How We Dwell: Final Dwell

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After one full year of artists coming in and invading my space, I’ve decided to have them come back and do it all together for a big finale.

I moved out of my apartment a month early. With the empty space I gave each artist (including myself)  a four hour block to put up an installation building upon the person before. Check out the images here!

The experience has been fantastical. I have no other word to describe it. Thank you so much!

watch nothing to see everything.

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Between Becky and Graham’s two installation the theme of late seems to be foot movement. Maybe it’s the weather, but maybe it’s the fulfillment of self-sufficiency. With the state of the economy right now – investing in yourself and testing yourself to realize just how much you are truly capable of accomplishing will have to be the new black and I embrace it whole heartedly.

But what happens when your body has you trapped and lets your mind wander free? The ultimate form of chlosterphobia.

I believe life setbacks end up serving some “grand” purpose in our life and Becky’s injury has in some small way highlighted her priorities. Running with Zoë is a great memory, a goal, and an accomplishment. The motion of stirring cookie dough even makes her happy because she is finally rid of the crutch. The crutch as both a tool and an aide can be quite handy, but it is a constant symbol of dependence pointing out the very thing we are incapable of doing.

But crutches come in all shapes and sizes. We are all aware of this.

The past six months have been a roller coaster for my grandmother. Complications from both surgery and a stroke have left her with use of only her left arm. A once active swimmer, she now has to rely on others and her own problem solving intuition to get through one day. Her entire life is out of her hands and if I think about it too much I can’t breath. Complete dependence is probably my biggest fear, but I was wondering why sometimes I feel just as trapped even now. I remember being debilitating shy when I was younger. Barely capable of kicking a soccer ball when my dad took me for team sign up at age five, I was so scared of the other kids, worried they would pick on me for some irrational reason. I eventually adapted and learned to observe and then act. Observing allowed distance to create comfort. It became my crutch and it still is. I need to understand before I can feel comfortable enough to open my mouth. It’s my own self-imprisonment. You will never see me on a stage. I have to give a toast at my best friend’s wedding this weekend and I want to vomit at the thought of 200 people looking at me.

Becky’s escape from the crutch has left a larger space for the things she loves – baking, painting, making, running, walking, Zoë time! Foot maps. Mobility realized. These impressions Becky and Zoë have left on my floor become a web of line and motion. The ethereal quality of Zoë’s ink steps mixes with the uncertain line of Becky’s foot trace to create the most complex ballroom dance sequence I have ever seen. They must have had a ball.

I’m sorry. I couldn’t help it.

PHOTOS

Left foot hits floor: ausgezeichnet!

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The ability to walk is one of the best things in the world. I’ve endured a total of five walkless months in my 38 years so far – not really so long, but long enough to be certain of this. My most recent left ankle malfunction extended through this past January. I’ve been walking again for almost two months now, but haven’t ceased to wonder at the ability of my feet to carry me across the room, down the street and to keep the rest of me aloft as I pace in front of an unfinished painting. Pure bliss.

So, as the final How We Dwell-ist, I celebrate mobility, walkability, and the reboundability of my left ankle and my dog Zoe’s left elbow (more on this below) … and that of all the left ankles and all the left animal elbows in the world, even. During one short weekend (one day and a half, really) in Megan’s sweet dwelling space, I have made visible the occurrence of every instance that my left foot hit the floor. Rejoice! And most instances that Zoe’s left paw padded along. Ausgezeichnet!

While living in Megan’s apartment, I also made a point to do all the things I missed doing most when my ankle was sick. I worked on a significantly-sized painting – standing, pacing, mobile, free. I stirred up cookies for the first time since November (crutches don’t leave your arms free for baking or cooking ease). I walked my dog. I walked my dog from one end of the apartment to the other. And again.

There’s more to the story if you care. It goes like this: running is pretty high up there, too on my list of wonderfuls. My best days have started with a good run with Zoe in the gentle Portland rain. For seven years Zoe and I pounded the pavement together, three mornings a week. We took a break for almost a year while I needed to build up strength after my second ankle-sprain-nerve-condition combo. During that time, she was my rehab partner. We added another two minutes length to our walk each week until we graduated to speedwalking: one minute quick for every five minutes slow. Finally speedwalking mixed with running until we could go the full three miles together – one whole year of unquestioning patient encouragement at my side.

We also took a shorter break from running twice due to left elbow inflammation — Zoe’s left elbow — slightly mysterious, and always dissipating within four days or so. But finally just over a year ago, i had to retire her. She was 8 1/2, or 60 in dog-years and had begun to limp significantly, favoring her left forelimb. She recovered as soon as the running stopped but never forgave me for continuing to run on my own without her, whining at the door as I left with my running shoes and ankle brace laced.

Alas, these days she is my rehab partner once again. I think she’s still spry enough to see me through the speedwalking stages. I honestly don’t know if I’ll make it beyond that this time, either. But for now I’ll stay busy enough, thankfully pacing in front of unfinished paintings, standing at the counter stirring cookies and nimbly walking my dog through the streets of Baltimore.

- Becky Slemmons

Tape Invasion

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Modern use of the post modern map has redefined our visual relationship with where we are and where we want to go. It seems like everyone I know bows before their Garmin or Google maps before making any sort of focused movement. I understand it makes life VERY easy and I have been known to Google directions from time to time, but there just seems to be such a lack of faith in our own ability to read a map and coordinate ourselves in the world.
My life has turned upside down like a quick flip of a pancake. I visualize my past daily life as a series of intertwining dotted paths like the the adventures of Billy in the Family Circus. Every morning for the past three years I’ve made the three mile trip to work by public transportation, car, bike, and my own two feet and with each trip I tried to find a new path in an attempt to convince myself my life had a balance of variables and constants. Yet, aside from the casual sidestep there was very little variety. And now my dotted path has been sanctioned to my apartment. If only we could have taped maps to show us where we fucked up.
As it turns out my break from the working world couldn’t have happened at a better time. Due to some unfortunate (but not horrible) circumstances, I find myself taking care of my hard-of-hearing grandfather (Vince) on a daily basis. I drive him from here to there, I make sure he has someone LOUD to talk to, gas in his car, and potato chips to eat. His whole life has been turned around as well and I’m just trying to navigate the easiest possible path for the two of us.
The routine of each of our worlds had come to a sudden halt, so now what? I have no map, no vision of what’s next.
Fear not, the universe has a way of mapping things out. Graham has provided me with a key-less tape map to my visible, tangible, motive world. The lightning rods of color turn my apartment into what one friend has labeled “a living animation” and I couldn’t agree more. There is a vibration to the space now that Graham has left his mark.

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It’s interesting to see how his performative practice played out in such an intimate space. He has his own sense of awareness and mobility within the world. With a ‘if you want it, do it’ attitude no maps are needed, only those you create for yourself. Like a shepherd leading his flock, Graham pontificates to us the path; what should be seen, what should be touched, all with complete honest sincerity. His live blogging is a testament to his communal call for interactivity with both his audience and himself. There are moments of humor…”9:40am – #2, I was full of it.” and moments of introspection of the work and it’s purpose “Making art within and about the situation of someone’s home is a unique condition. I am accustomed to addressing a broad and not entirely defined public, yet with this project I find myself more invested in Ms. Lavelle’s reaction. This is because I know that half of the psychic power of making art here will reverberate only between her and I, within this space, as separated by scheduled fragments of time.”

And that’s just it. there are no maps only scheduled fragments of times so it’s best just to take them one at a time and enjoy it.

veiw Graham’s photos of the installation  here

*some food for thought – why the F*** isn’t google a non-proper verb yet? well…Google and ye shall receive.

“Fearing the genericizing and potential loss of its trademark, Google has discouraged use of the word as a verb, particularly when used as a synonym for general web searching. In February 23, 2003[6], the company sent a cease and desist letter to Paul McFedries, creator of Word Spy, a website that tracks neologisms.[7] In an article in the Washington Post, Frank Ahrens discussed the letter he received from a Google lawyer that demonstrated “appropriate” and “inappropriate” ways to use the verb “google”.[8] It was reported that, in response to this concern, lexicographers for the Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary lowercased the actual entry for the word, google, while maintaining the capitalization of the search engine in their definition, “to use the Google search engine to seek online information” (a concern which did not deter the Oxford editors from preserving the history of both “cases”).[9] In October 25, 2006, Google sent a plea to the public requesting that “you should please only use ‘Google’ when you’re actually referring to Google Inc. and our services.”[10]“

Liveblogging the DWELL – [graham]

LOOOKY on my BLORG

‘pull apart the pixels’

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try me on for size.

The proverbial closet. Oh, how true to be locked inside. But sadly…i’m not. I have no doors on my closet and the contents are usually spilling out into my dining room/kitchen nook/back porch. Megan’s foray into my world of clothes was daunting not only for sheer abundance, but for the numerous lives she took on for nine hours. Lives I left long ago,  2, 5, 10 years ago, I just can’t let go of them.

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Megan…but what Megan? Megan Hildebrant or Hildy (as I prefer) moves in and tries my life on for size. I still don’t know how she did it. I swear one trip to a department store dressing room shaves at least a year off my life. But she has dressed herself into compositions of my life. The result is a living catalogue of me and my consumption. Vintage inspired portraits pixel their way across my walls like a series of old JC Penny ads. At moments I have to stop myself because I think it’s actually me in the photograph. My own clothes remind me of ME and the only thing I can feel is utter humiliation. How much is too much and where does my past stop and my present begin? Do I mask behind my clothes or are they just an extension of my projectory persona?

It was 1994,  Kurt Cobain had just killed himself and it felt like every 12 year old I met was personally and profoundly effected/affected by his death – every one but me. I liked Nirvana, but I was also still listening to Reba McIntyre. Little did I know I was about to be bitch slapped by the grunge movement with flannel. I went from a small conservative Virginia town to Louisville, Ky where my first friend discussed her clinical depression and kids were practically having sex on the bus. The move proved to be a pivotal shift and I knew this was going to be my badass phase. I immediately demanded a trip to the thrift store for flannel, tore a hole in my jeans, and traded in my chucks for One-Stars. I had my first puff of a cigarette, my first shot of whiskey, my first kiss (all secrets from my parents until now…sorry!). I was Angela from My So Called Life, only I didn’t have the friends from my past haunting me with who I really was nor did I have Jordan Catalano, but if the metaphor fits… I quote her unending wisdom: “People always say how you should be yourself, like yourself is this definite thing like a toaster or something…” And, I couldn’t agree more. We all have to try on many hats and I think the bolder our choices the better.

I eventually came to the conclusion I was being a gigantic asshole and wasn’t as fit for the badass role as I originally thought. So I dropped it on the way to dance class. I’ll never forget it. I was wearing turquoise spandex and realized I liked them too much to keep pretending to be dark and brooding.

You can blame the identity crisis on being 13, but I’m not sure it’s something we ever get over. I know I still do it. If you think of life like an octagon, every so many years you are going to need to rotate – shift sides to see what’s next. With each rotation comes change and renewal, but your still on that damn octagon. The clothes you wear bear all the language you need. I like knowing if I’m feeling funky i can slap on a pair of tights and a fun dress and be the person I have written. The piles of frayed jeans with perfect weathered holes tell of nights in the studio. Those brown, ill-fitting “slacks” are reminders of my first real job, a time in my life when I felt everything had to be by the book.

Oh, and that purple sequined trapeze blouse hanging in my closet? A fun trip to the thrift store with good friends on a crisp fall day, but also the butt of one of the funniest one liners I may have ever said in my entire life and for that alone, I will never EVER get rid of it.

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