– ing suffix: -ing
1. denoting a verbal action, an instance of this, or its result. “welcoming
Mov – ING
An object at rest will remain at rest unless acted on by an unbalanced force. An object in motion continues in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.
I seem to be in a perpetual state of motion as I prepare to move to Maine temporarily. Over the next several months, I will be living the life of a nomad. (It does not seem accidental that a Bedouin tent features prominently in my artwork.)
Leaving my Maryland studio, job and friends to create Welcoming the Stranger feels both overwhelming and exhilarating (and sometimes terrifying…)
It took more than a year to plan the 2-month long exhibit – to conduct the research, locate an exhibition space, find employment, procure housing, create relationships in the community, identify resources – all this before making the art.
Three months from today, I begin the installation of the exhibit. It will take 10 days.
How could the time have gone by so fast?
I never studied physics. I struggled with math and was convinced I would not be able to comprehend physics. For those who did take the course, here is an animated refresher: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttZCKAMpcAo
I thought I would never have a use for the information. (I thought the same about algebra but revised my opinion as a result of tiling a bathroom floor.)
Stone carvers – especially – need to understand the basic principles of physics. If you neglect to pay attention to those ‘rules,’ you risk injury and sometimes, death.
In Einstein’s Dreams, the author Alan Lightman …”fictionalizes Albert Einstein as a young scientist who is troubled by dreams as he works on his theory of relativity in 1905. The book consists of 30 chapters, each exploring one dream about time that Einstein had during this period. “
Because it is a series of dreams, I can enter or leave each chapter at will. And in the moment, I understand the principles. But their application in the real world eludes me.
The author of Art and Physics, Leonard Shlain, believes art is precognitive: “artists conjure up revolutionary images and metaphors comprising preverbal expressions of the novel concepts later formulated by physicists….”
(He) proposes that the visionary artist is the first member of a culture to see the world in a new way. Then, nearly simultaneously, a revolutionary physicist discovers a new way to think about the world. Escorting the reader through the classical, medieval, Renaissance and modern eras, Shlain shows how the artists’ images when superimposed on the physicists’ concepts create a compelling fit. http://www.artandphysics.com
When I read about the application of theoretical physics to various breakthrough moments in art history, I understand at an intuitive level some other event may evolve from my artwork – one I could not have predicted. It is really the only hope an artist has – to create change.
Yet, none of this explains why time seems to contract rapidly when you are preparing for 5 months on the road.
Pack – ING:
I feel like someone embarking on a round the world trip – attempting to plan for multiple seasons, multiple settings, multiple scenarios …
- Packing clothing for 5 months in Maine – March to October*
- Packing to live in a suburban ranch home and then a loft in a boat house
- Packing supplies to make art
- Packing materials to teach
- Packing technology for everything else I will have to do
- Packing for contingencies. (I have to remind myself that I will still be in America and there is always Goodwill nearby.)
*I did consult the Farmer’s Almanac. It was not comforting. http://www.almanac.com/weather/longrange/ME
When I was a child, my friends carried their patent leather Easter shoes to wear in church and walked to church in their boots.
Mainers always say: If you don’t like the weather in Maine, wait a minute and it will change.
Mark Twain is credited with saying: There are 2 seasons in Maine – winter and the 4th of July.
My upcountry friends say: Spring isn’t here til the snow comes off the mountain. https://vimeo.com/125583476
My island friends warn: Don’t plant anything until Memorial Day.
Colby College is a liberal arts college of about 1800 students located at the northern edge of the City of Waterville. It is the home of the Colby Art Museum http://www.colby.edu/museum. The Lunder and Alfond families are representative of the Waterville philanthropic Jewish community. The former founders and long time owners of Dexter Shoes donated to both secular and religious causes. The “glass box” museum houses the Lunder Art Collection – more than 500 works.
Teachers can arrange for artworks to be available for classroom instruction. I had requested a display of Artist Books. http://wgbhnews.org/post/100-million-art-collection-donated-colby-college-museum-art
As a result of a random telephone call to David Freidenreich, Colby’s Maine Jewish History Project, http://web.colby.edu/dfreiden/ I was given a tour of the sculpture classroom, 6 weeks as an artist in residence, a set of keys, a studio space and instructions for the staff room coffee maker (Only hazelnut goes in the green rimmed carafe).
Collaborating on anything is difficult for most of us. (Try coordinating window washing with a stranger for proof of my premise.) Over the past year, Bradley Borthwick, Assistant Professor of Art and I have had an ongoing dialogue about expectations for an artist in residence in the Sculpture Department. http://bradleyborthwick.com
When I learned that the 2015 theme for the Colby Arts and Humanities Department was Migrations, I proposed the following:
Create teams composed of a Jewish Studies student and a Sculpture 3 student. They would collaborate on the design and production of Artist Books to be shown at the Maine Jewish Museum as part of the Welcoming the Stranger exhibit.
The Jewish Studies students would conduct research on a variety of topics related to the history of Jewish migration to Maine. The Art students would learn book arts techniques and create Artist Books based on their partner’s research.
There were 6 males and 1 female in the Artist Book class.
There were 6 females and 1 male in the Jewish Studies class.
“Speed Dating” seemed the most efficacious approach to pairing up. (Interestingly, speed dating was a modern day Jewish approach to replace the matchmaker of old. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/29/magazine/who-made-speed-dating.html?_r=0
Every 2 minutes, the students shared the answers to these questions with a different potential partner:
What is your work style (early bird vs procrastinator?)
What are your skills as a team member ?
What are your deficits as a team member ?
**Coincidentally, everyone was paired with their first choice.
Six weeks later, their books and papers are close to completion and we were preparing for the Migrations Conference. http://web.colby.edu/mainemigrations/
Learn – ING
As part of my Artist Residency, I attended the Jewish Studies seminar facilitated by David Friedenreich. I learned a great deal about the history and lives of the earliest Jews in Maine. His students researched the following topics:
- The first Jewish community in Maine (Bangor, 1849-1856)
- 19th-century German-Jewish peddlers and merchants
- Why Maine attracted Eastern European Jews in the early 20th century, and how it shaped their Jewishness
- Anti Semitic discrimination against Jewish immigrants in the early 20th century
- The children of Holocaust survivors raised in Maine
More importantly, I learned that my own struggle – to define myself as either a Mainer first or as a Jew first – has been a struggle for other Maine Jews. I wonder still whether it was the cultural, ancestral or religious aspects of my upbringing that define me as Jewish.
This struggle of “definition” continues for the most recent immigrants to Maine. They are currently referred to as: “New Mainers.” They also struggle to maintain their heritage, their religion and their ancestry while integrating into a new culture.
At the Colby Migrations Conference, one woman told this story:
She immigrated from Somalia almost 10 years ago. Her children were born here. Yet, she wanted to be sure they had a sense of their heritage and culture. So they attended the annual Somali Day parade.
Everyone had small Somali flags to wave.
While they were waiting along the parade route, her youngest child looked up at her and asked:
Where is my flag?
She answered: Here it is. And gave her a miniature flag.
A few moments later, Her daughter asks again:
But, where is MY flag?
She explained the meaning of the design of the Somali flag thinking her daughter did not understand.
Again, her daughter states more insistently:
I want MY flag.
And pointed to the U.S. flag being carried in the parade.
And at that moment, she realized …
that the American flag was her daughter’s flag;
that America was her daughter’s country; and
Maine was now the place called home – for both of them.
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