Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Red Sea Time

January 20, 2015  Lab 2.0  by Susan Weinberg

Sylvia Horwitz began our session on the creative process by introducing the concept of "Red Sea time", that period in life where you can't go left or right, you can only plow ahead through challenges.  We all have encountered that time in our work and several of us spoke of how we try to move forward in such times. Some of us just try to do something, anything, until the process engulfs us.

Sylvia is a tango dancer and spoke of those times when one might have an injury and be unable to dance, how even thinking about it activated the muscle memory.   When we try to move past brick walls by moving forward we hope that the movement will trigger that muscle memory drawing us back to a creative state.

As part of our discussion we also explored water as a destructive force as reflected in the stories of Noah and of the Red Sea.

Sylvia shared her work photographing the mothers and grandmothers of the disappeared in Argentina and the associations with water.  She talked of the memorial there which is situated by water. This is juxtaposed with the fact that bodies were often dropped from airplanes into the water, essentially an unmarked mass grave. Most were taken to torture centers and of 5000, perhaps 200 survived. Jews were disproportionately represented among the disappeared.

Sylvia spoke of the many roadblocks she encountered in the course of this project and her process in moving through it.  She outlined four steps which echoed some of the discussion of the Kaballah from our prior session, an apt structure for a creative process (noted in parentheses).

Her process begins with Preparation which could be reading, writing, discussion or experimentation with new techniques. (Atzilut-gestation)

From there she moves to Immersion which requires being present and leaving distractions behind.  It is a time where many possibilities exist and boundaries need to be set. (Beriah- boundaries)

Then she moves deeper into Intention becoming one with her concept.  This is the action phase (Yetzirah-action).

Finally she thinks about presentation, curating and fine tuning. (Assiyah-outcome)

 Sylvia closed her portion of the presentation by some discussion of the role of discipline in creativity and shared a passage by Anna Deavere Smith from Letters to a Young Artist Straight-up Advice on Making a Life in the Arts for Actors, Performers, Writers and Artists of Every Kind.*

We briefly broke for a water-themed nosh of watercress, lox, water bagels and of course, water.  When we returned Carolyn Light Bell shared her photographic work and then presented some of her poetry which addresses water.  Using her poems as a starting point we broke off from the group and each wrote poetry on the theme of water. We then returned and read our creations, each unique and reflective of the individual creator.

 *For those of you who haven't previously seen Brainpickings, the link for the Anna Deavere Smith quote, it is a great newsletter for artists with relevant and thoughtful information.  You can get it by email.

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