Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Following Sea

I am putting together a new work called The Following Sea.
And I'm looking for some help.
I am hoping to find people who are willing to contribute their thoughts on the great curve-ball of life, illness and trauma. This participation can range from the very simple, a thumbprint (your only identification) and the name of an illness/injury/trauma on a vellum tag. Or more complex, with a thumbprint and some sort of written thought on the subject matter, also on a tag. This invite goes out to anyone touched by these issues, whether through their own illness, or as a loved one, care giver or health professional.
Taking part goes something like this, you say OK - I send you a packet o' tags and whatnot to put your thoughts on - your go out on a limb to do so - you send the tags back to me in a SASE - I am really grateful as I go about incorporating your generous contributions into the work.
So what is The Following Sea going to be??? (not a blog, this blog is just here to explain the project so you can see if you are interested in taking part.)
An installation. A linear narrative, floating in a series of 48 glass bottles to be shown in a gallery setting.
So in plain-speak I am looking under the rock and using humor, community, irony and lots of glass bottles to get the conversation rolling on the shit storm that is illness and trauma. It will be an opportunity to say something about my experience with illness and where I ask you to do a little bit of the same.
I'm hearing the collective 'no thank you' groan as I type this, but what the hell - let's give it a go.

Post-its in the window like a crazy person

Thinking about this project for the past year or so, I have been collecting thoughts on post-its and sticking them up on the windows of my OCD haven of a studio. I was looking for anything funny or ironic or ridiculous enough to make the subject of illness go down a little easier. Create more of a conversation and less of a dirge. When I finally happened apon the term, 'AS LUCKY AS A GIRL WITH BIG TITS,' I knew I had found my way in.

The bottles contain the central narrative/yes it really is all about me....

The wave you have to watch out for.
That comes up in your blind spot and hits you from behind.
Stay ahead of the following sea.

How had this happened? Too much BTO, that's how.

Had I listened to too much Bachman-Turner-Overdrive in junior high?
Had my self-involved parents neglected the usual middle-class child maintenance?

But what about you...

There are also bottles stuffed with the smaller, simpler illness tags you are busy filling out as we speak. It is my hope the large number of tags in these bottles will belay the usual isolation that is the redheaded step-child of uncomfortable subject matter.

A sea of tags...

And a sea of your tags hanging from the ceiling...and here's the thing, people are reading them and recognizing themselves, or their mother/father/someone they care about.

Are you up for taking part?

Now we get to your part.

To take part you email me at lulu329@maine.rr.com and I send you a packet containing:
1. Vellum tags in three sizes.
2. An ink-pad.
3. A SASE so the tags get back to me.

Tags 101. let's begin with the narrow tags...

The narrow tags are a brief opportunity to list an illness or trauma you have dealt with.  Please label each narrow tag with the Following Sea issue (include date if appropriate,) and your finger print.

Medium tags

Label the medium tag in the same way as the small tag (fingerprint here as well.)
I don't know how these tags will be used yet. I am leaving myself some wiggle room to cover my bases as the work progresses.

Large tags

The largest tag is for those interested in writing something about their experience as a person touched by this subject matter. So if your life has been changed by illness/injury/trauma, whether your own, or as a loved one, caregiver or health professional this is a place you may want to write your thoughts.
These tags will be incorporated into the final work.

You send the tags back to me....

You send the tags back in the SASE -
(dump the ink pad, just the tags come back to me.)
I get to be very excited and grateful when I open the mailbox and see a bunch of large, kinda-yellow envelopes -
I also begin to panic a little realizing someone has been kind enough to write something about very difficult personal subject matter and send it to me so their experience can be incorporated into the work.
Kinda daunting.
Best not to fuck that up.
It better work.
It better be good.

What's it going to look like?

The cornerstone of The Following Sea is both the 48 bottles of narrative and the wealth of tags you are all busily filling out.

The tags will  be hanging down from the ceiling at varying heights.  Low enough to be read but high enough that the you can walk under them if you aren't freakishly tall.  Gallery-goers will be invited to label their own tags to be included in a hanging sea of experience and thought.

Its coming together.

I realize this is difficult stuff to think about, write about, put out in the world and send off in the mail to a stranger, and am immensely grateful to everyone taking part.

Thank you and please spread the invite along -

As always,
Thanks again,