Studio update: Concert for Contemplation: In Solidarity with Moazzeni

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Anoush Moazzeni  is an Iranian national, a permanent resident of Canada, and an internationally recognized concert pianist and performer, but is more importantly a friend of our community. A few Fridays ago, Anoush was preparing to return home from a 3-week residency at the Banff Centre and the President of the United States made it illegal for her enter the States. A few days later, just blocks from her home, 6 people were murdered during prayers in her neighborhood mosque. The murderer was a student of Laval University, the academic institution Anoush originally came to Canada to attend. As a gesture of solidarity with Anoush and the tens of thousands of people who are peacefully, elegantly and intensely trying to live lives that positively contribute to the human condition in the face of aggression, some of us from the Maine artist community have decided to put on a Concert for Collaboration: In Solidarity with Anoush Moazzeni.

In addition to myself performers will include Duane Ingalls, id m theft able, Owen F. Smith, Paul Sullivan and Ryan Wilks among many others. The concert will include music of many types and spoken word presentations.

This performance is on Friday, February 24 at 4pm at the IMRC Center at the University of Maine. View Facebook Event. WMEB 91.9 FM will also stream the concert live at http://wmeb-stream.maine.edu:8000/wmeb so you can listen ANYWHERE in the world! :D

Concert for Contemplation.jpg
Concert for Contemplation.jpg

Studio Update: All Knotted Up

Studio Update: All Knotted Up

Hey all! Exciting stuff. My website is like NEW! All redone, AND I just published 2 new works!

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The Act of Coming Together is the Act of Saying Goodbye

Last time you heard from me I was in Tokyo and getting ready to head to Forest Village in Chiba with an awesome team of men and women to welcome 40 AMAZING high school students, from all over the world to give them an interdisciplinary educational experience. Well, we did the thing. There is no way I can tell you everything that went down, but here are some highlights. 😃  If this isn't enough, check out a kohai blog post here.
THE NEST was designed by our Artists in Residence Yuta Koga and Laura Hilliard. We built a nest in the trees of Forest Village. It served as our morning meeting place,  housed our flag and where we sang our camp song. The purpose? To remind us daily that THE ACT OF COMING TOGETHER IS ALSO THE ACT OF SAYING GOODBYE.

I KNOW! LET'S DRESS IN DRAG!

What is a SHPILKES? Most summer camp experiences end with a talent show. For the sake of giving the kohai a chance to get their talents out of their system so they could focus one the new and unknown, we held a SHPILKES shortly after their arrival. We had a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, a trickster unicycle show, magic tricks, and song and dance. To join the kohai in the fun, sempai dressed in costumes and drag.

THE SHANTY SHACK

After two of our sempai led conversation and discussion on community, disaster mitigation, and architecture we broke into small groups equipped with a limited amount of basic supplies and instructed kohai to build a shelter that would serve as protection after a natural disaster or emergency. In order to spend the night in their shelters, they had to pass a rigorous Code of Inspection.(My team's shelter, aka the Shanty Shack, didn't make the cut). Real world skills here people.  Real world skills.

 CIVIL WAR

 It’s raining. It’s early. Each team is given a colored box that is taped shut and led into the woods where they are left in distant unfamiliar locations. No words are exchanged and teams are left to fend for themselves. In each box is a series of prompts, limited tools and food, instructing teams to build a civilization. Sempai then delivered equipment and prompts to impact the fate of the thriving or struggling civilizations in development. Civil war broke out among one team while peace reigned in another neck of the words. The project served as a great investigation of group dynamics, definitions of society, and communication. It also was another excuse for us to dress up and run around the woods.

SOCIAL CONSTRUCTS & HAIKU PORTRAITS

This particular theme was one of my babies in designing the thematic arc of the camp experience. This was a collaborative workshop series. Together we developed a series of workshops that explored social constructs, identity, gender, culture, historical narratives and mass media communications. In my particular workshop, the idea was to challenge the sempai to think about how they consume, create, and present representations of themselves as well as others.

The outcome my social construct workshops was a collaborative sound collage that was exhibited at the FEASTIVAL in my tatami room, called HAIKU PORTRAITS. The audio collage was the outcome of a series of iterative writing activities, and hours of audio recordings. Click here to listen.

LET US FEAST

Everything that we presented the kohai with essentially served as a tool kit for the FEASTIVAL. The FEASTIVAL asked kohai to ask themselves, WHO ARE YOU, what do you REPRESENT, WHAT DO YOU WANT TO SAY. Using their concepts to guide them, we encourged them do work in new materials and explore something they’re never done before. To our amazement, every single kohai created a piece of work and made themselves vulnerable to their mentors and peers. Exhibits ranged from theatrical performance, writings about their childhood experiences, letters to family, photography, animation, music, installation, sculpture and so much more. Then we feasted and burned the nest down. Everyone laughed. Everyone cried. Everyone said goodbye and parted ways.

Where I'm spending my time these days

Where I'm spending my time these days

The GAKKO studio is where I’ve been rushing off to every morning. It’s less than a mile away from my apartment, and I walk there every morning. It’s a beautiful space that is fluid and designed to harbor multiple projects.

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Monochrome Tokyo

Monochrome Tokyo

One thing that most travelers have in common, regardless of travel style, is that one of the best parts of traveling is learning how to navigate a new city, and losing a sense of direction as a way to discover and stay curious. Wandering the streets of a new environment allows you to take in new surroundings for nothing more than what they have to offer and is one of the most liberating feelings in the world.

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Studio Update: Fishnets, Lace and Family Photos

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Fishnets, Lace and Family Photos is a project that I've been working on this past semester. Since its preview at the UMaine Graduate Symposium last week, I've gladly discovered that it's a part of a larger body of work that comments on sexuality, gender, identity, and relationships. Mine to be specific.

The idea of showing this work publicly has literally kept me up at night. This is a radically intimate body of work inspired by childhood events that are at time uncomfortable to even discuss let alone hang a wall and show to hundreds of people. How could I even begin to think about posting to the Internet images that represent my sexuality, and personal affairs?

Well, I did it. I don't mean to brag, but it won second place at the Umaine Graduate Symposium. Not bad for sweating my tits off in panic.

Enough about titties, already.

Let's talk about the work at hand. Fishnets, Lace and Family Photos and the artist statement is posted below. I'd love to hear your initial response, feedback and thoughts. Email me or post a comment.

Before you continue, two last comments. First. Take note. This work didn't happen over night. This is NOT the final draft. It took me weeks to figure out what this work was even about. (Special thanks goes out to Sheila Pepe, xoxo) So if you are an emerging artist or just struggling with your process, fear not. The struggle is real. I know. First hand.

Second. Normally I would first publish this to my portfolio, which has been live for years. My blog on the other hand, I've had for only about six months and already I've decided to rebrand. The same actually goes for my portfolio.

Why am I telling you this?

Because I'm a developing artist that is willing to share the nitty gritty reality of what it takes to make money and survive in the capital A 'Art world ' and I want you to too.

KEEP GOING. 

And for those of you already making it (teachers, comrades, colleagues, lovers, enemies and friends...) I have nothing to hide.

Fishnets, Lace and Family Photos, 2016 • Scanographs, found photos, digital photographs

American culture is hyper-sexualized. Nearly every commercial exchange is marketed in a way that instructs audiences to want sex, have sex, or be sex. Additionally, and disturbingly so, has increased the sexualization of children. It is now so frequent that it has become normal, signaling that many are desensitized to their own children being subjects and targets of sexual objectification.

Silk and Lace copy
Silk and Lace copy

In the same breath, we are hypocritically prudish. The topic of sex is avoided at dinner tables, in classrooms, and in public spaces resulting in a society that develops into sexual maturity in solitude, or seeks out alternatives such porn, and distorted popular culture to fuel its sex education. This foundation begins when children are told that sex is for adults. Copulation becomes known as “it” and from the beginning sex is something that is dirty. This Victorian approach clearly is inadequate as many children sadly first experience sex as a shock, in sufferance and/or too soon, or fear it far into adulthood. Then regardless of childhood we become adults. Nowhere do we ever become sexual beings.

We always were, regardless of gender and or age.

Yet somewhere along the line, we come to the current state of sexual identity that we now lay claim to as individuals and as a society.

Snowpants copy
Snowpants copy
Bathtime copy
Bathtime copy

Fishnets, Lace and Family Photos is a visual exploration and juxtaposition of the private yet present biographical (and biological) narration that takes place within all.  As I did this work, it became clear through the shocking visuals that the woman that I am now is due to the experiences that I had as a child, and my present sexual identity: my likes, dislikes, attractions, etc., are also the conclusive result of my childhood identity.

Family Vacation copy
Family Vacation copy

While the work is uncomfortable to view, especially in public, it begs me to ask, what responsibility, if any, do we have to ourselves, and our children to develop into our sexual identities without shame and in a way that is healthy? When does this transformation truly begin to take place and is it ever finished?

Summertime copy
Summertime copy
These Are My Petals copy
These Are My Petals copy

Projection on the Bangor Standpipe!

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Happy spring to all you Maine locals! Happy spring to everyone else, too. :) So there is something I'm very excited to invite you to.

Several Intermedia MFA students,myself included , have teamed up with the Coaction Lab, and the Bangor Water District to bring the city of Bangor FLOW: an evening of water themed light and projection. This is all happening on Wednesday, May 4th (the day after tomorrow).

Here's the scoop.

This multi-media event takes place during the annual Spring Tour of the Thomas Hill Standpipe. Me and some of my colleagues are going to wrap the Thomas Hill Standpipe in a blanket of light and moving imagery inspired by the rich history and daily functions of this unique Bangor water infrastructure. The cool part is that the water tower is going to be open for tours. There will also be sound and music. It's going to be a super sensual experience.

This only happens a couple of times a year! And it's free.

Tours are going to start at 5:30pm and performance will being at 7:00pm. If you're local or going to be traveling through, please let me know and come by and say hello. I'd love to hear what you think about the performance and chat.

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FLOW-Poster11x17
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bangor standpipe-2