I consider the site of Schloss Salem a collaborator in terms of inspiring the golden stones. All that gilding is powerful. The connection I have with fellow artist Alessandra Beltrame is also important; she uses gold leaf often in her work, and made sure I had the right glue to get started:
I was also lucky enough to be asked by interdisciplinary artist Laurie O’Brien to be filmed for inclusion in her amazing micro-installation with video. She makes quirky gorgeous dioramas that include mini videos of people interacting with the space. I will be dropping some stones for her work, allowing the viewers to see the image live outside in the water then see it again in her imaginary cityscape inside the exhibition space. More images to follow… but here is a sneak peak of us filming in front of the green screen:
With a little fun after the shoot:
First just look at the beauty of Lake Constance and the view of the Salem2Salem palace-of-residence at Spetzgart:
The exhibition opening and performance is Friday, two days away, and after significant conversations with fellow performers Jenny Hillenbrand and Anna Katharina Aichroth I remembered to simplify, simplify, simplify. I let go of the excess materials (salt and honey and milk etc.) even though I love them, trusting that they will be available again if needed in the future.
All this performance needs is the woman in her dress of gloves, some stones, some other stones with gold, and a walk in the water. Simple beauty like the view of our magic tree:
I am in the part of the process of constructing a new work where my thinking becomes circular. Some things keep sticking, coming ‘round and ‘round again, while other ideas get thrown out by the centripetal force. What I can’t let go of yet includes notions of the waterway in terms of function and metaphor, wise or brave thereby outcast women, the duality of my connection to the historic Cistercian/Bernardine monks (known as the White Monks, due to their robes) at the Salem Abbey—the lure of their devotion, and the repulsion of their misogyny.
I learned some important facts on the tour of the Palace cathedral: first that the monks prayed standing for 8 hours over the course of each day, starting at 4:30am. They slept for 8 hours, worked for 8 hours and prayed for 8 hours. They had specially constructed choir stalls that provided a brace for standing over lengthy periods. Here I am testing one:
A central philosophy of the Cistercian order included a profound awareness of death, and life’s fragile fleetingness. As such, there was a clock placed in the nave high above the altar. These corporeal and temporal practices certainly compel me: the power of devotion trumping all.
In contrast, however, the tourguide mentioned that one of the important rules of the church was that during services “the monks should not be disturbed by chattering women.” In my research about Salem as a potential site of witch persecution, I have discovered that this Lake Constance region was in fact an early (if not the first) site of witch trials in Germany. The local town Ravensburg hosted a famous trial in 1484, attended by a Dominican monk Heinrich Kramer, known for his skill in detecting heretics, who soon after wrote “The Witches Hammer” (“Malleus Maleficarum”) the first printed and widely used how-to manual for exposing witchcraft. Today the book is defined by its unstructured and confused configuration, its extreme misogyny and its deliberate falsification of historic facts.
I am also still spinning with my choice of materials:
•Rocks from the local landscape and river/lake beds
•Gold inspired by the abundant and gorgeous gilding in the Palace (and as related to alchemy/transformation)
•Honey as a nod to the existing symbol of the sweet verbal skills of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, the leading reformer of the order
•Milk because the accused witches of the era often were blamed for milk and butter spells
•Salt as it brought wealth to the abbey and this region historically, and according to “The Witches Hammer,” use of salt was an indicator of witchcraft
•A timer as related to the clock in the church.
I remain visually certain about the white gloves on the white dress, (invoking archive, art and the intangible/untouchable qualities of what we most value: devotion, time, connection beyond the corporeal). I am now sure that I want to place a stone in each of the 40 gloves, to weigh me down, visually and poetically.
Now my room is looking like a real studio:
Just a little more research to trigger that final, vital “aha!” and resolve the action of the performance.
Many thanks to the staff, other resident artists and local artists who have helped with translating texts and providing additional research topics, especially: Kerstin Rock, Chris Inken Soppa, Ralf Staiger, Alain Wozniak and Felicia Glidden. More soon!
As I see and learn more about the Salem Palace, some of my initial ideas are becoming reinforced. In the first days, I was obsessed with gilding, and stones and hands (and the ways one can both touch and not touch an object of value—or anything really—through the typical archivist cotton gloves). I have collected all these things, not quite knowing why. Returning to the Palace today, I saw a lot of gilding:
Right now, the ways I am making sense of this is to sew 20 pairs of white archivist gloves on a white dress, gold leaf a stone or two, and see if I can receive permission to perform in that waterway right in front of the Palace.
I am also doing an additional bit of research on local witches and other outcast women in history, as well as alchemists (as related to the gold) mostly due to the name of the place, and my connection to it, by proximity and ancestry.
For more information on the other artists in residence as well as the program in general, please click on this Salem2Salem link.
And following are some links to articles about our residency:
Visit to the Zeppelin Museum
I’ve been in Salem, Germany for 5 days and the research is just starting. There have been lots of meetings: meeting the 24 other artists, meeting the German program staff, meeting and greeting at the Opening Receptions; and trips: a trip to the scrap yard, to the art supply store, and to the lake to swim at sunset!
This is the Salem Palace, the center of our research, community and the site of the exhibitions.
I performed a little ditty, borrowed from Longva+Carpenter at the Opening Reception at the Salem Palace, at the request of Dr. Stefan Feucht, Project Director. I wanted to offer a durational visual art performance as the rest of the multi-media performances (experimental sound, vocal, music, readings and video performances) were presented on the stage. I performed for only 45 minutes, as the guests entered up the grand staircase, filling the space with the sound of inauthentic laughter/crying, slumped, face pressed to the wall. Longva and I had just performed this as part of a larger work in Poland, so it was what I had up my sleeve on only the 3rd day after arriving. (See the Longva+Carpenter website for more information.)
US Consulate General, Kevin C. Milas offers his remarks in the gorgeous Palace Library.
Kerstin Rock, Project Coordinator; Stefan Feucht’s daughter Lily and US artists Danielle Adair, Amanda Schoofs, Paul Mitchell, (me) and Matt Chinian at the end of the reception.
NOW the art can start! Here is just a wee visual tease: some of the items I picked up at the scrap yard and at the art supply store:
Some photos of Longva+Carpenter’s recent performance from the International Festival of Ephemeral Art in Sokolowsko are now available on their site.
A nice review of Discrete | Diskret has also appeared on the website of the Foundation for Polish-German cooperation, written by Alicja Hubala.
See the original text here.
With the help of Google Translate, here is a bit of the review in English:
"…The women face each other intently, not saying any words. All the attention is focused on fluttering over their heads a feather, trying to keep a safe distance with the help of regular gusts. This Sisyphean task is compounded by the lack of any possibility of movement. Their hands are joined by the form of a black caftan, and their substrate legs have no chance of escape. Balancing on the edge of their endurance, the artists lean toward the audience, revealing the weakness of their own bodies.
Longva & Carpenter for four years have come out with their artistic ideas. A performance by these women is a huge effort to work on concentration and perseverance… For Longva & Carpenter, art is a personal study and presentation of feminist ideology. Strength, endurance, courage and attempt to overcome adversity is a phenomenon that we see presented. The body here is a tool of art. The rest is background. Excellent performers use the technique of improvisation. In art, as in life - to fight to achieve the objective, regardless of adversity.…”
Longva+Carpenter had great conversations at the local restaurant, our festival dinner host, especially this evening with artists and new friends: Marita Bullmann, Alastair MacLennan, Evamaria Schaller, and Adina Bar-On.
We were also fortunate to witness so many incredible performance works, including this piece by Boris Nieslony, performed on the final day of the festival. (Photo: Artur Tajber.)
Thank you, In Situ Foundation!
Longva+Carpenter have been in Sokolowsko for one week! We thoroughly enjoyed teaching the workshop on site-specific, collaborative visual art performance to nine participants. This is one exercise in which all nine had to work together, silently, to fit on one chair! We are also looking forward to their presentations following additional workshops with Alastair MacLennan and Adina Bar-On.
Longva+Carpenter made it to the enchanting Sokolowsko: full of natural wonders (the “best air” in all of Poland), engaging artists, generous hosts and eager and interesting workshop participants. The photos show the In Situ Foundation co-founder, Bozenna Biskupská giving curator Małgorzata Sady, artist Alastair MacLennan and Longva a tour of the overwhelming, amazing former Sanatorium. It’s well underway for a total reconstruction, and we got an early, inside peek. More photos to come! Read more about Sokolowsko’s history here.
To see some images of last month’s performance, Discrete | Diskret in NYC, please view the album on the Longva+Carpenter Facebook page.
We are gearing up for our trip to Sokolovsko, Poland later this month to offer a related performance and teach a performance workshop during Contexts: The International Festival of Ephemeral Art. More soon!
Longva+Carpenter’s performance work from 2012, SHELTER, is featured as today’s post on IMMATERIAL, the new blog/publication by the Marina Abramovic Institute.
Thanks to Rochester Contemporary Art Center where it was performed, and photographers Kaci Smith and Devin Henry.
Direct link is here.
Longva+Carpenter thank NOoSPHERE Arts for a great evening for our multi-part, work-in-progress performance, Discrete | Diskret. Here is a peek at just one of the parts. More images coming, soon!
Photo: Diane Dwyer