Our first official field-trip was a success, while new projects have been embarked on and in-progess pieces have been completed.
As our artists leave, we discuss the residency, what they thought they would do and what they did do, and how the space is run. Constant improvement is the goal here, and we are feeling our growth. We have celebrated so many small successes here, and I am anticipating more in the next two weeks.
On Sunday evening, Amanda spoke about this project within the context of her other work as a master composter and a geographer interested in food systems. She shared her research on urban gardening, foraging, and the carbon footprint of imported foods. We were all impressed by the excerpts she showed of her recent video, Rerouting the Motor City: Notes on a City in Transformation, which was screened at the Allied Media Conference in Detroit in July and will be released later this year. Amanda also began experimenting with animation while in residence, and made a draft of an animated drawing that will never end, as it is a drawing of everything that could be composted.
Marlee got to work on crafting small books, redesigning vintage Michigan postcards, and beginning a new polaroid series considering where you stood / how you stand. Marlee spoke on her work at the Sunday evening lecture, and posed the idea that instead of DIY being 'do-it-yourself', it may be even more about 'do-it-together'. She shared a bit of Grand Rapids low-brow art culture with us, and reflected on the idea of her poster design being a meditative art of cutting, gluing, and stamping, much different than the process you would experience laying out the same imagery on a computer.
Elodie finished her Shared Space Blanket, just in time to test it out on the desert dunes of Silver Lake. The blanket fits us all comfortably, and has enough drink pockets to snuggle in a 12-pack of cold ones. The sand takes on a strangely soft doughy quality underneath this knitted coating; it's really a whole new beach blanket experience.
Josh continued to be influenced by Swift Lathers, the local legend who published Mears Newz, a one-page paper whose content was entirely from the mouth of Swift and had a subscription list of over 2000 people. Josh included several of Swift's poems, and he also drew advertisements for local businesses and a review of the sunset.
The resident artists organized a field trip to the Oceana Historical Museum, the former home of Swift and Celia Lathers, to learn more about their new idol who came from the next town over. To commemorate his years spent roughing it in the dune forest, they climbed the Silver Lake Dunes and explored the strange sights of dune buggies and endless stretches of sand.
Josh shared his newfound knowledge on the history of Swift, along with images of his past work at the Sunday evening lecture. We were excited to see his psychedelic animations of morphing paint droplets and a Lake Michigan sunset flashing back and forth with an eyeball in stop-motion time. His youth as a zine-maker and critic has informed his current projects where he explores the possibilities of publications... What if a paper were only one page long? What do artists make for a satire paper, where they are asked to emulate the trappings of horoscopes, puzzles, and advertisements? What about a hand-drawn paper placemat, advertising local businesses, with a quirky twist? How can a paper be distributed for free, and how can it be distributed in personal ways, far across the land?