Final Documentation.

Walking on the Earth.

 

Walking with the spirits.

“You may think I’m small, but I have a universe inside my mind.”  -Yoko Ono

“Art is my life and my life is art.” -Yoko Ono.

 

Performative story telling is as natural to me as is object making, writing. My intention was to deliver the interior workings of making moccasins – the frenetic, deep walking of my making as it weaves through materials, anxiety, the past, my own fragility as a person. I felt that I had already documented the physical steps to making the moccasins in my last post, and that showed well the organized neat little steps that my hands went through to execute the objects for this class. The performative nature of my classroom visit, was meant to address the other process that always seems to come when I am pulling all the cords together to make something.

Because I took seriously the spiritual aspects of moccasin making for the purpose of this project, I took on a proper vision quest three days before the class. This means that I fasted, I travelled within, I went somewhere.  It was in this ‘alternate reality’ that a deep dialogue came up around pain, loss, joy and just how fragile and beautiful a journey it is for me as I walk on the planet. The flower image – a joyful one- is laced with red beads around the pink, indicating harshness and softness as necessary elements to the journey I am taking in my life. Further, in the journey aspect of the project, I kept being reminded of an excerpt of my book, one where I insisted on my own identity while standing in a pair of borrowed moccasins. I realized that the two projects were deeply related to each other, while being such different manifestations of creative energy. Nonetheless, as the connection was made, I honored it and decided to read the excerpt as part of my presentation.

 

As I became the maker, I also took seriously the meditative tradition of beading and sewing in Aboriginal culture. The moccasin tops each took one full day uninterrupted and the construction several more days. Through all of the making and construction I kept sage burning and my mind in a contemplative state. I kept thinking about the idea of ‘contempt prior to investigation’, as I myself had some doubts that entering into the more meditative aspect of this project would really produce any profound results. And hey, lets face it, it is often much easier to keep a shallow step in things, to not question anything too much, to gloss the surface of life, use the right words, wear the right clothes, not make too much noise of difference. It is definitely when you choose to alter the surface of reality by heading into other perceptions that you start to explore the boundaries of what is ‘normal’, and what is not – and this can be scary, disturbing and uncomfortable.

 

Truth be told, the days spent in this practice, completely skewed everything going on around me, and I felt that was the purpose of the work in many ways. Noticing the connection between my book and the moccasins – evidence in fact of the moccasins to come- made me also see the threads that connect the moccasins to current work such as my writing in Detroit and my more theoretical interest in Benjamin and the flaneur – all studies on walking as metaphor. I am not surprised by this. The blurring of everything, the lack of taxonomy and order was overwhelming, and as my life spilled over a bit, I held onto the moccasins as if they were little boats keeping things moving.

It was my intention to pull the curtain back a bit and lay myself a bit open. I had just watched Yoko Ono’s cutting pieces and realized that part of storytelling and performance is to channel such things as discomfort, pain, heightened places of interpretation – the purpose of storytelling and performance is to take the viewer somewhere that matters, even if this location is odd, uncomfortable and decorated with strangeness.

So, in the end, that was my gig. It always has been. Along the way I make. The two (experience and object) are not separate, and each inform the other’s poetic. Some will find this a valuable narrative, and others will not and will be more comfortable if I separate the two into appropriate taxonomies. Either way, I think I will press on, revealing through story telling the places my steps take me.

Right now I am in my friend’s strange van, traveling through Southern Ontario by accident. I probably should be up in Toronto attending to bills and the last bit of school. Instead I am peeling back the rules. Yesterday, I was smoking a cigarette in a rambling little wartime house of my friend’s down in Windsor and she offered to put me on a train to keep on this walkabout. Because of her, I’ll be in Kingston a bit later today. From there, who knows? I am considering keeping going. One of my largest mentors is living down in Southern Mexico and I will not be surprised in the least if I get on a plane and keep going.

I blame the moccasins. And thank them.

Have a great summer!

 

 

 

I must say I am very pleased with the physical results of the moccasins. The bead work is really getting to be a strength in my work and I feel ready to enter into even larger projects that I have set aside for my thesis work.

 

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