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My love and I have ten minutes to find the venue and we’re lost. As we back track up Hindley street, we see a familiar face pop out of an alleyway and relief washes over me. We’ve found it. The alleyway is framed by posters for the show on either wall. I don’t know how we missed it. Others arrive at the same time we do, unexpectedly they are familiar faces that fill me with affection.
We are handed an instruction sheet to choose our nickname and log in to the show app. We make our nicknames and they wave us through. Down the alleyway and we swing left, down stairs and into a small room scattered with chairs. There is a small bar to the right and another small room with chairs. We can buy drinks at the bar and we continue to stumble into some of my favourite people as the venue fills up. We picked a good night to attend.
People gather in groups, some sitting on the scattered chairs and some standing, everyone waiting for the show to start. We pick out the actors by the small microphones taped along their jaws, they are dotted among us. The room has white sheets taped at various locations, we see the rolling projection of audience nicknames appear. We try to match nicknames with new people coming in. The projections match the app screen appearing on our phones. We’re all logged in and ready for whatever this is going to be.
Throughout the show I stand, I sit, I stand again. I eat crisps. I drink coke. I laugh. I cry. I feel the weight of sadness, of grief, of collective shame, of joy, of hope.
Technology is rough and ready, gritty with texture, projection sheets are slightly crooked, projectors are installed in milk crates. Actors look like me. Actors look nothing like me. Actors tell their own stories. Actors tell other people’s stories. Ushers are audience, are wait staff, are aware. Music is quiet, barely noticed but powerful, perfect, necessary. Audience can interact with their phones, or not. The phone app creating a tweet-stream like back channel, another way to listen, to learn, to question, to contribute.
This is the theatre I want more of. This is the theatre that I want to make more of. This is the theatre that I want to see more of. This is the theatre that I want there to be more of. Theatre that tells stories of here and now. Theatre that moves me. Theatre that reminds me. Theatre that pokes and prods. Theatre that unites and celebrates. Theatre that closes my throat with hurt. Theatre that fills my fingertips with hope. Theatre that is not perfect, does not try to be perfect. Theatre that is contextual and nuanced. Theatre that doesn’t have all the answers but has some offers. Theatre that takes me to old places in new ways or to new places in familiar ways. Theatre that does neither and both all at once.
It might not be your cup of tea, it might have a completely different effect on you. That’s okay. Not everything is for everyone.
January 25-28 2017
Director, Developer and Performer –
Edwin Kemp Attrill
Associate Producer –
Devisors and Performers –
Matilda Bailey, Melissa Maidment, Jamila Main, Jason Masiglia
Composer and Musician –
Lighting Design and Technician –
From my experience, it’s very satisfying to hurt someone that has hurt you.
I don’t want to be that person ever again.
That doesn’t mean being silent. It doesn’t mean accepting or condoning. It doesn’t mean ignoring. It doesn’t mean that I won’t or shouldn’t fight. It doesn’t mean I won’t defend myself or others.
It does mean it’s not perfect. It does mean I have no clear answers, responses, solutions. It means I have only questions.
But I don’t want to be the person who deliberately seeks to hurt anyone for any reason. I don’t want to be the person who gains joy or satisfaction from hurting anyone, even the worst among us.
That is not the person I want to be.
I looked in the mirror and faced that and I don’t ever want to be that person again.
It’s not a reflection on anyone else and their way through difficulty, sometimes we do just have to kick and scream until the darkness bleeds. Sometimes we do have to compromise our deepest held values and selves. Sometimes we have to sacrifice everything we want to be for a bigger gain.
And truly, I probably will have to compromise my own integrity in the future again too.
I don’t know.
But I’ll have to weigh it with myself. With who I know I want to strive to live up to. And so I’m naming it. The thing I don’t want to become.
This is just me thinking out loud, with the circles that surround me, because we all have to wrestle with these choices and make our own answers. Reconcile our own journeys. Its not an absolute thought or a conclusion of any kind. It’s a feeling my way through the murk.
I share, not because I think I’m right, I’m more lost and weighted with doubts than anything else, I share because other people’s sharing helps me. So maybe my sharing of the mess and the wading through can have value for someone else.
I wrote this as a facebook status on January 23rd 2017. I am publishing it here so I can easily find it again as a reminder to myself, later.
One word to sing a new year in/ to lure gently in, to sit softly perched/ on my shoulder/ my lap/ my heart/ to be welcome// #tinytwitterpoem (2015)
I enjoy marking time as an opportunity for reflection and growth. So for me the end of one year and the beginning of another is a beautiful time to gather my thoughts, say thank you for the year that has been and invite the coming year with intention.
My 2016 was on the less great end of the scale. As the year unfolded, my resilience and health unravelled. It was the cumulative impact of multiple personal losses (the deaths of friends and family in particular) as I tried to navigate a challenging professional year and the meat grinder of small but relentless personal and professional failures. The wearing down was very much exacerbated by some really shitty self-care on my part – physically and mentally – and I’m sharply aware of my own complicity in the year’s struggles.
IMAGE: Photo of cross stitch made by Jamila Main (@xcrossbitchx on Instagram) that hangs in my office.
Subjectively and objectively comparing it to other years, 2016 has not been my worst year, but it has been one of the toughest emotionally. It’s rattled me in a way that some of my worst years never did.
2016 was also a year that was filled with some incredible highlights and soul-filling opportunities for gratitude.
Including (in no particular order):
- Presenting my solo fringe show, Another Elusive Maybe. It was personal and vulnerable and outside of my comfort zone. The beautiful soundscape my friend and collaborator Ryan Morrison created for the show was a special gift. Watching and hearing people interact after the show gave me so much joy. And some very generous and heartwarming reviews, including this one from Jen St Jack at Great Scott.
“Amidst all the rabble about the true meaning of Fringe, I can tell you that this is it. Real art that pushes the boundaries – art that is completely different to anything you’ve experienced before.
Another Elusive Maybe is truly special. It’s an intimate and absorbing experience that cuts you off but leaves you wanting more.”
IMAGE: Another Elusive Maybe, reflected selfie with the audience at Smith Street, February 2016.
- All the beautiful and love filled weddings AND funerals I attended. These opportunities to be in the company of people I loved to share joy (and food), celebration and grief.
- Nurturing so many rewarding projects with Carclew and City of Onkapringa as the Creative Producer of ExpressWay Arts. In particular in 2016, Brienna Macnish’s The Third Place, spending a number of weeks with Girls Yarning Group at Christies Beach High School and Kids Against Humanity’s Losing Faith in Unicorns.
- Working alongside so many inspiring, supportive and excellent humans in my paid role, my independent projects and in my community.
- Continuing to quietly make connections with the residents of Manifold Portrait at my own pace. This project, more than any other, is teaching me all the things.
- The many other creative projects and opportunities I had, with special mention to Vitalstatistix’s Aeon Adhocracy residency, Spoken Word SA and City Library Poet in Residence program and Country Arts SA’s artist retreat.
- Joining Adelaide Sword Academy’s long sword classes. Fun, rewarding and unexpectedly life affirming.
- A perspective shifting and precious two weeks in the Kimberley as a participant of the Australian Rural Leadership Program. Followed by a week of getting to know the other participants in Melbourne and the knowledge that we have another 10months together in 2017.
IMAGE: A tired, dirty and grateful me towards the end of our Kimberley adventure. Ft. busted boot. Photo taken by Nova Peris on mobile phone, August 2016.
- Interstate trips for art and reunions that cemented how grateful I am to have this exceptional life.
- All the delightful, generous and thoughtful emails, texts, facebook messages and tweets I’ve received this year from a host of excellent people. In particular those people who have reached out with kindness when I’ve been struggling and those people who have supported and encouraged my creative practice at its best and its worst.
- Six (SIX!) amazing people who became my patrons in 2016, providing financial and moral support to my creative practice.
- Watching my toddler grow and discover the world. Little people are such a source of joy and perspective.
- Seeing my teenager growing into himself. Overhearing him tell his friend “Yeah, but you have to put yourself out there and try things.” This, of all the things in 2016, has felt like the biggest win. By itself, but in the context of history most especially.
- Another year sharing this journey with my life partner. We’ve both struggled this year separately and neither of us have had the reserves to fully support each other, but even so, our life together is a great gift. I was also really proud of him for being a finalist in a state teaching award and kicking some of his own professional goals across the year.
IMAGE: iPhone screengrab, conversations with my love, 2016.
- Developing some new friendships, deepening existing friendships and reconnecting with some old ones. Friendship is always something I’ve found difficult. I’m introverted (life is a kind of theatre too) and nervous and find making friends fraught with anxiety so the friendships I have are deeply treasured.
- Beach visits, making time for running, living in a beautiful home, the resources to live and eat, visiting and experiencing SO MUCH thought provoking, life affirming, inspiring art in all its forms.
2016 has been brimming with highlights, joy and excellence and with heartache, unhealthy stress, disappointment, hurt and loss. Neither cancels the other out for me.
I have felt and do feel both deeply.
I have struggled (hard) this year, with situations and with myself. I have felt gratitude this year, deep and real and filling gratitude.
Thank you 2016.
Your difficulty has forced me to face myself, to see what I really want and to ask for it. Your grace has given me the support and energy to find my way through a year that wrecked me. Now I’m ready.
IMAGE: Past, present and future audit/artwork at Country Arts SA artist retreat, facilitated by Lenine Burke. Ft. my feet, November 2016.
Some people hate the idea of New Years resolutions and some people love them and commit (or not) to a special personal goal every year. A specific goal has never been my thing but I really like the process of choosing one word for the coming year. One word as a guidepost, intention, tone. In the same way that as a host I might think about the music I choose for an event, the music doesn’t guarantee that my guests will have a particular experience, but it helps set the mood to encourage one environment over another. Think playing screamo versus folk/indie. Neither is better or worse music but they create very different vibes and experiences for the people who are there.
Choosing a word for the coming year is an opportunity for me to consider the kind of space I want to shape for myself. To think about how I live in my values, to bridge the gap between who I am and who I want to be and to let go of any baggage I’m carrying from the year that has been.
My word for 2017 is:
- Organize and encourage (a group of people) to take collective action in pursuit of a particular objective
- Bring (resources) into use for a particular purpose
- Make (something) movable or capable of movement
2016 brought into focus what I really want and what needs to happen to get there, so 2017 is taking the first steps to realize my way there.Mobilising myself, my resources, my communities to bring to life the best in all of us along the way.
See you in 2017, my loves.
A small selection of the things that shaped me, inspired me, moved me in 2016:
Joelistics, Blue Volume album
Electric Fields, Inma EP
Anohni, Drone Bomb Me single
Tina Arena, When You’re Ready single
Bruce Pascoe, Dark Emu
Patrick Rothfuss, The Kingkiller Chronicles
Guy Gavriel Kay, The Fionovar Tapestry (again)
Shane Koyczan, a bruise on light
Andrea Gibson, Pole Dancing to Gospel Hyms
Lisa Fa’alafi and Candy and Kim Bowers, Hot Brown Honey
Emma Beech, Life is Short and Long
PACT, Rapid Response Team
I made a stop motion animation for a uni assignment last month (October 2016).
500 or so individual pages with hand drawn images in black texta.
I passed the assignment, so yay on that front.
And now I have 500ish sheets of paper that I am giving another life to.
I’m recycling them into snail mail as a rolling project of connection, hello and sharing for anyone who wants in.
So if you’d like a letter/poem/something else sent to you or someone you know, just email me with the address details and who you’d like it addressed to. Put ‘Envelope(d)’ as the subject line.
pressurelands AT me DOT com
Or fill out the contact form below.
Four artists. Ten carers.
Many stories. One exhibition.
Weight I’m trying to hold for you/
a gift I’m trying to save for you/
these words I try to tame for you//
poem by @lylyee
A Caring Portrait was a micro community arts and cultural development project bringing together individuals with a caring role as a collaborating partner with professional artists. Together the artists and participants created fantasy portraits, which celebrate and share the diversity and strength of what lays beneath the exterior of individuals in a caring role. The project was commissioned by Carer Support and proudly supported by the Australian Government HACC (Home and Community Care) Program.
As an artist and maker and as a person I’m particularly fascinated by the secret dreams everyone has for themselves and how these dreams influence our daily lives and stories. And the tension between who we are inside and who we sometimes need to be for others which is especially relevant when you have a caring role. And so with A Caring Portrait I really hoped that the project could be an invitation for the participating carers to share their stories and hopes with us and that in some small way the end product would celebrate and document the diversity and strength of the amazing carers that are part of the Carer Support community.
“It reminded me of what is important and what I would like to achieve for myself,” she said.
By shifting the focus from her family to herself, Danielle felt the process began to motivate her to think about areas of her life that she may have previously not been able to make time for.
“It was empowering,” Danielle said.
– Brett Williamson 891 ABC Adelaide (full article: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-06-01/mother-and-daughter-carers-empowered-by-face-painting-project/6512278)
My cake collection baked a fierce feminist/
I am she/
she is me/
poem by @lylyee
L – R: Siobhan, Alysha, Vanessa, Brianna
A Caring Portrait
February to May 2015
Alysha Herrmann – Creative Producer and Poet (@lylyee)
Vanessa Kalderovskis –Body and Face Artist
Siobhan Fearon – Photographer
Brianna Obst – Assistant artist
Thank you to all of the fantastic staff at Carer Support who supported this project and for their ongoing passion for the work they do of caring for carers.
In particular thank you to Carer Support staff Marg, Tina, Julie and Josh for initiating the project with Alysha and Vanessa and collaborating with the artists to see it come to life.
You can see the final exhibition of photography and poetry at the Southern Carer Support Centre, 241B Main South Road Morphett Vale during office hours.
Not one for the conspiracy theorists:
Tailored suit and perfect words.
Drone bombs and head hurts.
You’re a spin cycle on repeat
I want to tell you
I see those grey hairs
I want to tell you
I see those deep lines
I want to tell you
I see that soiled smile
I want to tell you
I see that closed sigh
I want to tell you
We didn’t listen.
We didn’t see.
We didn’t say.
I want to tell you.
Dirty Thirty Day 20 Prompt:
Write a poem for or to someone you’ve never met. Could be a movie star, could be a historical figure (alive or passed on), could be an estranged family member, it’s up to you.