05.09.16 prompt: LIGHT
Jackie Avery, painter + Katie Pelletier, writer/photographer
Julie Gedrose, textile artist + Kathleen Lane, writer
Alex Behr, writer + Dardi Troen, artist
Shawn Bowman, artist + Giuseppe Lipari, artist
Daniel Buchanan, musician + Andrea Rosselle, artist
Heather Hawksford, photographer + Reed Harkness, filmmaker
Mette Hornung Rankin, artist + Jason Maurer, writer
Alyson Osborn, actor + Michael Harvey, winemaker/woodworker
Davis Slater, writer + Jessica Beer, photographer
Jennifer Stady, designer + Elizabeth Scott, writer
Jennifer Rabin, writer/conceptual artist + Ross Chappell, writer/theater artist
We did this one a little different in two ways:
First, we asked each invited artist to bring a partner who worked in a medium different from their own, and then create together.
Second, before beginning to create at 7, we invited singer and vocal teacher extraordinaire Daniel Buchanan to lead the whole group of us (22 in all!) in a mini singing workshop, just to see what would happen. The resulting ten minutes proved remarkable. Dan had us all singing harmony, in a round, with loud, confident voices. The room was buzzing when we went our separate ways to begin our work.
Ross Chappell (writer/theater artist) + Jennifer Rabin (writer/conceptual artist): This SHARE turned out to be particularly magical. I was home sick, which meant that Ross and I would be limited to phone and text exchanges as our only means of collaborating. While waiting in bed to find out the night’s prompt, I was struck with a strong feeling that it would somehow pertain to Ross. When he called to tell me that the prompt was LIGHT, I laughed. Funnier still was the fact that he hadn’t put it together yet in his mind. (This will be hilarious to you after you’ve seen the video.)
Since Ross is a talented theater artist in addition to being a writer, we decided that it would make sense to write a monologue that he would perform. We talked for ten minutes over the phone about a loose concept, and then let intuition be our guide for the remainder of the process. We communicated via text only when something worthy presented itself. Every time I sent him something, I got a text back saying, “Oooh, this dovetails perfectly with what I’m working on right now.” And so it went. This video is the first and only draft, and the first and only time it was read through.
“Death Valley,” Jackie Avery (painter) + Katie Pelletier (writer): Working with the prompt of ‘light’, Katie and I immediately started talking about the desert- with its strong brightness. We discussed the power of optimism, and light humor. In the end, she wrote a beautiful, earthy poem in the background of my painting of a woman, who I imagined to be on a glamorous, enlightening, desert holiday.
Jennifer Stady (designer) + Elizabeth Scott (writer): We approached the Prompt of “LIGHT” from the perspective of writing and how to capture it as the story unfolded. Liz’ story idea was about the desire to escape darkness and move towards the light. As the story developed, her words both spoken and written were captured as they hit the page and transcribed in handwriting onto strips of tracing paper which were then cut up and assembled to create one big long story. There are 550 words in the piece and it measures approximately 112 feet long. During the periods of contemplation and waiting for the writing to take shape, Jen drew shapes and patterns onto the paper as a resting place for the mind but a continuation of the effort so that the entire 2 hours of working together was filled with either writing or drawing and this long story is the record of all of it.
"The Little Rock," Jason Maurer (writer) + Mette Hornung Rankin (artist)
We brainstormed a fair number of ideas quickly, talking about the different definitions of light, the materials we had brought with us (Jason: musical instruments / Mette: paper, scissors, an old calendar and a circle punch) and how we usually worked designer + writer. Once Jason produced a pocket flashlight the idea of using light in the execution felt right. We agreed the story should be somewhat like the story of creation, and after Jason doing some quick writing about a rock being born and Mette referencing Johnny Cash’s “The Man Comes Around” we parted ways to write / create a shadow play.
Jason wrote the story, and we checked in every 20 minutes or so to see what scenes Mette needed to cut out. Playing with the light VS paper distance and how they interacted gave some neat effects with the shadow story on the wall. The old calendar came in handy in its dismantled status as the straightened spiral binding was used to hold up the shadow characters and the calendar cover was used to tie the main scene to. The puppets were timed to line up with Jason reading the story to a guitar soundtrack he played. Jason then ended the tiny play with a rendition of Shine a Little Light.
People clapped and smiled.
A long, long time ago, before any of you were here, before computers and trees and dreams, a rock was born.
As the rock grew, it realized that it knew nothing of itself. It did not know if it was as big as the universe or if it was so small it could be dropped on a beach and never found again.
It was a sad time for the rock. So sad it would make a moaning sound, a deep and mournful howl that could be heard across the universe.
But there were other rocks that hung in the black air, and they awoke to the sound of the sad wail. At first it made them happy because they knew that they were not alone. But then it made them sad, because they too could not feel anything but the vast loneliness that filled the space between them.
Then the biggest rock of all the rocks, feeling the pain of the universe, began to cry. It cried and cried, so hard that it started to break. Tears of light sprang forth. Little drops like gold crystals arced into the dark, sparking the air around the big rock.
And the more it cried, the more it broke. Rays of light shot into the empty space, filling the skies and touching each of the lonely rocks, a kiss of warm, wet light.
The dark between the rocks was not dark at all anymore. The rocks could see each other. They were planets. They were neighbors. Weird looking neighbors with colors and stripes and rings. But together they were a family. And this made them so happy they spun around and sang for the rest of forever.
Alex Behr (writer) + Dardi Troen (artist): Dardi has a tattoo of a raven holding the sun in its mouth, coincidentally connecting to the theme — so I asked her about that story and told her the story of my star tattoo (another double meaning, as it’s an ironic take on the lure of LA and becoming a Hollywood star — I got one w/ my old bandmate Debbi in 1991 … it turns out the band we were staying with were recording one of the biggest albums in rock history — Nevermind).
But we didn't go in that light/star/fame direction. We brought it back to myths (I used to study folklore) and Isaac Newton (Dardi's current interest). She had made lanterns before at a Halloween craft party long ao, and luckily I'd brought black paper and she had the rest of the supplies and the artistic talent to make one! We talked for at least an hour, so our ideas coalesced then. She made the lantern quickly. My sewing machine remained quiet, but I met a cool textile artist and now know where to get Pendleton remnants! I took notes, practiced it, and told the story so we could have the room be fairly dark. I was nervous about going last, but my story (about telling stories) ended up tying a lot of people's together.
Embroidery by visual artist Andrea Roselle, accompanied by singer/songwrier Daniel Buchanan's piano composition, "We're All On Our Own.
Andrea + Daniel: We responded to the prompt "light" by thinking about the ways in which religious culture can sometimes be a confusing and absurd place. Our personal experiences, both good and bad, informed our decision to play with ideas about religious messaging in our work.