Last week, on the Autumnal Equinox, I led this immersive installation as part of my final graduate presentation at Goddard College in Port Townsend, Washington.
The 45-minute event was meant to share aspects of my art practice and research process experientially. I was given a small room within which to set the environment: 50 striking stones from the shores of the port, a winding and tangled red thread and two altars set between two sets of chairs. Each of the altars held a bowl of sea water and a large silver spoon.
I used a loop pedal and guitar to accompany my voice for the 3-part contemplative practice, which included excerpts from my memoir/portfolio on creative process, esoteric & contemplative approaches to the arts, improvisation and the mysteries of reverb.
In the first part of the practice, upon the sound of a bell, participants entered the room and began to wander amidst the stones and red thread scattered on the floor. The thread was an indicator of boundaries and edges: their subjective nature, their malleability, the point-of-perspective that shifts according to where one chooses to stand. The invitation was to acquaint oneself with a stone, to feel its contour, colors and weight and then to call to mind a burden. The second invitation was to take a seat opposite one of the bowls and wait for someone to arrive in the opposite seat. Approach the bowl as a pair and one at a time, bathe each-other’s stone and exchange them with the wish that the other be liberated from their burden.
At the concluding bell, participants were invited to follow the stone to its new home. Many stones returned to the Salish Sea under a full moon the following night, some found new resting places in Montana and Oregon, Denver, Massachusettes, California, and New York.