enjoy the satisfaction only a guillotine can provide



On a chilly Friday afternoon, Kaia and I made art cards as a Slow Learning project.

The intention: Take something precious, like a painting or a drawing you’ve made, and chop it to pieces.

Our process:

1. Create a painting on card stock. (Better yet, find a drawing or painting that you once thought was something special.)

2. Take the painting to my favorite art tool: the almighty guillotine-style paper cutter.  Turn the card image-side down (you want to be surprised later) and prepare to chop to a uniform dimension (I like trading card dimension, 2 1/2″ by 3 1/2″ because they fit so nicely in the little plastic sleeves you can buy at hobby stores)

3. Execute.

4. Try not to cut your fingers off. (The next step is much harder if you do.)

5. Turn the cards over and see the beauty that emerges.

I’m always taken by how clever the compositions of my new-found paintings are when I chop them up at random.

Kaia pointed out that the framing of the trees outside by the windows reminded him of the framing made by the paper cutter.

Framing, it seems, is everything.

What do we do with our cards now?  Read about my card obsession in an earlier post.

grotowski on art

“Why do we sacrifice so much energy to our art? Not in order to teach others but to learn with them what our existence, our organism, our personal and unrepeatable experience have to give us; to learn to break down the barriers which surround us and to free ourselves from the breaks which hold us back, from the lies about ourselves which we manufacture daily for ourselves and for others; to destroy the limitations caused by our ignorance and lack of courage; in short, to fill the emptiness in us: to fulfill ourselves. Art is neither a state of the soul (in the sense of some extraordinary, unpredictable moment of inspiration) nor a state of man (in the sense of a profession or social function). Art is a ripening, an evolution, an uplifting which enables us to emerge from darkness into a blaze of light.

We fight then to discover, to experience the truth about ourselves; to tear away the masks behind which we hide daily. We see theatre – especially in its palpable, carnal aspect – as a place of provocation, a challenge the actor sets himself and also, indirectly, other people. Theatre only has a meaning if it allows us to transcend our stereotyped vision, our conventional feelings and customs, our standards of judgment – not just for the sake of doing so, but so that we may experience what is real and, having already given up all daily escapes and pretenses, in a state of complete defenselessness unveil, give, discover ourselves. In this way – through shock, through the shudder which causes us to drop our dally masks and mannerisms – we are able, without hiding anything, to entrust ourselves to something we cannot name but in which live Eros and Charitas.”

when the medium is the body

1.  As human beings, all are born free to dance. I have the right to dance. You have the right to dance.
2.  This body–your body, my body, the human body– is a dancer’s body.The right to dance shall not be limited by age, training, ethnicity, education, body size and shape, physical ability, or appearance.
3.  My right to dance in safety shall not be compromised. I lay the boundaries, call the shots, draw the line.
4.  I have the right to take risks, to grow, and to change.
5.  I have the right to feel what I feel, to explore what I feel, to dance what I feel. I have the right to express even when I have no words for what I feel.
6.  When I’m hot, I’m hot. When I’m not, I’m not. In dancing I can be very, very sexy in many, many ways. And, my dance doesn’t have to be sexy or even pretty. I don’t have to be appealing or attractive or pleasing to anyone.
7.  I have the right to dance by myself and with myself, to explore the depths of my own inner universes, to appreciate the rich complexity of my own experience, to discover and reinvent new selves within myself, to explore and expand the limits of my own perception, to deeply experience who I am, to feel my way through the vastness of the cosmos, to honor the wisdom of my own body in motion and in solitary stillness.

8.  I have the right to dance with others, to communicate, to learn and to teach, to nurture and be nurtured, to give and to take, to challenge and to be challenged, to be the mirror and to look into the mirror, to play and to work, to witness and to be witnessed, to bask in your light and to show off my brilliance.
9.  My brilliance also casts shadows, and my shadows have the right to dance, too.
10. “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”—article Nineteen, Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The medium is the body, and everyone includes you.