Being A Line

It was probably one of the best weeks ever for my mom, Sallie.  Last Sunday, my sister Rebecca met Michelle Obama at a swimming pool.  Their daughters were taking lessons at the same time.  My sister offered to teach the First Daughters how to knit, which made my mom proud.  We’ll see if FLOTUS takes her up on the offer!
Sheila HicksThen on Thursday morning, Headlong met and got to collaborate with Sheila Hicks.You might not know who she is, but if you are a fiber artist like my mom, Sheila Hicks is a living legend.  We met Sheila getting ready to rehearse a performance installation at the ICA, part of an afternoon of activities curated by our dear friend and sometime costume designer Kelly Cobb (Hotel PoolCELL).  Kelly asked us to create something in response to the Sheila Hicks exhibition.
David and I had spent time at the ICA taking in the work, which beautifully bridges the (artificial) gap between conceptual art and craft.  Her work is sometimes more abstract, sometimes more referential, always rigorously executed.  She plays with scale, and the materiality of her materials, which range from newspaper and rubber bands to linen, raffia, jute and other natural fibers.
Sheila Hicks happened to be at the ICA while we were rehearsing, and she talked to us about what we were planning, gave input on the costumes, and even collaborated with us on a section.  She brought down some gorgeous material that she had brought from France and suggested we use it in performance:
Mylar 2
We carried it through the space, laid it down, and then Erin wrapped me up in it.  Imagine the crinkly sound as I was rolled up and then unrolled.
Erin rolling Amy
David has been really interested lately in the idea of creating performances in galleries and museums and other visual art settings, and thinking about how we (the audience) view the body.  Any of you who saw our Big Reveal pieces that preceded More may remember a section where the dancers were lying down on the floor.  In that section, David’s instruction to the dancers was to become a line.  You are not telling a story, you are not revealing inner psychology, you are not “performing”. You are just being a line.
Big RevealBodies are lines
I learned something about David doing the ICA performance.  I think he wants to treat the human body the way a lot of visual artists treat their materials.  As material, not fodder for storytelling or revelation.  What is the form of the body?  How can looking at bodies lead to contemplation (the way we contemplate when we look at Hicks’ work) rather than satisfying an urge for entertainment?
Bodies near installation
All in all, it was a great week of exploration and research on these ideas.  And my mom was super happy.-Amy