Me(dia) Response: the final creative act

Me(dia) Response: the final creative act

On Friday, October 20, we came together for the final workshop in the three-part Me(dia) Response Self-Awareness and Activism Through Art-Making series at MIT List Visual Art Center. 

Photojournalist Dominic Chavez presented his work and recounted tales of visiting Sierra Leone, Iraq and other conflict areas and Danielle Benaroche Gottesman shared insight into the importance of self-care in managing the barrage of stressful circumstances, including violent imagery.

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Me(dia) Response workshop #1 — making a statement

On Friday, August 18, 2017, I had the pleasure of working with twelve curious and courageous souls who attended the Me(dia) Response: Self-Awareness and Activism Through Art-Making workshop at MIT List Visual Art Center. This, the first of a three-part workshop, stirred a conversation about the excess of violent imagery in our news and questioned the role of the photographers, editors, and consumers (us) in making (and disseminating) political statements. 

After a guided meditation, participants selected violent images that spoke to them—hands that called out for help, people locked in protest for their civil rights—from a collection of over 100 that I've been snipping from newspapers since December 2016.

We got right to making, each person gluing together over 60 pages of newspaper. The goal was to give participants quiet time to consider the glut of violent imagery and news as they busied their hands. But heated political conversations quickly ensued. The imagery may have aggrevated some who were not comfortable sitting with the feelings it evoked. Or perhaps they were frustrated at not being heard in other contexts. 

As time went on, the suggested shape, a vertical stack akin to striated rock, took on new and surprising shapes — a flower, a frayed puck shape, and a hand for instance.

Now it is my turn to alter the twelve completed accumulations with a unifying color and texture using a black rubbery paint. I'll return in September to guide the next set of participants through a deeper understanding of their role in shaping media (and how they can take control of it) by altering someone else's creation.

Me(dia) Response: Self-Awareness and Activism Through Art-Making is part of List Projects: Civil Disobedience, a program of documentaries, news footage, citizen journalism, artist’s films and videos focusing on moments of political resistance and public demonstration from the early 20th century through today. Presenting records from the historical Civil Rights and women’s movements, gay liberation and AIDS activism, the Black Lives Matter movement, and recent Women’s Marches recognize the history of resistance, and considers the role that artists and documentarians play in chronicling and confronting abuses of power and social injustice.  July 18, 2017 - October 29, 2017 (Note: closed August 22–27. Daily screening program will resume on August 29.)

Inner Chamber — a collective art making exercise at the Gardner Museum

Inner Chamber — a collective art making exercise at the Gardner Museum

I’m please to be part of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s new “Sanctuary Series” with a workshop of meditation and art making that provides a unique experience within the museum’s collection and provides tools for synthesizing the barrage of mass media imagery that fills our daily lives.

“Inner Chamber”, part of the Gardner’s Sanctuary Series
Sunday, March 6, 2:30-4pm
Register in advance.

As a young child I was “diagnosed” as having an over active imagination. This was my parents way of soothing me back to sleep after a particularly realistic nightmare in which the Pink Panther stalked me while his theme song played.  This “superpower” as I now like to see it, the ability to imagine what isn’t there, is closely correlated with imagining what could happen or what is to come in the future. It is the power of imagination. And when not harnessed properly it can lead to useless worry.

It is also the power of empathy.

After learning to recognize the difference between dreams and reality I next had to content with the nagging worry about what could happen in real life – especially when it came to human suffering.

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