Tuesday, May 25, 2010
I have begun to write a play about Shackleton, Amundson and Scott. Currently it is just notes and ideas and imagery. The exciting stage! But over the next several months I will be reading/reviewing a few books about them- biographs, auto-Bs, historical accounts, etc, to get a framework for their characters, quirks and personality ticks. And also to get ideas for the sequencing. Of course being set in the Antarctic, there will be ice and ships, and definitely a hot air balloon scene as Shackleton was the first to experience an aerial view of Antarctica's wonders. I may throw in an Empirer penguin or two. And not to forget the giant albatross.
The 3 explorers and their stories offer enough inspiration for creating a epic tapestry of landscapes, forms and emotions, and a nonlinear journey of discovery and failure. A question is whether to begin with a death or a triumph? For their stories contain both.
Sunday, May 9, 2010
My gallery talk at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts is Sunday, May 16 at 1pm. This is not going to be a regular gallery talk where I stand in front of my photographs and sculpture and discuss it. Rather, I will be performing writing I have done about the concepts in my work accompanied by an unfurling of images from my past work, current work, and documentation of the research I've completed at various archives. It is organized in 3 Acts: The Launch, Sorrow's Knot, and Soliloquy. After there will be a question/answer session where I may or may not continue to create fictions.
Concepts revolve around an aesthetics of disappearance, the play of history constructed from fictions, landscape as memoryscape, and all pertaining to the British encountering the Arctic in the 1800's: particularly the Sir John Franklin Expedition of 1845. I liken the talk to a visual narrative performance where I encourage the listener to come along with me on an arctic expedition.
Below are excerpts of what you may see+hear= image + text
"....Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth unravels a quest for the Unknown. Its story is both fiction and historical record. The John Franklin Expedition story lies in both realms as well. The people who constructed public memory are long since gone. The duration between Franklin's departure down the Thames River and subsequent disappearance was crucial in establishing the myth. Only two incomplete bodies were ever brought back to England for burial. A phantasm of pieces, not wholes. The objects returned to England lack their original functions: The objects failed. The trail of random artifacts found over the many decades fueled the debate over mysterious 'N.O.C's', or Not Otherwise Classified objects, that were useless to the forensics of a linear story. But, they lend themselves well to a Jules Vernian retelling...."
"...The North is a mouth, swallowing whole lambs. Ignoring Mercator, Cartesian, and.... I follow my fingers up the lines to see where I haven't been. Find hoarfrost and mirage, castles that pass in silence. Find ice and beacon pushing, pushing through sounds and bays. I follow my fingers' downward decent. Further on lay the Southern seas, gnashing teeth and the fury piled up in palpable mounds burn my fingers, weathered skin. Turn into history's wind. Face it open-chested like the bow of a ship. Face it lapping tongued like the seal gulping air. Face it whipped and flogged, beaten but still wobbling. My toes find stability and density. Yet they secretly move me farther and farther away. I gather wind and wail, placing them into my ears, till only threads from torn garments realize what's gone...."
Hope to see you there!
Pittsburgh Center for the Arts
6300 5th Ave at the corner of 5th Ave. and Shady Ave. in Shady Side. Parking Lot and additional street parking available.
Please email me if you have any questions- Thea_a_eck@yahoo.com