Studio day green screen bonanza

I've been losing sleep, as I do, when a gopher family is moving in behind my cabin, new school and classes ahead and a video project coming to a close. Yesterday something got to me. I almost had a panic attack in the middle of Yoga. I know sort of an oxymoron but there I was, heart racing, body tingling, until finally I had to leave the room. And when I did, a few more yogis followed. I was not alone. We smiled at one another through our mutual yoga haze, sat next to each other until we could hold a conversation and stand long enough to shower. It was tough. But we got through it together. Maybe it was the weather or some holiday flashback but today I and those around me... I think we felt stronger. After class I finally went and bought that $30 dollar dress I'd been stalking for 2 months and used it in part of the video I'm working on. Finally got the green screen thing going. It's pretty fun! 

Stills from a coming of middle-age story, Lessons from the Forest Part 3, 2018

Stills from a coming of middle-age story, Lessons from the Forest Part 3, 2018

Green screen is all about lighting. I got a decent, horrible, but decent set up and am just lucky to have a good camera and computer. It's still tricky but I kind like some of the sparkle and noise. Might work for some bits. It's also nice just in black.....

Lessons from the Forest Part 3, 2018

Lessons from the Forest Part 3, 2018

Tomorrow I have to make sense of all of this new footage! It's good to have some new clips to play with. Next up, how to visualize photosynthesis without putting people to sleep....!

Soundtrack LFF3 rough cut!

After hours upon hours I finally have what I feel is a damn good rough cut of LFF3 audio. Still need to work on levels and of course adding sound as it relates to video (water, fire, etc) but it's mapped out and just awkward enough that it grows on you... or at least on me. 

New statement for LFF:

Lessons from the Forest is a four part poly-lingual video series exploring forest ecology and human relationships. Responding to the growing global immigration crisis, Lessons began as an exploration of borders in nature and between people. It was a hot summer in 2015 when Sasha Petrenko was traveling through Northern Europe en route to a Bavarian artists residency. Sensing the growling tension, between local inhabitants and the people fleeing for their lives, the project originated from an impulse to reconcile the dual concerns expressed by people, family members, artists and the public alike. As moral beings, we may know we should welcome those in distress, yet as individuals and as members of a distinct culture, we may fear that we will feel a burden or be threatened by opening our borders? Where can we find answers free of the dogma of human constructs of class, politics and race?

Looking to nature to find solutions for human problems is a familiar strategy for scientists and designers but what if we could draw knowledge from ecosystems and how they are structured to solve social and political crisis? Is the relative porousness of borders in nature a more effective means than nationhood for organizing sympathetic groups? What is the role of diversity in a forest and how does it contribute to a community’s resilience? What is the role of self in a society that depends on networks and relationships to survive? How does the forest’s ecosystem handle waste?

Lessons from the Forest Part 3 explores Lichen, a plant made up of three organisms, fungi, algae and cyanobacteria*, as a model for symbiosis among community members as well as our relationship with plants through photosynthesis. The reoccurring question voiced by the characters “what does it mean I am not myself,” puts the self into question as science reveals our undeniable dependence on extra human entities and organic systems for food, water, material resources and the air we breath.

The multiple languages used throughout Lessons from the Forest, namely German, English and Czech are meant to reflect the diversity inherent in a healthy ecosystem and were chosen for reasons of familiarity and convenience. Czech is artist’s mother tongue and as the work began in Germany, german speakers were willing and close at hand. Additionally, the German people and their culturally significant relationship to the forest provided additional source material and context for the ecologically grounded project. The layered quality of the soundtrack, where words are spoken repeatedly, with different languages comprising a single sentence, pushes the words towards becoming more sound and emotion, than symbol and idea. What is left is relationships, between voices, between species. And as the relationships become more essential, the self dissolves into the network and becomes part of the ecological community.

*Most recently biologists have discovered that yeast is a member of some Lichen plants but the role and whether the relationship is parasitic or beneficial is not yet determined.

Epilogue

CAUTION: What follows is potentially an overly personal statement made by the artist but WTF: 

Lessons from the Forest is also a breakup album. In the summer of 2015 I found myself single for the first time in 20 plus years. And as a childless middle aged woman, this project is as much about ecology as it about existential dread, and grappling with human social constructs that no longer mesh with my reality. 

Arriving in Germany, a country with an unfamiliar tongue, I felt even more lost than before. With no real plans for my artist residency, I resolved to visit the forest everyday, for in the forest I’d always found belonging. Maybe it’s the extra oxygen, or how I can suddenly feel small, or maybe I knew I could just lay down and become useful mulch, or maybe it’s the beauty that soothes me. 

In a daily practice I went to forest on a borrowed girl’s bike with a front basket (perfect for AV equipment and tripod) and wide, soft, lumpy seat. A strange thing happened on several occasions in that I lost myself on the trail in the same spot. Questioning the existence of the self, pondering ‘world’ as merely a word, another human construct, I’d arrive at a fork in the trail and inevitably turn some way other than the way I wanted, eventually ending up in a bavarian suburb with no GPS or german words at my disposal. Someway or another I got myself back to the forest and finally I decided to forgo that trail entirely as it ended up… not where I wanted to be. Lesson #1. 

“I need to set some boundaries…If there are no edges, how do I know where I am?” 

“Everyday I go into the forest…. I try to stay on familiar trails, but when I think of you I get turned around and I don’t know where I am anymore…..I forget”. Lessons from the Forest Part 1.

Gradually I found my bearings, camaraderie among the other artists in residence and kind folks in the forest and in town. Generally, people would speak english for my benefit but somedays I would sit and listen and glean meaning from vocal tone, eye contact and body language. Some of my best conversations took place beyond language: a nod, a smile, a crinkling of the outside edge of the eyes or a soft tilt of the head, we came to a mutual understanding.

"Words come out of my eyes, you tilt your head and understand," Lessons from the Forest Part 3.

One early afternoon the script for all four parts of Lessons from the Forest poured out of me. I’d almost given up. I was on my way to the beer garden when something made me turn around, return to the studio, to my computer Alex, and write. It all came out in one sitting, over two years ago and now as I write this it is almost finished. At the time I didn’t know the full meaning of the work and it’s been unfolding ever since. So I’ve been taking my time. Savoring the connections and the realization that despite my marital status, or my procreative choices, in looking to nature for lessons on survival and resilience I’ve learned that I am part of an ever expanding, poly-lingual, multi-species community, and I am not alone. 

Art for Sale

New year, new opportunities to support artists in your community! I'm going to start selling my work right here at Made by Hand. Check out these fresh new goodies!

Blind Arbiter, 2014. Reed, rock, paint, waxed linen. 12 x 8 x 7 inches. $750.00

Blind Arbiter, 2014. Reed, rock, paint, waxed linen. 12 x 8 x 7 inches. $750.00

I'm also restarting my drawing series where I make drawings of animals I meet in my day to day and or on special days. Here are just a few. Drawings are on 9x12 inch acid free paper and in pencil. Unframed $120, framed $175. Raccoon is in process and bobcat is in hiding. Puma is next! Inquire for more information.

Western Grey Squirrel, 2014. Detail. 9x12 inches. Pencil on acid free Strathmore 400 series paper.

Western Grey Squirrel, 2014. Detail. 9x12 inches. Pencil on acid free Strathmore 400 series paper.

The squirrel has been my ally animal for the past few years. I feel a shift coming on am not sure what will be next. But this pic is one drawn while at Djerassi, so it's dear to my heart.

California Long Tailed Weasel, 2015. 9x12 inches. Pencil on acid free Strathmore 400 drawing paper.

California Long Tailed Weasel, 2015. 9x12 inches. Pencil on acid free Strathmore 400 drawing paper.

Now with this one I really started to get my drawing legs back as can been seen in the face. I'm looking forward to picking up the pencil again soon.... soon as I finish the video I'm working on. Please inquire for information! CONTACT

Wishing everyone a bountiful 2018!

Wishing everyone a bountiful 2018!

It's more like a honing

"....like when someone hones a piece of wood," she said to me in the parking lot, sunlight dancing on silver hair and hazel eyes. She'd approached me as I made my way to the car. She remarked, "Oh that's pretty, I can see the trees through the red in your hair," and she pointed at the 2 crimson leaved trees growing in an island in the middle of the parking lot. I looked at her and paused, a little taken back by her tender observation. Surprised slightly by her own proclamation, she laughed softly as she spoke, "I'm just being myself," she replied to my curious gaze. "Being more myself," she smiled. "I'm still working on that," I said as I turned my head and began walking again toward the car. 

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"It's like a honing," She continued. "Like when someone hones a piece of wood," she smiled and looked around then, "Happy New Year," she said as she carried on across the lot.

Happy New Years to you too I followed. Ah yes, it is more like a honing. I'll feel more myself in time. Each day is a discovery. Sometimes a stranger sees the beauty that you can't yet recognize, but you can see the beauty in them. I think that's maybe how it's supposed to be.

LLF3

Beginning to work on final piece of Lessons form the Forest series. This is part 3, not really the last chapter, second to last. I think it's about realizing that we are not islands, we are not alone. I look into lichen symbiosis and the loss of self that happens when a relationship dies. 

Composite still from Lessons from the Forest, Part 3, 2018

Composite still from Lessons from the Forest, Part 3, 2018

Starting to put together videos and images. It's going to be mostly found footage, some borrowed and some green screen. Started filming green screen today. Feel like I need to play awhile to get it to work. Then have thoughts of something else, sunset, closeup, hand brushing hair out of face. Shoulder, ocean... time to go to the beach! 

As I mentioned last time I'm so lucky to have found these two very generous Lichen experts who have given me permission to use their images. 

(Pity) Party is over!

And it's back to work folks. Last week I had some deep revelations. Reflecting on the past year plus I realize I have been experiencing a lot of transition. And that is unsettling and destabilizing. Through it though I still managed to teach, curate, design, build, exhibit and feed and clothes myself. Not bad. So I broke my foot. It's made me realize how much I depend on my body to experience life and to make a living! So I am trying to be more gentle, with my body and my mind on myself and in extension, those around me. What's this new phase from... well I got my mountain bike fixed up and I'm back on the trails, back in the forest and it's blissful.

Back on the bike! Feels better than walking actually.

Back on the bike! Feels better than walking actually.

I've been a biker for much longer than a runner so while I still miss dearly the sense of freedom found in running through the forest, riding is the next best thing and I'm so grateful for it. It's the fun I've been missing. Yoga is wonderful and has saved my mind and body over the last few months but at some point I found myself screaming (internally) "get me out of this room!!!"

Never been this far in before. Biking is FAST! Almost made it to 5 Fingers. Next time!

Never been this far in before. Biking is FAST! Almost made it to 5 Fingers. Next time!

And so now I finally feel like I can start working again. About time! Up next, the last piece of Lessons from the Forest, which is actually the 3rd sequence, since part 4 is done for the most part. The 3rd sequence deals with Lichen, photosynthesis and further "un-selfing", if I can borrow the word used by David Haskell in his book Song of Trees. I'll be performing a talk with Professor Haskell in late January, part of an exhibition organized by the amazing and inspiring Shirley Watts. Shirley has been so kind and generous to include me in 2 of her Natural Discourse events. It's so important to have creative allies in the art world. 

Image from www.nwlichens.org which is overflowing with amazing Lichen portraits and info.

Image from www.nwlichens.org which is overflowing with amazing Lichen portraits and info.

I'm gathering imagery for LLF4. This video will be composite, made up of found footage and green screen shot at new Watsonville studio. It'll include Czech, German and English voices. I'm also designing a projection screen that will be a bit more tactile than just hanging projection cloth from the ceiling. A break, a slight angle to enhance the split screens and the multiplicity of the communities described in the story.

More from www.nwlichens.org. I've reached out to them in hopes we can be friends. 

More from www.nwlichens.org. I've reached out to them in hopes we can be friends. 

I better hit the highway. It's Christmas Eve day. Driving up to the mountains to see family and friends. A few days to soak in some love and mountain air. Then back to work! Be well. Love.

On Not Running.... and other developments

In July I was running 7 miles a day, through the bavarian forest. I was 3 weeks into a Euro trip that still puzzles me. Continuing to process that journey. Running in the past year and a half has become a source of great comfort and joy. The chemicals released in my brain, the beauty I felt a part of, the pride in my growing strength, all felt very healing. Gradually though I now realize I began to rely too much on this one activity to bring me a sense of accomplishment. The need for the chemical release began to change my priorities. It became a singular thing I could do to feel good. Nothing else worked as well. And I started to over train. I know it sounds strange, silly even... but in truth I now realize I was not just running... I was running away from something, everything. Until I couldn't run any more. And that's basically where I am today. I can't run from the things that haunt me. I can't run to Germany or Prague to get away from my missteps. I can't run 6 - 7 - 9 miles a day to feel temporary freedom from my anxieties. Today... I can't run period.

During my boot wearing phase. I've since decided to take another path toward wellness.

During my boot wearing phase. I've since decided to take another path toward wellness.

I done run my feet out. It was the last weekend of September and I was stressing about an upcoming performance, not working on the video, running away from it until out on a run after dusk I remember thinking "my I am running fast and it's getting so dark....FUCK!" I rolled my ankle hard and heard and felt a distinct 'POP.' Not good. I slowed, I stopped, I tried to keep running, I walked and cried, then forced myself to keep going the 3 miles back to the car. This felt different. This time I thought I think I fucked up. 

I was so surprised to see old and new friends come out to help me move. Missing you guys.

I was so surprised to see old and new friends come out to help me move. Missing you guys.

Since that day I've only tried to run 3x and while the first time felt okay, the second better, the third was excruciating and sad. I've had X-rays, an MRI, a doctors and podiatrist visit. They want me in a boot. They tell me I have Accessory Navicular Syndrome - ACFAS and most people wear the boot for 4 - 6 weeks and are back to normal mobility. Or they have surgery. I tried the boot but could only bare it for 2 weeks at a time. Like I'm not MOST PEOPLE!!!!!

View of 2 parts of my studio. Part 3 will be a space for sound and movement research as well as recording.

View of 2 parts of my studio. Part 3 will be a space for sound and movement research as well as recording.

But to be honest, what's made it worse is that in the midst of it all I had to move my wood shop from Berkeley to Watsonville up and down flights of stairs, up and own, up and down. I'm still not done. My injury has slowed my progress. Somedays I move a few things and then I know I have to wait for the swelling to go down... It's not how I expected things to go.

Finally, with bad foot and and all managed to get my tri-fecta of tools into wood shop studio.

Finally, with bad foot and and all managed to get my tri-fecta of tools into wood shop studio.

But I'm thrilled with my new studio, it's huge and raw and full of potential... But I'm not running on all cylinders. It really feels as though I'm walking around on eggshells. I am so unsure of each step. I've put away the boot as it was unsafe and aggravating and replaced it with my fluffiest pair of HOKA running shoes and some Superfeet insoles and yesterday I bought an arch specific compression sleeve. Feet feel okay this morning....

Green screen coming soon to Studio part 3, space for sound and movement research!

Green screen coming soon to Studio part 3, space for sound and movement research!

Can I have more metaphors please? I can't run anymore. For real. I hope that someday I can but I need to look around me now and realize what it is I am running from. I live in a beautiful place, I have work that I love, a new studio, time and not much money but as long as I'm clinging to a rock hurtling through space, money funny.....

So it's personal. I know. And I'll not go into it in depth here. But now that I can't run it's time to unpack (another metaphor!) what I've been carrying with me the last few years. But it's also time to take stock of what I have achieved despite my detours and digressions. I mean, I am only human and accidents happen. I placed too much value on one small part of me and it finally gave out. My lovely feet that have carried me so many beautiful places finally said PLEASE, REST! Hmmmm. Define rest.

1reposesleep; specifically a bodily state characterized by minimal functional and metabolic activities

2a freedom from activity or labor

b a state of motionlessness or inactivity

c the repose of death

3a place for resting or lodging

4peace of mind or spirit

5a (1) a rhythmic silence in music 

(2) a character representing such a silence

b a brief pause in reading

6something used for support

Hmmm.

I do live a great deal through my body. Like a dancer, athlete, artist and musician I experience and respond to the world somatically. I am my body. But I am also my mind. That is why I am not strictly and athlete or a dancer (though on second read, those pursuits are highly mental and I'd even venture to claim the difference between a great athlete or dancer and an a good one is mental)... but an artist and a teacher, a scholar and a writer. This time has made me face the truth that I almost abandoned the intellectual part of me to be soothed by the immediate beauty and freedom found in and around the body. Our body connects us to nature in a way that is not complicated by human intellect. It's visceral and complex and mysterious, but it is not guilty or greedy... like the human mind. The human mind is harder to grasp... or maybe not. The body is a universe unto itself. To think I could know it.... I can only try to heal and be a better steward to my little slip of the universe that carries my through my existence. My body, my vehicle, my partner, my machine, my lover, my captain, my friend. Or I should say my friends given all the critters and bacteria that ride along inside and on top of me. Never alone.

2 weeks

In two weeks I'll be moved out of my Berkeley studio. Till then it's nonstop action! And boy has it already been... last week my loyal old gal, my tablesaw had a stroke. Crazy really. Apparently the speed control failed and what ended up happening is it started running 2 even 3x faster. It sounded like it was going to explode! After feeling sad, angry, confused I finally bit the bullet and bought another. Yet to turn it on. Excited. New saw... and soon new studio. 

looking inside the old Bosch....for clues.

looking inside the old Bosch....for clues.

Finishing up the last cut with my old jig-saw. Don't give up easy.

Finishing up the last cut with my old jig-saw. Don't give up easy.

On the new studio hunt, started thinking... what if I made something more than just a new studio of my own... what if I did what I've been dreaming to do (but unable to afford to do) in Watsonville!!?? I am doing it: Watsonville Art+Ecology Center will be a workshop, gallery, gathering space for artists and the public to exchange ideas around creativity and creating a new ecology.... something like that. I need to get a elevator pitch and all that. But I feel like this is what I've been looking to do for sometime. A little door opens. But in the present moment I must focus on what is directly in front of me... finishing up projects for FD, moving out and school. Back to it!

Sleep when I'm....

How I end up here again and again is amazing. Some kind of pattern. Or unfortunate habit. Time to get jiggy with it!

Squaring up the new homemade tenoning jig.

Squaring up the new homemade tenoning jig.

Loads to get done today and then music night at 7:30. Yay! What to do first? I'm at a point where details come into play and it seems a little overwhelming. But I have to press on. Finishing must begin tomorrow! It's tricky because there are several parts to each bench. a) the bench b) the cubbie w/sliding door and c) a pair of racks. I think I'll start by finishing the benches! One is still missing legs. Here we go:

  • glue up last legs
  • sand bench parts, dry fit legs
  • trim out cubbies
  • fit doors to cubbies
  • arrange upstairs as staining, sealing station for cubbies and racks
  • go get last ash and peruvian walnut at MacBeaths
  • mill parts for racks
  • break edges, sand rack parts
  • tape off and stain rack parts
  • stain benches
  • stain cubbies
My signature big finger joint design. Ash is so heavy, but pretty.

My signature big finger joint design. Ash is so heavy, but pretty.

Wow. Saturday will be all about sealing. I think I can make it. I know I can. Back at the cabin Monday night. I am dreaming about waking up there, watching the sun rise, making some bread for my classes, yoga and my first run in 2 1/2 weeks. Ankle feels ready for a little run. 

Ash on the LT and sugar pine on the RT. Going to make some 3-legged benches out of the pine with lathe turned cherry legs. Think I have just enough!

Ash on the LT and sugar pine on the RT. Going to make some 3-legged benches out of the pine with lathe turned cherry legs. Think I have just enough!

Last week this morning!

Grateful and inspired by the performances Friday before last at TAC. A wonderful piece in the paper honoring TAC and Director, generous, gorgeous creator, artist dancer Leyya Tawil. Check it out here: eastbayexpress.com/oakland/temescal-art-center-a-scrappy-interdisciplinary-haven-turns-20/Content?oid=9793773

Scene from performance at TAC 10/6/17

Scene from performance at TAC 10/6/17

TAC 10/6/17

TAC 10/6/17

Gillian representing the New Urban Naturalists at TAC 10/6

Gillian representing the New Urban Naturalists at TAC 10/6

Now working on first of last two projects to be completed in my lovely Berkeley studio. That's right, I am moving out. This place has been so wonderful. A kind of home base over the last few years. I hope to find something down south. 40% rent increase and other issues have forced me to make the tough choice to cut my last real concrete connection to the Bay. I will always come back but I need to go with this pull that is drawing me south. There's something there for me to discover.

My heart is heavy now. I've been able to catch up on some projects because school was cancelled all week due to the Napa/Sonoma fires. It's heart breaking to imagine the smoke we are breathing is what's left of peoples homes, memories, lives. The say that they are making progress and holding ground but I don't know how we are going to start back up... we will have to. I want to spend time Sunday and Monday looking again at my syllabi to see what can be done so we can still have a full and enriching semester. I know that some of my students will be deeply affected by this disaster. We all feel it, in our lungs, our eyes, our spirits. We are so connected to the forest it's overwhelming! I work with wood. I make video and performance art about the forest. I feel like I want to respond, express, somehow. It's something to ponder today.

Today: (in no particular order)

  1. design cubbies and get plywood.
  2. measure for brass
  3. clean brass
  4. get check
  5. glue up tops and legs!
  6. Yoga please 5PM

No school until at least Wednesday. I need to take advantage of this time. I miss the air. What we don't even notice on a normal day, now we can see and feel. Is this what it feels like to live and breathe in Beijing? Is this the future?

Performance this Friday at Temescal

So grateful to be included in this weekend's celebration @temescalartcenter. Years ago when I was a in a serious transition in my practice, through a friend I met Leyya Tawil, director, dance maker, amazing human. Leyya invited me to join the TAC community and my creativity has never been the same since. Working with dancers, movement practitioners continues to influence and transform my work. I am seriously still such a newbie to dance but as a self taught dancer finding TAC, Leyya and her community was like finding home. I will be premiering a new video for performance, the final scene of Lessons from the Forest (this is a provisional draft but it's something!) and another iteration of A World Without Nature, 2017. Still much work to do but it feels good working! Thank you for the inspirational kick in the butt!

Working it.

Working it.

Back in Cali - part 2

4 days in NY and then caught a flight to SFO, finally arriving in California on August 6th. I've been back in California for 1 week and I haven't stopped moving. Working to finish one job in order to start another and trying to prepare for school, and a show. All the while trying to process my experience over the last 6 weeks. Here's a few pictures to catch up to today. The dirty studio shots are brought to us by our new landlords who tore off the roof with little to no preparation and let debris and soot shower down into our studios for days. My studio is still a mess, but I must keep working. Others are getting cleaned. We, the tenants meet Thursday to discuss next steps.

Since the 6th I've been in Berkeley, Corralitos, Corte Madera and Auburn. Feeling extremely nomadic. New ideas though about the meaning of place and nomadism. Will write on it soon. Today is a workday: 

  1. Check Charlie's for drill and spade bit.
  2. Make new jig for drill into table top. (9)
  3. Drill new holes in brass 
  4. Clean brass 
  5. Make drawer fronts 
  6. Add slides to draws e-f
  7. Make shims for drop down leaf
  8. Clean tools and pack for installation (12)
  9. At FD 1 - 3:30 PM
  10. Cut last 2 pieces of brass
  11. Return to FB install last brass
  12. Clean, touch up and seal after hours.
  13. Go home or stay at CM

Really love to go home tonight but need to prep studio for big clean. I can take the 1 home tomorrow morning. It'll be nice. Today is all about work. Get it done! Then go home.

new track US ending of Lessons from the Forest...

Finally, got some work done on this second to last night of my unofficial residency. Thinking is work too though you know. But glad to get something more aural down, something that can exist outside of my own skull... in someone else's skull! New version of the final audio for the last sequence of Lessons from the Forest. Might be getting somewhere. As I was thinking today, do it, push it into being, finish it and move on...

On Running

This morning I woke up with last nights worries still on my mind. What's the point in sleeping if you wake up with that same old feeling. For a change, the sky was clear and the sun was out though the weather forecast called for rain. No one knows. I made some coffee, sat down to look at emails, FB, the news online, anything, something to pull me out of my head and into the new day but yesterday's ghosts are stubborn companions. I kept glancing out the window until a feeling of urgency seized my body. I have to go, get out and run...  But my running clothes are still in the dryer, wet from yesterday... where are my shoes?

My shoes were dry and by the door so in what I was wearing, white corduroys and a red windbreaker, I went out the door, running...

Nothing feels better to me these days. It's the only time my body and brain seem to be working together. It only took a few minutes to realize I'd overdressed but I didn't stop as I slipped off my jacket, tied it around my waist and kept on running...

Over the asphalt until it turns to gravel, past the neat german houses and the farms and fields of corn, across the bridge spanning the autobahn into the forest, where the air still glimmered with mist in the morning light. As the path gently bends, I cannot see around the corner, what the future holds, but it doesn't matter. 

Body-Mind connection my ego isolated, slips of paper at her feet, letters of regret, unmet expectations, to find the will to let it all go, to feel today free of the weight, the wait.... Nothing else really matters. I have nothing else, none of us do, besides today. 

I run for 3 miles before stopping to catch my breath. Looking down I notice my corduroys and can't help but smile. I bend down to pick up a twig, from a fir or a spruce, to admire the lichen laced around it, and the how the colors, saturated with rain, fill my eyes with wonder.  My mind drifts on thoughts about fallen trees, time and space, symbiosis, friendship. I put the branch down and keep on running, across the damp earth, that gives a little, welcoming and returning a little bounce of energy, a burst of dew arches at my heels and it feels like I'm getting closer to something...

It's raining now. I'm glad to be inside. My legs are tired but not sore. The arch of my left foot, the cramp in my right upper calf, old friends now, call to mind my vulnerable, resilient, sensitive, strong, human body. All our bodies with grace carrying us through the days, sunlit and golden, or to the bone cold, wet hair loose with rain running down our backs when inside it's like a miracle, a fire, burns. 

As long as I can I will keep on running.

 

On Anxiety

Someone posted something on FB the other day about how anxiety disorder can give you super powers. It was a nice article but sort of cute. Running today I thought more about the subject:

The thing about anxiety that I find so transformative is the way it makes me feel after the panic has subsided. After the cold hard clasp around my neck has loosened, replaced by the familiar damp comfort of my own sweat I am in awe of it all. I am in awe of the rhythm of my breath, and the continuing beat of my heart muscle encased in blood that circulates through my entire body, from the top of my head to the tip of my toes, blood I can see sometimes when I make an error in judgement. This is the gift of anxiety, something others might experience through the use of hallucinogenic drugs, or near life-near death experiences. I can't say I've been near death in a clinical manner but the way one with anxiety faces the limitless abyss of ones own making is a kind of death that you experience but then are pardoned from and in this after life you have a new awareness, your senses are heightened.  Some people might say you are a very sensitive person... but I say We are alive.

Yea, it's my birthday

...Which can be tricky for us sensitive types. I was trying to ready myself but it was still a bit tough waking up alone and making my first cup of coffee, but there was some kind of energy, a softness against my back, bouying me, keeping me from falling completely, nudging me forward, gently encouraging me to create a kind day. Out on the trail before 8AM I ran into some realizations. I don't need to write them down. I know it in my heart. Running listening to the air, the birds and trees my mind drifting between ideas of forgiveness and healing and ultimately at spirit of confidence and determination. My mom sent a note and I replied in a slightly catty tone (I am a Leo!) sending her a link to the shoes currently occupying the top of my birthday wish list. HOKA LOVE! These shoes brought me back to running, something I am really proud I'm able to do again. Heading out soon in fact, today, for a longer run. Shooting for 7 - 8 miles, then tomorrow can be a recovery day. But last night, dinner, Filet Mignon, Glazed Ginger Carrots, Roasted Cauliflower, Brown Rice and for dessert, banana bread with cherries, chocolate and cream.... some Stone IPAs wow!!!! What a treat. I have the energy I think to run a bit longer today.

Birthday wishes.... Hoka ATR Love!

Birthday wishes.... Hoka ATR Love!

I don't usually think of myself as a flowers type of gal but this morning these couldn't be sweeter! From my hosts at Oberpfälzer Künstlerhaus. Cupcake did not make the photoshoot.

I don't usually think of myself as a flowers type of gal but this morning these couldn't be sweeter! From my hosts at Oberpfälzer Künstlerhaus. Cupcake did not make the photoshoot.

Studio now, Czech writing, German dictionary, SM58 and my laptop that I finally paid off just yesterday!

Studio now, Czech writing, German dictionary, SM58 and my laptop that I finally paid off just yesterday!

Our show has also been getting some write ups, most notably from Helmut Hein, MZ, a philosopher and journalist from Regensburg. The article is very positive. There are some errors, Santa Cruz is not a small town... and my parents are not "primeval." Some things get lost in translation for sure. One has to move around the words, try to understand the spirit and meaning and connections. Translation is not a literal exercise. I've been doing a lot of it lately and it's been very satisfying and challenging.

I like this picture! Though I have a little bedhead going on in the back. Dominic and Susanne... I hope to stay in touch with both.

I like this picture! Though I have a little bedhead going on in the back. Dominic and Susanne... I hope to stay in touch with both.

I think I maybe moving toward a new future line of research. It's inevitable I suppose. But I've been reading about Language via David Abrahms wonderful book Spell of the Sensous. I feel as though I should read it again but I'm on to the next, Green Bloc by Maja Fowkes about Ecological Art during the Socialist/Communist era in Central and Eastern Europe. There is something uniquely effective about this work being made during that period of political oppression. And of course I have a personal connection to it, as part of my identity, my ancestry and my contemporary art practice. It's like this maybe: In the USA there is so much abundance and at the same time such civil discontent.

There are layers and layers of social issues from civil rights, reparations for slavery, first nations, womens' rights to equal pay, to have control over their own bodies, and all the socially sanctioned phobias against immigrants, gays, lesbians, trans people, class, economical, racial oppression and privilege....phew to much to name...  so focusing on the environment might seem to some a sort of soft, elitist, or privileged. I don't know, this is just a slowly evolving idea... making ecological work seems somehow less pointed, on point (?) than making work on social issues, I get the feeling at least sometimes.

Yet it only takes a moment to understand how it is all connected. And even then though it carries this sort of utopian hippie leisure class aura. SO in the context of political oppression, ecological work possesses a certain weight possibly because the environment, the plants, animals, bio-systems abused by power structures can be readily imagined as symbols of under-represented or oppressed social classes.

But it's also very exciting to learn about what was going on behind the iron curtain, how these artists were creating an art form and practice that would resonate for decades and generations to come. I'm into it. All right. It's 9AM. I need to get myself up and into the studio. May be a little break in the storm today at noon and would love to run between the rain drops. Here is a list of somethings I'd love to touch on today:

  1. Run!
  2. Work on new classes 1 hour
  3. Work on Lichen - I need to draw up possible track patterns. Made it longer last night and decided some things. The video projections can be simple, and there is a figure/dancer that passes over the 3 separate channels, once alone, then in 3s. in silhouette? 
  4. Us needs the vocal track. Transplant existing and sing along with it.
  5. Go through video for Us. 
  6. Imagine what the last frames might be like.
  7. Look at FD-RS project dimensions and make a basic sketch.
  8. Important phone call 7PM - 10PM!
  9. Read Green Bloc
  10. Read Post-Commodity
  11. Make visual outline for Deacon essay.

Freaking the Flow Out!

The opening reception was fun and well attended. We sat for an interview with a photographer/philosopher from Regensburg then went to lunch at the new cafe next door to the residency. I really enjoyed chatting with everyone. I've been feeling isolated, in my non-german speaker world... but I learned to say Ich sprechen kein deutch and people really opened up and started speaking to me! Plus some people lamented that they did not know more czech. The borders were closed for so long... they would say. And so the day went well but after everyone departed I felt restless so I worked on Lichen some more and got it further along. Still I have no footage and:

  1. I like the moments when the english and czech meet or stagger but sometimes it's too jumbled. I will have to devise a sort of weaving pattern. Jumbled moments can happen but seldom and for a reason.
  2. Now that it's taken me 2 days to pronounce the czech (I could redo it all now as well, faster, and may have too) I can only imagine the German will take at least twice as long! And I still need the translation from the interns. Nudge that along today. (email is okay)
  3. Pick up stuff to return to Amazon.de
  4. Video for Lichen????? None taken yet. Hoping to go out later today as in 20 minutes! Though it may rain.
  5. Some video taken last night for US. I hope I am not getting ahead of myself. Excited at the moment. But I know sometimes the first sort of revelation is not the final... but sometimes it is....
Incomplete Arrival, 2017

Incomplete Arrival, 2017

Really odd stuff. But something. Maybe a little heavy handed right now. Plan to soften it and overlay, much softer. This is the raw material.

Incomplete Arrival, 2017

Incomplete Arrival, 2017

Incomplete arrival, 2017

Incomplete arrival, 2017

Incomplete Arrival, 2017

Incomplete Arrival, 2017

I also filmed the boombox... that was what started it all. I thought I'd turned it off but it was blinking at me from across the room. It's some sweet and simple footage. Not sure if it's the one but it might squeak into the mix. 

Afterwards I made the mistake of going online and was ambushed by domestic concerns. It sent me into a spiral of anxiety. I began to visualize a abandoned treadmill, running, humming, with a repetitive thrumming where the belt track seam hit the driving pulley, and strewn about the machine were books and boxes and clothes and unfinished furniture parts. Oh my lordy lord goddess help me take another deep breath! Later on my sleep was disrupted by a severe leg cramp. I can still feel it in my upper calf. But by the time I woke up a voice inside was saying, "WTF. Don't be a victim here. Take all the time it needs. But get to work and work smart....," 

Then I read some of David Sedaris's Diaries and I feel considerably better (looking for a few comedic essays for my Professional Practice class because future artists must at least have a well developed sense of humor, or at least know where to find some comic relief!). Heck, if it's all gone to heck in a hand basket at home, there's as I've realized, the rest of the world.

Gotta get serious. Where's my toothbrush. I'm ready.

Studio Daze

And I travel half way around the world to finally get some solid studio daze? Or is my studio now expanded, existing all around me, enveloping me like the very environment from which I take breath. I breathe it in. I am grateful. 

Byrne-Milliron Forest, Santa Cruz County, California USA

Byrne-Milliron Forest, Santa Cruz County, California USA

I have returned to work on the last two episodes of the first season (haha why not!) of Lessons from the Forest. The sequences deal with Lichen and the ever expanding universe, macro and micro as we are nested in both at once. Our personal perspective is an echo of an enveloping reality that echoes out beyond our conscious capacity... or is that it's yet untapped. Can we feel it somehow, in a field, in our hearts, the infinity of being in the present? 

Minerals from the Berlin Natural History Museum July 2017

Minerals from the Berlin Natural History Museum July 2017

Plans today include working on audio, meeting the mayor of Schwandorf, lunch with the director of the Art Center where I am staying and hopefully some socializing with the 3 other artists in the show. This has been a very solitary experience. Not knowing the language, hardly a drop, really limits ones hopes and desires to communicate. I keep trying to push myself out the door and down the street to the neighborhood biergarten but I am ashamed. It is a feeling I must endure. This is how language works sometimes. It keeps us apart. I'll practice a few phrases next. I will make it a goal to go to that biergarten! Perhaps on my birthday... which is Tuesday, July 25! 

Two baskets (3 feet and 6 feet tall) from 2016, San Francisco, CA  USA

Two baskets (3 feet and 6 feet tall) from 2016, San Francisco, CA  USA

Looking back at some work from this past year I see that it wasn't all a loss. These guys above, though problematic (which could be more an issue of studio dimensions and storage space) moved my work in a new directions. Materially there are definite issues. But I believe I could find something more resilient, more forgiving in others like these. I also liked the wall mounted version and hope to make more of those for fun and experimentation.

More little worlds, total height around 12", maybe 10" wide. From my de Young Museum installation October, 2016, San Francisco, CA  USA

More little worlds, total height around 12", maybe 10" wide. From my de Young Museum installation October, 2016, San Francisco, CA  USA

From Abrams: If the past makes up the ground underneath our feet, we may benefit from on occasion, reexamining recent events to better understand where we stand, in the present. As it's my birthday month, July, I am being fiercely critical of myself. But also in awe of the flow of events. Can't list them now. Turning towards the new day in front of me, but my feet feel like they are suddenly standing on firmer, but more forgiving ground. 

Soft Sundays from Byrne-Milliron Forest, Santa Cruz County, CA  USA

Soft Sundays from Byrne-Milliron Forest, Santa Cruz County, CA  USA

Order of operations:

  1. Work on audio 1 hr
  2. Get ready for meetings
  3. Meet and greet
  4. Lunch with Andrea

We're getting a pretty solid rain now. The forest will be pleased. Lichen will be refreshed and ready for filming in the coming days. The tripod I managed to get my hands on weighs more than my bike! Ha! Not really but it's pretty solid. I'll find some rope and make it happen. Audio first, then video. Once I have the footage it's nearly there... or somewhere... must keep things open for magical accidents, those that happen when we pay close and constant attention to the work, when we let go of expectations and just let it unfold. But gotta get all my parts on the table.

Caio for now! Or I should practice... Tchuss!