
Here are a few of my favourites:
Airtable archive link: https://airtable.com/shrUFiyfoD61nYXAo