Solstenen films screened at “Latent Liminal Improbable Exuberance” : Film night at Rendezvous Jewelbox Theater in Seattle

I’m so giddy to be showing some of my new Solstenen Project films with some of my favorite Seattle-based artsts/filmmakers during an evening presentation at Seattle’s gorgeous Jewelbox Theater!

“Latent Liminal Improbable Exuberance : Film night with,
Gala Bent, Jennifer Zwick, Britta Johnson, Mandy Greer, Scott Kolbo and Vis-a-Vis Society at Rendezvous Jewelbox Theater,  January 9th, 2013,    7-10 pm

Something old, something new, something odd, something blue.
In-process, foundlings, archived, favorites and brand new films by an exuberant collection of artists:

Gala Bent
Jennifer Zwick
Britta Johnson
Mandy Greer
Scott Kolbo and
Vis-a-Vis Society.

Films will begin at 7pm and cycle throughout the evening until 10pm.

Drop in when you can. Delicious treats by the Rendezvous kitchen!  FREE

Film still from "My farm and Yours", Mandy Greer 2013

Film still from “My farm and Yours”, Mandy Greer 2013

2322 2nd Ave., Seattle, Washington 98121

‘Solstenen Project’ residencies were sponsored in part by grants from 4 Culture, Artist Trust and the Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs.

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Film still from Scott Kolbo

Film still from Scott Kolbo

Film still from "I shall loan you these rags", Mandy Greer 2013

Film still from “I shall loan you these rags”, Mandy Greer 2013

Film still from "Nothing to give", Mandy Greer, 2013

Film still from “Nothing to give”, Mandy Greer, 2013

Film still from "Birch Play", Mandy Greer, 2013

Film still from “Birch Play”, Mandy Greer, 2013

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Join me at some Community Crochet Workshops…

All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go….not on a jet plane, but to a series of my Community Crochet Workshops, working on Hazel’s Glacier for an upcoming presentation of the piece.  Please join us and learn to crochet or teach what you know!  All the deets are below!

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Community Crochet Events: Mandy Greer: ‘Solstenen’ Project

-December 10th, 2:30-5pm:      Beacon Hill Library community room

2821 Beacon Ave. S., Seattle

-December 11th, 1:30-4pm:     High Point Library community room

3411 S.W. Raymond St., Seattle

– Dec. 16th, 12:30-3:30pm:      Favorite Art Projects @Henry Art Gallery

15th Avenue Northeast, Seattle

“Multi-media artist Mandy Greer, has for years involved the public in the making of her large scale sculpture and installation work, through free Community Crochet workshops, teaching anyone who drops in the basics of crochet and incorporating their stitches into a larger artwork.

You are invited to join Mandy in a series Community Crochet events as part of her ‘Solstenen’ Project, where she will be teaching anyone willing to crochet, giving you the opportunity to contribute to the creation of a large scale fiber ‘glacier’ made of hundreds of different white fabrics and yarn and meant to be worn by Greer’s son.  Began on a residency in Iceland, the crocheted and woven glacier now grows larger as it emerges from isolation, accumulating energy from many hands, like a glacier accumulates and transports stones.  The Glacier will be exhibited at NEPO House on Dec. 22nd, 2012.

Children are welcome and encouraged at the events on the 10th and 11th, as Greer’s 8 year old son will also be on hand to teach crocheting to other children.

All materials and tools supplied,  all skill levels welcome.

Mandy Greer’s ‘Solstenen Project’, is a series of residencies over the course of a year exploring themes of weight and physical burden as external symbols of internal self-transformation — identity metamorphosing into the environmental — including 5 weeks in Iceland in the fall of 2012.

‘Solstenen Project’ residencies were sponsored in part by grants from 4 Culture, Artist Trust and the Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs.”

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Hazel as glacier_promo

Stumbling out of the block:

Thank you Vanessa, thank you Summer Walleye people, for creating a space to work at the thick plug of fear in my throat.  It is working.  I have spent many months afraid to write, write anything.  Even the writing that I have to do to be a ‘professional artist’ seemed like agony, like words would not form from the clouded jellyfish in my mind.

Unpacking and repacking many private family hardships over the last many months, my dear sweet sick husband struggling back through months of an anxiety disorder.  NOT wanting to write about it, I became stuck.  And my own fear that it would creep back, even when things were getting better, like the anxiety had somehow seeped into my bones instead.  I became paralyzed to write about making (or not making) work about weight and burden and labor.  So much pressure…

But as I take steps to set down those burdens, reaching out to things I’ve never tried before, finding different strategies almost at random, I’m seeing this paralysis as a friend to growth.  It just takes a nudge.

It’s like when you can’t get something open, because so much pressure is built up behind it.  And it just takes a nudge, someone else’s hand, running something underwater, or a drop of oil.  And the lid simply comes off with ease.

‘Summer Walleye’ facilitated by Vanessa Dewolf, a free meeting on Sunday morning of anyone who wants to write and move, move to write, write to move, read. Share. try.  Vanessa is director at Studio Current in Seattle, she’s a ‘Dramaturg for Dance, Creative Process Consultant & Feedback specialist’, and this I love what she says about herself –  “what do I want? Is it possible to keep befriending the unknown?
I’m unpredictable.”

I came to this meeting, almost at random, but really how any decision is made is through a build up of experience until the way to go seems like something to fall into.  I saw Vanessa’s piece “Score for an Unrehearsed Ensemble” at NW New Works Festival, and a wave of relief filled me up.  A tipping point.  What I was seeing and experiencing by watching,  is that we are all crazy, all beautiful, all exhausted, all exhilarated.  A beautiful clicking of energies as 40 people move across stage , creating on the spot their reactions to each other, the words, their senses, their own bodies and histories….and I felt like I was pulled into that safe space on the stage to unfold and unwrap.  So then I got out of bed on Sunday, and fell into Walleye, without thinking.

“Score for an Unrehearsed Ensemble”
photo by Bruce Clayton Tom

I have been like the child who has reached the point where they ‘can’t draw’, but I know that is wrong.  I know that everyone can dance, and sing, and draw and walk. I know I can do these things.

I’m going to rest on my Walleye writings, then transcribe them here, whatever they are.  The speed of timed writing after a series of movement exercises unearths energy in a way I need.  Then the resting and the transcribing gives me some time to process and let the words I wrote sink in.  There may or may not be anything worth ‘mining’, but I am quite sure that is where I have gotten myself into trouble this last year…feeling as if every moment has to be visibly productive, like I’m an art worker on an art assembly line.  Will people still respect me if I’m just fucking around?  Yes, duh…and who cares.

I have never at all connected writing and movement, but whenever I have needed inspiration for well-crafted words (when I was young and pretending I would be a scholarly writer of texts), I would walk about the room with my eyes closed seeing the words written in the air, and I would lay on the bed, and something would emerge out of the dark of my mind.  A good sentence, a hook, something that really meant it.  I never noticed my body in the mix of this activity, just the disembodied words.  But I see now it was the visualization from moving my body into an unknown inner space that would unlock what I was looking for.  And I do the same with my work, when stuck for specifics beyond a general direction, I move quickly about then lie still enough to coax an image into my grasp of what I need to make.

At this meeting, in this writing, I see old time-worn Washington Hall as a landscape, and environment, a body to act upon and with.  I also see my own body surfacing, with my focus brought back and back to my grinding crooked bones, the pain in my hip.  At this meeting we began with “journey” – allowing the landscape in front of us tell us where to go. Then we traced with our bodies a site from Childhood and our favorite grocery store.  With writing, we jerked back and forth between these sites when Vanessa told us to jump.

What I have always know is that Childhood is a place I fled, did not belong, not a site of nostalgia.  But I didn’t know Grocery would hold the intimacy of motherhood, of being in love with a child.  What I also didn’t know was after two weeks of these meetings, I feel empowered on my own journey to Iceland, I have new tools to do what I want and tools to find an anchor in the unknown.  I am also most grateful to listening to the timed writing of the other participants, how we diverge and cross back on shared experiences and archetypes. Their imagery, so close to the edge of my own, but with a radical different magic, was like walking in another person’s skin for a few moments.

Summer Walleye in Washington Hall, July 21st

JOURNEY

I arrive

Aimless, to textured veins, to falling apart but staying together.  I arrived to a corner, to a darker place, to an away, from the space, to a stopping point, to a wall, to a place with layers. 

To where others had hid, skimmed the outside, to when energy was only at our backs, to pits of peeling layers had covered meek hands, yet the oils will surface.

To the water. To the time. To the downward desire of the water, the seep, the minerals, the quiet and the noise of all the time that hit the walls.  The rubbing, the hiding, the finding of the soft dark to see others in the center of doing.

And when I left

I pushed myself to go against myself, to go into the space, the place where I wouldn’t usually go.  To just be without walls, without dark, without myself and myself’s walls and see if I could feel anything, feel okay. 

Fine, I feel and it was just fine.  But it wasn’t the destination. Just a space to travel through.  I wasn’t afraid of it, or rejecting it or anything but passing through it.  It did not have me , but I had it.

Along the way

I look from where I started, kept my eyes there and so I did not know where I went, so had to feel where I went.  Had to see it all spread out before me, slowly rocking with my pain, my gait, my lumber. 

And the pattern of the place emerged.  One side led to tiny patterns, to a herringbone, from the ribs of the fish, the bones of the place. To the labor, of the making, of the tradition to small details, of task, of purpose. 

Then every energy played out on top of it all, now worn, but once gleaming in the wood.

Movement

Led by the flat bones, the grinding in my hip to the bones dragging, led the leg pulled by gravity more than no other.  Dull pain moves everything, influences everything but I move anyway.

Try not to do battle with the dullness but more with it.  Let it lead instead of trying to ignore its presence.

Its presence, old pain, old stillness old things.  Born things, usually afraid of them, of the things they take over, how they stop me, slow me down, but I let it lead.

I open my eyes to the lines on the floor, to my hands on the floor, to the waxy hips that seem to ride and navigate around the dull pain, the misplaced bones, the old bones, the rubs, the mishapers, the records of things undone and not cared for, the gifted body unopened, the fluidity unused.  But knowing it is time to embrace, time to open, time to ride out the bones and they will their embrace.

The bones, the stones, the place that will not move.  I will love it, I will remember it to make it know.

That was the first pain the labor took away.

(It feels pleasurable transcribing this stuff, like I can walk through the physical acts again of the exercises and remember processes that helped loosen pathways.  It is very simple, no great earth shattering revelations, but to see the movement experiences naturally translating into both my real experience of the site and the things reverberating in my mind and body, how they blend back and forth between inner and outer world, is exciting to see that revealed and be clear…just by writing quickly after movement with a time limit and no real sense of purpose.

Someone said writing and reading words are in different parts of the brain.  While reading is a wild flourette of sensation and experience, I really only write with a pragmatic purpose.  Not simply to practice, to feel around in that part of the brain that writes…this challenges that.)

Grocery or childhood

Childhood

So empty I could hardly find a way around.   There was nothing in there but the bed, the texture of the cotton woven spread, the wide bed, the bed that took the whole space in its grips, the rough feel of synthetic carpet, the smell of no history of nothing of no one of no energy.  I moved around rectangles and angles, looking for my things, what were my things, things I have no memory of but the ability to let them go.  There was just empty.  But I found the closet that was long and used to be a place to hide, to play.

Grocery

Always always spend spin with the boy, the boy in my arms, the boy

Childhood

Nothing, nothing to start with, with, with alone, but the cat, under the covers

Grocery

We find a place to touch, he leans into my chest, he goes to it, the fruit.  He feels a part of the life that surrounds him.  We go slow, we fill up with the abundance, of being able to choose, of imagining and yearning, of taste of feel. 

To feel together, to get it done that needs to be done, but to be together, to explore, to want, to treat one another, to be naughty.  To make out own choices and remember the gift of small pleasure.  To find peas and chocolate the milk the soaps to smell the wine.  The wine to bring to nights alone.

Childhood

Still, nothing.  Still nothing there.  The bland carpet, the cat jumping, the cat biting, the hidden, the puppet show, the awful agony of putting on layers of long underwear to go in the snow.  To try to see a way to make a world, that isn’t trivial, to everyone, to sneaking about listening for clues that I don’t actually belong there.  That would make sense.  I am bored out of magic, no magic at all.

Practical notes to me:

-take the time and luxury of space to TRACE memory in the physicality of my body…se what is there or not there, NOT making it there, but be in alignment with its absences also.  Give over enough of yourself to find the quiet narrative…

-My head was so warm to the touch, a comfort, yet I never touch my head, though I know that energy flows out of it like a field or a pole above me.  I can make the magic for him, the energy, the intimacy needed for a rich imaginative blooming world.  The layers, the layers of memory, of presence, soft and lonely.

-MOVE in that space like I have a mirror under my nose again,to shift my focus into a space of memory…not memory, but the thread of things knit together that all lead to THIS moment.

-Of being here in this moment, this new situation, I never would have come to except for being LOST, so honor being lost, being brought here by lostness.  Lostness means many other ways are open to me.  All things lead to this, this leads to all things.

Tonight, 11/16/11, Solstenen comes back to TPR for an evening of community crocheting and films from guest artists Saskia Delores and Rodrigo Valenzuela

I have had an industrious fall in my studio…..not making piles of work, but excavating some physical and psychological space to do it….Many many things needed shedding, which seems oddly telling with the project I am working on, all about weight, burden, labor and armor.  But after a summer full of crocheting with people at The Project Room, I wanted to get back into the thick of the project by once again working on ‘Solstenen’ with anyone willing to join me.  And like this summer, I wanted to share the work of artists who are inspiring and mentoring my new body of work.

Please join me tonight from 5-8 at TPR for one night only of community crocheting, tea/treats, and films by Guest Artists Saskia Delores and Rodrigo Valenzuela.

At 5pm, I’ll be on hand with yarn, fabric and crochet hooks to teach anyone willing to learn to crochet, contributing stitches to the Solstenen crocheting heading to Iceland in 2012.

From 6-8pm, then we’ll continue crocheting while watching a presentation of films by Solstenen guest artists performance artist/musician Saskia Delores and filmmaker/photographer Rodrigo Valenzuela.
As with the other Solstenen guest artists, join me in an informal Q and A with these incredible filmmakers, as I pick their brains and find out why they make things.

Saskia and Rodrigo both make subtly provocative work that highlights how the magic in the mundane can be captured and bloom in the medium of film. Their bodies of work both reveal the cinematic psychological tension and expansive capacity of the eyes to reveal a volcano of emotion… how we reveal when we try to hide. And both continue to encourage my fledgling pursuit of using film/movement to explore themes in the Solstenen project. I am thrilled to share their work, learn more about their projects with anyone willing to take a dip into the Solstenen project, while also basking in their encouragement for expanding into new media with my work.

Come see their films on the big wall of The Project Room!

Get Yourself Together

TRAIN TIME

The last events of Solstenen at TPR: last Community Crochet event : today from 3:30-7:30

Community Crochet, August 23

Community Crochet, August 23

My days of working at The Project Room are dwindling…I have SO much information and images to process, so much to be grateful for, and so much to feed me as I continue on with the work of Solstenen project.  Not in the least has been the response of those people who have taken a leap, walked into the space and learned to crochet.  And most of them have returned and returned many times!  Today is the last crochet party of my 7-week residency here, but TPR curator Jess Van Nostrand and I have worked out a plan for me to return once a month beginning in October, on a sporadic basis, so please sign up for my mailing list or twitter or Facebook if you want to be kept up-to-date about those coming crochet events.

So please join me today and tonight at TPR from 3:30-7:30!  And we have a special guest coming, Erin Shafkind’s community project ‘Department of Artistic Licensing’ comes back for an encore from 5pm until 7:30!

UAL

UAL

ALSO I NEED YARN:  This is a last minute plea, I know, but at MAN NIGHT Crochet, the men managed to use up all  my yarn…honestly I don’t know how, even with the giant crocheted chains hanging about the space.  If you have any gray yarn you’d like to donate, I would be grateful!

MAN NIGHT crochet...using up the yarn...

MAN NIGHT crochet...using up the yarn...

And lastly, come celebrate the work of Poet Sierra Nelson with an Icelandic pancake feast on Wednesday!

August 31, Wednesday, Guest Artist Event, 6 – 8 pm;  Poet, text-based artist and data-Dadaist’ Sierra Nelson comes in for ‘show and tell’ and conversation about her own journey to Iceland for the SIMS artist residency.  She’ll share her interactive surveys on ‘sending and receiving’ and photography of forgotten intimate spaces of Reykjavic.  And we’ll be making Icelandic pancakes!

Poet Sierra Nelson

Poet Sierra Nelson

Don't Miss the Pancakes....

Don't Miss the Pancakes....

Guest Artist Anne Blackburn speaks and carves tomorrow, 6-9pm

August 27th, Saturday: Guest Artist Event, 6 – 9pm;  Artist and Lo-Fi Arts Festival curator Anne Blackburn Artist Talk and hands-on demo of book-carving for her environmental installations.  Photos and films from her two-year installation of human-made shelf fungus.

Earlier this summer, just a week before I started Solstenen project, I had a small exciting adventure at Smoke Farm with Anne Blackburn.   Smoke Farm has popped up its amazing acreage into my work before;  I’ve walked all over the place, made a film, done photoshoots…but it continues to yield hidden places and surprises.  Anne took me to one; her two year Shelf Fungus Project.  I’d heard about it…seen some pictures floating around, and had missed it at the last Lo-Fi.

Teeth Marks....

Teeth Marks....

I always imagine  Anne so immersed in her work — which also includes curating and organizing and gathering people together — that she doesn’t really do the full onslaught of ‘marketing’ that seems the norm for our age.  And I’m glad…not really knowing all I wanted to know from the computer put me in the position to get Anne to take me on a hike to see her woman-made Shelf Fungus.

After a hike down a path I was familiar with, we took a sharp turn towards the mountain and under some evergreen boughs that opened up into a cathedral-like clearing where you can’t see the sky.  The most striking element were the many very tall old-growth stumps, with the notches carved a century ago by lumbermen, tool marks still very much visible.  Each stump now has a 50 year old ‘new’ tree sprouting out the top, creating this dense canopy, but also very much showing the process that Smoke Farm itself is undergoing; renewal in the form of decay.  Once harnessed and used for human industry, the land, the trees, the water – through human care and the unceasing urge of nature to renew – are changing back (or changing forward) to a wild place….or a place that references the wild place it once was and can never truly be again.  It was easy for me to see a time-lapse in my mind of the clearing of the land, the farm being built, the cows, the effort, the lives made and past.

I could see the trees head to the saw mill and go through a myriad of processes to become any number things to meet  human needs, including books.  Then in this little village of massive stumps, we see Anne’s human-made Shelf Fungus….made of books.  Again, I can see another time-lapse of paper being made, books being bound, and used for half a century — law books about property rights, no less — then discarded when the weight of digesting information in that form became too cumbersome.  They became trash.

Until Anne Blackburn takes them up, carves them like one would if they were wood (because they are…..) and makes them back into the image of something they once were, a flourishing opportunistic organism, an ecosystem.   The tools marks remain, just as they do on the stumps in that old and new forest.  Then she sets them back into the forest, to decay and renew at the same time; in private, the only audience the life that goes on around them, and sometimes with human visitors.  Anne, an enthusiastic scholar of land art, science and the gathering of human effort, asks ‘when is the work done’ ?

On hearing that the Fungus project was nearing an end (if there is one….), and that there were miles of unedited footage of days and nights passing before a little wildlife camera trained on the Fungus installed, and the incredible overlapping of cycles of destruction leading to creation, leading to destruction leading to creation…some by human industry and need and some by the ever-pervasive natural cycle, I really wanted to learn all I could about this work where the edges seem to bleed over, and share it with everyone through my time at The Project Room.

Please join Anne and me, as we look over images, and artifacts, actual pieces removed from the forest (as books always are anyway…) and explore ideas about when anything made ever really ends. Have some treats and join us for conversation I’ll turn into a Solstenen Artist Profile.  We’ll add one more layer to how ‘work’ evolves and lives on….when it inspires.

See even more images in the slideshow below…

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Tuesday, 8/16, Community Crochet from 3:30 – 6 pm

Just a quick reminder…it’s Tuesday again, August 16th.  It’s time for another afternoon/evening of Community Crochet.  It’s also a day for me to celebrate being a mother for 7 years (my son’s birthday!), so this crochet party is a bit short, ending at 6pm.  Please stop in and unwind for a bit.  And Amanda will be working till 5pm…

Zuster, Sweostor, Systir, 2010 (collaboration with Hazel, yarn spun from our hair)

Zuster, Sweostor, Systir, 2010 (collaboration with Hazel, yarn spun from our hair)