I'm curious because I've just joined a group of artists (artivists who "use the power of collaborative art to create social change" ) who perform to here in the Denver area - as the marketing support. I was intrigued when my daughter, Chloe, invited me to a meeting with the Art as Action group. She knows I'm an artist at heart. My art, for now, is writing. I lust after drawing, however.
The Art as Action performers opened my eyes to the true creative nature of being an artist. It's not just watching performances of Shakespeare at your local theater (in Rochester, that would be the Eastman Theater), or going to a movie (we just saw Pirates of the Caribbean with Johnny Depp and it was fab!), or tuning in to PBS for any number of shows. This group is beyond creativity, as we know it. They move and speak and connect in ways that challenge the eye. I would say they push the envelope but the truth is - there is no envelope. What they do pushes reality into and out of a knot that is fluid.
It's hard to write about in a composed, reporter style. I find myself wanting to tell a story - show you what I mean rather than just tell you what I mean. To that end, I will try - here, now, and in other posts in the future.
Memories of Tomorrow
It's a hot afternoon. The air is like a wet towel clinging to everything it touches. There is a hum pulsing in the trees. It slides along the leaves and slowly makes its way to the roots sticking up from the earth like boney 90-year old knees.
Melissa gazes up through the spaces between the leaves seeking the source of the hum. But, while the hum continues vibrating in her ears, it remains invisible, delicate, surreal. She turns her gaze to the wavy lines of heat hovering just beyond the edge of her sitting place. She wonders if the low-hanging tree limb dipping its leaves into the heavy humidity of the hot afternoon can sip the hot air. She wonders, if it does sip, what does the air taste like? Seaweed? She is not sure why seaweed is the only thing she thinks of. The air continues to fold her in its embrace. It sort of feels like seaweed.
"I'm a real person," she murmurs, as if to convince herself.
"I'm as real as you are," she says, squinting up at the halo of the sun bobbing in between the leaves.
No, you are not real, the leaves whisper to her. We are real but you are a dream we once had. We dreamt of a young girl lounging beneath our canopy, drinking a cool, pink liquid. She was like a wood fairy - with wings the color of a waterfall.
"I am not a fairy," Melissa says, so softly she is not sure she has spoken out loud. "I am a live girl relaxing beneath your umbrella of green. I have clear water, no pink liquid."
The tree is silent.
"Why do you not believe me?" Melissa asks. She shifts her posture, placing one slim foot over the other, stretching her toes out to touch the sunrays dancing on the blurred horizon tbefore her. She feels it is close, close enough to touch. But, really it's far, far away.
We believe in you, the leaves respond. But, you are not real. We like to play with the sunlight and the heat waves - and sometimes they bring us ghosts that want to be real. But, our imagination is what it is - a balloon made of silken shimmering light - full of beings that come and go like the sound of tomorrow beckoning each sunrise.
Melissa does not answer because Melissa ... is not there.
And so, there is a small element of 'art' in that little story. Art as Action is hard at work on their newest performance. They have launched a kickstarter campaign to raise funds. This is, in my brazen opinion, a worthwhile cause to put my support behind. I encourage you to share thoughts of art and what you believe it is or isn't, here. If you find art as important to human existence as I do, I ask that you consider joining me in helping Art as Action raise $2000 via kickstarter.
At the very least, join me in celebrating the ingenuity and inventiveness of a small group of ordinary people who bring the power of storytelling alive with dance and performance and poetry.
This year, in November, they present: beautiful mistake. You will hear more of this, I promise.