Saturday, November 10, 2007

Week 7: Integrated Arts Process

Temenos: An Expressive Arts Journal is the integration of the last 7 weeks and the continuation. Blogging is a new modality of expression for me, a relatively new modality for the art world as well. Working on the internet is an inherently intermodal arts process, combining music and sound, visual image, language and video in an original way. In order to display my music process, for instance, I needed to create a video - a form of artistic process not explored in class but one that speaks to me very personally. To display my photography and drawings, I had the opportunity to further manipulate the image and pair it with words.

I testify to the therapeutic dynamic of electronic arts processes. As a child of the 80's and the daughter of a programmer, computers have been a steady tool in my life since I was six years old. While I am far from a tech whiz, there is a comfort with the electronic medium that I share with others of the MTV generation. Making a video or appending a quote to my email signature gives me a voice. Though I make sure I avoid importing my entire social life into the virtual realm and I have a distaste for those who live almost entirely behind their screens, it is hard to deny the power of this medium.

Week 6: Drama-based Process

Life Situation:

I chose to replay an interaction with one of my oldest friends, one that was a brief and microcosmic representation of a dynamic with which I have been dissatisfied. It had to do with feeling hurt during the times that my friend's cynicism leaked into areas where I was hoping for support. In this case, I had felt disappointed at her lack of enthusiasm for a feature film I shot two years ago that was finally in theaters this season. In a dyad, my partner and I played the scene as it was, then replayed it where I found a way to voice my feelings to her in a more straightforward way than I did in real life. Lastly, we switched roles and I played my friend.


Nothing changed much in terms of interpersonal dynamics with this friend and I. Because I have known her for so long, I already guessed that a direct style of "processing" would be too confrontational and "therapist-y" for her. Switching roles confirmed this for me as I was able to feel in an embodied, first-hand way how embarrassing it truly was to be confronted by a friend. In her place, I felt tongue-tied and unable to make eye contact. Due to lack of time, we were not able to play out a transformed version of the scenario, so I did not feel any shift in dynamics. What I did take away was just a more experiential account of being in her shoes and affirmation that my approach to try and respect where she is currently is a valid consideration to maintain.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Week 5: Movement Process

Aided Authentic Movement

I played my current pop song obsession (I'm not sure if it's cheating to use music with words, but the song spoke to me!) and stood with my eyes closed. Almost immediately I felt the urge to move rise in me. I began as tension in my arms that grew nearly unbearable. My arms locked at ninety degree angles and began shaking. It was so uncomfortable I had to flail my arms. It is difficult to remember the exact movements or chronology, but there were continued punching and shaking motions as well as feelings of tension. An ache from my chest, which my arms tried to cast out with flinging motions. It exhausted me and I slumped down to a seated position, swaying with my head hung low. There was a moment when I was on my knees, doubled over, and pounded the carpet a few times. Noises also accompanied movements in the latter parts of this process.


The ache in my chest is a familiar feeling that I have consciously worked with for over a year. The tension in my arms that caused the shaking seems to be an amplification of a familiar crazy, uncontained feeling of high anxiety with roots deep in childhood and most likely infancy. The pounding is an urge that is also old; a need to beat out anger or beat away demons and those who cause harm. It is also a deep need for something solid to push up against, which would make me feel safe and contained. It seems crucial also that I feel free to release loud sounds in conjunction with the movements. The purging action of my arms from my chest wants to be accompanied by unrestrained wails, yells and sobs.

Week 4: Imaginal Language Arts

I am the woman in the blue
part of the postcard
deep in the sea
I am in the shadow
of your me
but my frozen image
to be thawed
so I can be breathe

- Sophia C.


I originally saw the image upside down, reflecting the issues most salient in my psyche at the time: themes of being locked, of being imprisoned at the bottom of the sea and feeling suffocated. The image grabbed me and terrified me through its resonance with my deepest fears. The words in my poem that stand out to me are:


I appreciate that the words progress the poem from a description of a frozen state into a guidepost for my needs and how to break out of the locked state. Movement is the process and the goal, and the poem itself is a movement.

Week 3: Music Exploration

I listened to the entire Ratatat self-titled album and then hit the page with crayons. This video is now another step in this intermodal exploration. The first drawing (a word Kate and I both add extra consonants to in our NY/NJ accents), is just an aesthetic response to the music. I don't feel a particular connection to the drawing, it is merely what colors and shapes I saw and felt listening to the electronic, guitar-driven album. The second drawing is an emotional yearning that was up for me during that same time. I was seeking a knight in shining armor to rescue me from my abject loneliness and trauma of this city.

Week 2: Visual Arts Exploration

Group 1

Group 2

Everyday Objects

I walked through my apartment, pointing my camera at the things I looked at the most in a single day.

The objects in Group 1 caught my eye as having most artistic potential. They could be manipulated, made pretty. They give me a sense of beauty and peace when I look at these photos. They are the classic example of elevating daily objects into art.

In contrast, I left the settings in Group 2 as I found them, as I see them everyday. These photos make me feel anxious. There is too much going on; these photos are, in full color form, what my inside looks like. They are the intestines twisted in bright patterns, hidden in the drawer of my belly, never quite closed. They are the sick blue glow of my computer screen that I can't tear my eyes away from. They are the socks that don't stay organized and the shelf crammed full of products I always seem to forget when I travel. (They are even my Temenos drying on newspaper.) It is hectic and smothering to look at this group and yet I interact with them it every day. That is my life.

Week 1: Temenos

This Temenos is so personal to me that I have not shown it to anyone outside of class. I took to heart the assignment verbatim as Kate described:

Think about what you need for safety and freedom in this class
Play with the clay - see what emerges

When I dug my fingers into the cool clay in mid September, I was desperate for support. I had just come off a tough year full of trauma and hard emotional work. I was lonely in this city and feeling alienated. I needed a hand to hold. So I made one.

I was so scared for this hand while it was still drying. I had wanted a strong, heavy hand on top of mine but here was this damp thing that could break at any second. If I dropped it, it might crack - what if the pinky broke off? I was most worried for that signature pinky, crooked like mine and all the women on my mother's side of the family generations before. That pinky, which perches like a princess drinking tea, is how you know that hand is mine.

The hand has dried now, though the darker shading never left the top. It comforts me at the same time that I feel hesitant around it. I am yet to fully explore it and the mystery it holds is still greater than the familiarity of seeing my own hand.

This photo shows most clearly what this hand is for me: