The Event of a Thread – Day 5

as artists, and as human beings, what kind of space do we create?

Space for the Voice

“It’s an empty city block…And wanting to make the place that everyone can be in and join the work in some way. And thinking about: What are those experiences that allow us to fall open to something? What allows us to become receptive? To pay attention? And all of the modes of attention that we can form…The responsibility of thinking about the nature of public gatherings and what are the opportunities to gather in public? How do we retain a sense of our individual presence and yet join to something larger?”

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the event of a thread

created by Ann Hamilton for the Park Avenue Armory

this November i was invited by Anne Bogart to participate as a reader in Ann Hamilton’s installation event at the Park Avenue Armory. as both a great honor and delight, i am reading to pigeons alongside members of SITI Company and their affiliates. the selected texts are from writers such as Aristotle, Charles Darwin, Ralph Waldo Emerson, William James, and more. these readings address a shared consciousness about our existence and our voices are transmitted via paper bag radios carried throughout the space. my participation is but one element amidst the vast participatory landscape that Ann Hamilton has so care-fully created. the following entries are an attempt to understand and share this intimate and meaningful experience with you.

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:: in transit ::

and transitioning from one thing to the next.

today is my first official day of many things:

  • official meeting for the Dalí Project with my Cosmic Twin. possibly meeting Dalí himself
  • official meeting with my Japanese teacher (well, one of them anyway). and an inspiration for a possible Japanese-Dalí combo meeting
  • first day after being back to work at Santos Party House. negotiating my work-nightlife with my work-day life
  • first day going to the park since i’ve been back to NYC
  • first day feeling like EWDIR (Everything We Do is Right.) just kidding! i feel that way every day.

and so i get to thinking about transitions and starting new things. re-starting old things. and how to focus on one thing fully when there are so many things to focus on.

this problem, as psychologist Barry Shwartz has articulated, is reminiscent of The Paradox of Choice. when we have too many options, we don’t know how to choose. we believe that greater choice leads to greater freedom, but infinite freedom is paralyzing (which is kind of the opposite of complete freedom). however, when we have too few choices, we don’t have freedom of choice either because then there are not enough options.

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coming back to New York is difficult. i have been here a day and a half and already, i am overwhelmed with meetings, work, emails, rehearsals, and more. it comes down to this obsession with time. how can i find enough time in the day to do all these things and do yoga, Suzuki, clean my apartment, learn Japanese, read, fix my broken shower, play the ukulele, and take care of my cats and all of the others in my life: my “otters”? i start to hate New York City because she is not like Bali or my parents’ house or anywhere else.

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:: On Escapism ::

it is one thing to go to another place because it is calling to you. it is another to go to a place because you don’t want to be in the one that you are currently in.

i know because i have tried to do it.

i tried to go to Berlin. i tried to make that happen. and i got thwarted. (most notably by my self.)

my proposal wasn’t truly honest. it was in the sense that i was saying that art here is over and i want to go to the place where it is present and to figure out why. but my proposal was unclear because i wasn’t being truthful with my self about what i was running away from here. and staying here (being here then, being there now), i now know the difference between escaping and following. seeking vs. finding. making things happen vs. allowing them to. running from one’s self vs. facing our true selves.

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i am feeling very quiet today. i don’t have much to say, so i am going to let someone else do the speaking for me:

“Home.” Leo worked at a small sliver of wood on the old trunk. “The Island’s always been home to me. How did you like living in New York?”

“I loved it and I hated it. I learned a lot.”

“Like what?” Leo stopped pulling at the sliver and looked at me.

I looked out to the sea. Near the horizon I saw something dark leap out of the water in a beautiful arc. A porpoise. I shivered. “Oh—how very protected we’d been, living in a tiny village like Thornhill all our lives, with visits to the Island a couple of times a year. I’d been under the illusion that most people are pretty good.”

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::: On the Way Home :::

the New Jersey Parkway is so green that i almost feel like i am on my way to some warped version of Bali. maybe i am, in a way, if i am traveling to another place that feels like home…

i used to have this weird conflict of language usage that would happen whenever i would go and visit my parents. i would say, “i’m going home.” i don’t know that i will ever stop calling it home even though i don’t live there anymore. i grew up there from birth until i left to attend college. it was a happy home—a place that allowed me to grow into the being that i am today. but when i would tell my sister (or others) that i was “going home,” they would be unclear if i meant home to my parents’ house or home to my NYC apartment.

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