Artist in Residence 2016, Lauren Ferebee
Listen, for I have trustworthy things to say;
I open my lips to speak what is right.
My mouth speaks what is true,
for my lips detest wickedness.
All the words of my mouth are just;
none of them is crooked or perverse.
To the discerning all of them are right;
they are upright to those who have found knowledge.
Choose my instruction instead of silver,
knowledge rather than choice gold,
for wisdom is more precious than rubies,
and nothing you desire can compare with her.
June 20, 2016
In Proverbs 8, Wisdom says:
Does not wisdom call out?
Does not understanding raise her voice?
At the highest point along the way,
where the paths meet, she takes her stand;
beside the gate leading into the city,
at the entrance, she cries aloud:
“To you, O people, I call out;
I raise my voice to all mankind.
You who are simple, gain prudence;
you who are foolish, set your hearts on it. (vv. 1-5)
Part One: The Practical Aspect
In Which I Update You On Progress (And Reflect on Answers)
The photo and video included in this blog post are the beginning of a major part of creating this multimedia book of hours, a part I’m calling 365 Contemplations.
The book of hours is intended to be a deeply personal book, tailored to the concerns of an individual. While I have my own concerns, I’m interested in creating a more interactive project that both reflects my own musings and creations and those of the larger community I inhabit.
To that end, over the last few weeks I’ve begun inviting friends, colleagues, and strangers to email me with a concern that they are experiencing in their lives (if you have one, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org) and I am committing to creating a handmade artistic contemplation and mailing it to them. For me, in addition to creating the online performative components of this project, I’m keenly aware that the books of hours are artifacts of faith. I wanted to create things that can be held, looked at, felt, experienced on a tangible level.
In asking people to trust me with their concerns and in offering them a response, I’m putting myself in the proverbial place of wisdom in Proverbs 8, and taking an active role in examining the questions I put forth in my first blog entry. I often find myself wanting to be the seeker of wisdom (and that is certainly a role I am taking in this project), and yet I also find that I desire to “know what I know.” What insights, common sense, successes belong to me? What wisdom do I already have within me?
This update also includes a video of me fashioning this first contemplation. For me, creating it was, in itself, a contemplative act. I felt keenly aware of the length of time it took to make this piece and the uncomfortability at the imperfect act of making it, particularly while filming the process. It was an exercise in patience.
I look forward to updating you in the fall with more contemplations and plans for a performance or theatrical experience that will tie these pieces together (I won’t reveal too much about my thoughts on that front right now, they are too raw.)
Part Two: The Personal Aspect
In Which I Share (some of) My Non-Linear Thoughts in the Interest of Vulnerability
March 20, 2016 Reading: A Book of Hours, Thomas Merton
time as a sacrament time as an artistic medium in itself hours, days, seasons
becoming a point of nothing “compassionate time” – moments of potentiality how to use and create moments of potentiality for others?
Sunday – we are charged to repair, to heal, to build the world what is it we can find to love in one another? dawn, day, dusk, dark
the question is: how to become worthy again 1. to complete step by step the small & everyday tasks of living that signal to others & to your mind the prevailing sense of all rightness laundry cooking taking out the trash writing schedule out making coffee cleaning sorting receipts filing nails showering & maybe shaving legs/armpits taking pills
2. to indulge your profound anxiety & sadness and feed it treats until you no longer know that it is there sweets reading meditation movies music watching/listening to anything that sounds friendly
3. to indulge your profound anxiety & sadness by letting it run the show do not do anything imagine other people speaking to you the way you speak to yourself do nothing or hurt those peole speaking to you into speaking to you the way you speak to yourself be satisfied by their agreement
4. make sure it externally appears that you are happy & successful
5. behave successfully and find small ways to self destruct tear at your cuticles pick at your scabs keep acting like you don’t know anything forget to do daily things until you are too sad & self-defeated to do anything
these are all the ways that I have tried and failed to become wise. so this is how I come to you .
May 5, 2016 Reading: Poets on the Psalms, ed. Lynn Domina
implicit in the act of contemplation is moving beyond oneself into the experience of others’ suffering.
“The present moment is so painful that the only way we can bear to inhabit it is to visit it in a work of art.” – Poets on the Psalms
I have lived most of my life believing that eventually everyone will discover what is wrong with me.
the holiness of mud
May 15, 2016 consciousness – an idea
When we are at some young point in our lives we become entirely, fully conscious of who we are & as we grow older our consciousness slowly dies. It is this kind of surrender that propels us toward death (thanatos). the question is how to maintain consciousness.
Read Lauren’s first and third posts to follow the development of her 2016 Artist in Residence project.
All materials are copyrighted by the artist and used here by permission.