As of now, I am prepping for 2-3 projects to embark on while venturing up north. I am going to share this one first, as I believe it falls under the category of "Participatory Art." This is an approach to making art in which the audience is engaged directly in the creative process - therefore, this type of art is incomplete without the viewers physical interaction. This means I would love your help.
The subject is about "storytelling" and "home". Please read on.....
Storytelling is how we record both the monumental events in life and the small everyday moments. In this age of mass information, we use stories to shape and define our identity - to make sense of our world and share that understanding with others. A great story is not about only providing information. It also invites an expansion of compassion by planting the seeds to grow a new interpretation of the space around us, of our place in it, of ourselves, and our existence.
Through the narrative, communities are strengthened and maintained by connecting people with their historical cultures, usually handed down from generation to generation. Traditions and legends also bring together populations existing far apart by sharing common ideas of not only what matters in the world, but also why it matters.
With this idea in mind, the first part of my project entails gathering stories from people residing all over the world and transporting them up to Longyearbyen, Svalbard. (See previous post on the description of this northern most city in the world) The subject I am most likely interested in hearing about is your idea of the word "home." What does this word mean to you? Dictionary.com describes a home in various ways including "the dwelling place of an animal," and "any place of residence or refuge." When one thinks of home, is it the native place or country a person is from? Is it a physical location or a mindset? Is it shelter alone or also where one nests?
Once arriving, the plan is to share these thoughts with the population of Longyearbyen, either through contact with the town’s library, church, museum, or university. I will leave the stories there while sailing for two weeks. Upon my return I will gather them up, place them in a weatherproof container, then plant them in a safe place as a time capsule to be found sometime in the future. During the two week span of sailing, I will have a box located at the same location as the stories which will be utilized to accumulate stories of the same subject originating from the local people of Longyearbyen. I then will bring back those narrations to share with people here and elsewhere.
In conjunction with compiling narratives, I will be creating sculptures which will hold soundbites of these stories inside them and they will be arranged in an installation at one or more galleries. (Currently, I have plans to exhibit a version of this in La Corte Arte Contemporanea Gallery here in Florence at the end of April, which will not include the stories from Longyearbyen since it will be prior to my excursion - but will consist of stories I will deliver to the Arctic Circle.) The intention for this is through symbol, metaphor, and association we can interpret these stories, integrate them with our existing knowledge, and transform that into wisdom.
If you have thoughts about "home" - whether it is in the form of a story, a song, a poem, or even your mother's rhubarb pie recipe (take note, mom) - you would like to share and save in a time capsule in the Arctic Circle, please send it my way! I would be honored to involve you in this process :)
Here are some details below, and feel free to email me with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Length of stories limited to 1 page written or 1 minute read verbally (or less) preferred.
- It would be ideal to handwrite and be creative with your piece if you are planning on sending it snail mail (this makes it more personal!!). If you would like to send me your piece through regular mail, please email me for my current mailing address.
- Of course, emailing me your story is great, too.
- Feel free to record your story and email me an MP3 or a format that is Mac friendly. I will take flashdrives up north with me.
-I would like to receive your stories on or before April 7th for including them into the exhibition at the end of April, but will accept stories through early May to pack with me to the Arctic.
Thank you and looking forward to hearing from you!