Where to begin?
Last weekend was nothing short of amazing. I drove to West Hollywood to meet (in person for the first time ever!) Cheryl Gross. Cheryl and I have collaborating for the past 3 years. Together we have made three books (Circe, Becoming Judas, and In the Circus of You) and two films (Circe and Becoming Judas). All of our exchanges have been through letters, emails, Podcasts, and Facebook posts. (We live in an odd place and time, no?)
Cheryl has been a guiding light and an amazing friend—yet we had never met…until now.
Cheryl, (her best friend) Louis, (my dear photographer friend) Jason Hughes, and I met in a West Hollywood. In the back parking lot we began to make some impromptu art.
Louis is covered in tattoos; these tattoos create a second skin—a tapestry of love affairs illustrated. (One of his tattoos is part of a collaboration that Cheryl and I have been working on. You can see more about this process by watching the documentary Tatt-Talk.)
Jason took pictures of this living tapestry—I took the images and projected Louis (as art) upon my skin. Then, collage artists Dawn Fox and Pavlina Janssen added paint, glue, paper, nails, and tinfoil to the human canvas. Photographers Emily Fox and Charles Hood took photos of the layering. Layers.
We brought our own stories, intended messages, and experiences to the project. For me, the project was about exploring and exhibiting basic human rights—the right to be, the right to love. (It also was a love message to a dear friend.) Art often is layered even in its intentions–isn’t that a sort of magic.
Hopefully, whoever sees what we made will bring their own visions of what it means to be human. For me, this piece is growing into a web of connections–of understandings. I attempted to write a poema about it; I’ll keep attempting to write “that” poem.
Adding to the excitement–this project continues to grow! There is a strong possibility that this piece will become a performance in the near future. Oh, happiness lives in possibility. There are still some details to work out, but if you are interested in seeing “The Human Collage” live, please mark Tuesday, November 27th in your date books. (We might be living poems at the Beautiful Boston Court!!!)
Best to all in hope and layers.
Place—a Pastoral of Amplified Flesh
Intersections of rivers and roads—fibrous—
vein and vessels spread beneath us—
as though we’re candles passing over
or hands plunging under
the unattainability of location. There is
a story omitted from every script –
territory synonymous with unsayable
events. Let me rephrase:
I knew a woman who burned finger sized
scars in her arms with erasers—
marking how she was pinned to an orchard—
the taking of all her fruit.
I knew a man who housed a virus—science
cut doors to his spinal cord.
Hands inside another. This man, woman,
were conscious at entry.
When they said, this hurts. No one stopped
A light passes over—How many hands
before a stopping place?
Photo by Jason Hughes
Next layer of photos by Emily Fox.