You don’t start a revolution by fighting the state but by presenting the solutions. – Le Corbusier.
Recently, I mentioned attending training and taking a new direction with my work. I have worked as a caregiver for elderly patients off and on throughout my life. I never considered it to be my career, it was just something I was good at doing. So I did it, all the while still working to build my career as a visual artist. But over the past couple of years, I found myself discontented. I really wanted to have a career that I could be proud of, that challenged me, and something that I could excel in. The art market has just become so over-saturated, excelling in it just began to seem further and further out of my reach. And in art education I always had a hard time teaching the subjectivity of art, and no one I worked for seemed to offer much support for that. Everyone wanted me to teach the technical fundamentals, and it was something I just didn’t have the heart for. Furthermore, I began to picture what my life would be like as an artist if I did manage to become successful and make a living from it. The more I thought about it, the less appealing it became. I imagined day after day in the studio, trying to force inspiration even when it wasn’t there, and all of the elitist art shows I never go to now would suddenly be required attendance for the sake of my career. It just wasn’t for me, I concluded. So I settled on advancing in my health care career, and at first, it felt like I was just giving up and selling out. There was definitely a mourning period, and there were times when it made me resent my training altogether. But once I got in there, it all started to make sense. I was reminded of how much I truly do enjoy caring for others, and I also remembered just how good I am at it. In addition to that I was reminded of how screwed up our health care system is. Even in training, the emphasis is on the books and treatments rather than on the heart of the people carrying out the practice. I can honestly say in all of my experience, it is disgustingly rare to find someone who is in health care because it truly matters to them. Almost everyone goes into it for the money. Also, there are pretty much no options for holistic health or alternative therapies in our area. In a way this is frustrating for me because it reminds me of all of the obstacles I encountered in building my art career. I would much rather work for an organization I believe in and care for than have to work for myself and attempt to change our ways all on my own, but when those organizations are nowhere to be found in your home, what are you to do? You can either move away or stay where you are and attempt to create change. And improving my home, which I love despite its flaws, has always been a goal of mine in everything I do. It has had to be really, because everything I’ve ever wanted to do always seems to be against the norm for middle Tennessee. But the more I allow all of my experiences, in art, education, health care, and social activism to flow together, I realize how much it all makes sense. I don’t know that I would be as good in any one of these areas without the experience from the others combined. Everything has brought me to where I am, as this person I have become, for a reason. I may not know exactly how that reason will change over the years or what it will morph into, but for now I am proud to be an artistic health care provider with a heart for speaking out against social injustices in any way I can. I hope to bring more education about holistic health care to my clients and their families, and I hope my community can embrace the possibility of change with an open heart and an open mind.
So sorry, bloggers, for having been MIA! Life gets crazy sometimes, and things, such as blogs, get neglected. However, I come bearing exciting news. The first photo shoot for the “No Means No, Yes Means Yes” community photo project went down beautifully. Our photographer, Jessica Storvik, demonstrated her genius abilities with the camera, and many people took their stand against rape culture with variety, creativity, humor, passion, bravery, and just all around awesomeness. And it’s just the beginning. The next photo shoot goes down this Saturday. If you live near the Mboro, TN area and would like to participate, just drop me a line or two and I’ll set you up with all of the info.
Faith Wilding (*1943, Paraguay, USA) emigrated from Paraguay to the US in 1961. She studied and worked with Judy Chicago and was part of the Feminist Art Program and Womanhouse in Los Angeles in the early 1970s. To this day, she refuses to limit herself to a single artistic medium, and she continues to expand and develop the formal structures of her art. Her works include textile sculptures, performances, new media and critical discourses that explore social problems and issues. Until 2011 Wilding was a faculty member and the Chair of the Performance Department of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.Wait-With is Faith Wilding’s reinterpretation of her own iconic performance Waiting from the 1970s. She rewrote the original performance in 2007 and has since staged it several times. In Wilding’s words, “The prospect of redoing Waiting as a live performance after more than 30 years was both provocative and frightening, but I decided that this was an opportunity to revisit and comment on an early work, which had become iconic and frozen in time.” Instead of simply redoing the performance, Wilding undoes the piece to rearticulate Waiting as an “act of political love” and of resistance to consumption and forced production.
I was lucky enough to see Faith Wilding give a lecture when I was in college, and seeing the video of her performance “Waiting” was truly moving. Unfortunately I can not find the video of her original 1970 performance online, but you can find a copy of the poem she reads here.
Personally, I have noticed that feeling of being stuck in a constant state of waiting in my own life, though I am sure it is very different from the way women experienced it in the 70′s. I wonder, for those other women who feel the same, what is the cause of this? Do we choose to live that way out of habit? Or do we react to a habitual expectation men have for us to be that way? Both? I am inclined to believe it is a learned behavior, and I hope that most women in more recent generations have escaped it. If you feel you are just waiting….think of ways you can bring yourself into the present moment. Learn to enjoy your life in its current state rather than wasting all of your days on waiting for what is to come.
The momentum is continuously building for the “No Means No, Yes Means Yes” photo project! In just one day several photographers volunteered to run photo shoots, dozens of people offered to pose for photos, and the Out Front on Main Theater in Murfreesboro, TN became one of my co-conspirators.
With this series of portraits, I want to convey the message that “Consent Is Sexy” and required, every time for every person, no matter how “sexy” or “not sexy” they may appear to be. This project gives people the chance to embrace and express their own sexuality in a positive light, to break down stereotypes, and redefine feminism as we all work together to take a stand against rape culture.
Anyone can be sexually assaulted regardless of race, gender, or orientation. So I am especially greatful to have so many men and members of the LGBT community to be a part of this project.
We now have a facebook event page, and please be sure to pay a visit to Out Front on Main Theater. They have been so supportive.
There are several ways to stay updated on our progress with this project. You can join the event on Facebook, and you will also find updates posted here regularly. And be sure to visit the “No Means No, Yes Means Yes” page on this site. The link is in the upper right hand corner.
Consent is Sexy!