Day one: Celebrating the beginning of SF Summer Arts Collective
Today we began. as we did last year. with a poem from Emily Dickinson. A master of form, of making the ordinary strange, of aptly conjuring the overlooked. Dickinson is always a good place to start when thinking about creating. Here's her poem #591.
I heard a Fly buzz - when I died - (591)
I heard a Fly buzz - when I died -
The Stillness in the Room
Was like the Stillness in the Air -
Between the Heaves of Storm -
The Eyes around - had wrung them dry -
And Breaths were gathering firm
For that last Onset - when the King
Be witnessed - in the Room -
I willed my Keepsakes - Signed away
What portion of me be
Assignable - and then it was
There interposed a Fly -
With Blue - uncertain - stumbling Buzz -
Between the light - and me -
And then the Windows failed - and then
I could not see to see -
As before, we spent some time engaging with the language of the poem, looking at her use of spaces and em dashes, listening to sound devices, pointing out imagery and describing our impressions. This particular poem was especially prescient as one member of the collective had recently lost a loved one and had been told that the departed often appears to the living in the form of winged beings: flies, butterflies, birds. Another member described one of their ongoing projects that involves stitching flies into miniature window frames. Synchronicity was in full swing which indicates fertile ground for new connections and shifting perspectives.
After studying the poem, we broke into groups of three and were asked to spend about 45 minutes constructing a visual response to the poem. Below are some results.
After our lunch we came together around the big table again. Inspired by the games of the surrealists, specifically the exquisite corpse, we sat in a circle and were given a short time to respond to and build upon an object that was handed to us from the person on our left. Because these pieces travelled through the same hands, much of the work has a consistent quality. The surrealists believed that games such as these revealed the hidden subconscious of the collective and so, if there is any truth to this, behold the SF Summer Arts Collective's subconscious.
Thank you to all participants! We are looking forward to day two and the work that will follow.