sorting piece (unburdening), 100s & 1000s, tweezers, participants, stories. Gallery 7, Madison, WI. 2015.

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sorting piece (unburdening), 100s & 1000s, tweezers, participants, stories. Gallery 7, Madison, WI. 2015. 

 
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sorting piece (unburdening), 100s & 1000s, tweezers, participants, stories. Gallery 7, Madison, WI. 2015. 

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sorting piece (unburdening), 100s & 1000s, tweezers, participants, stories. Gallery 7, Madison, WI. 2015. 

 

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sorting piece (unburdening), 100s & 1000s, tweezers, participants, stories. Gallery 7, Madison, WI. 2015. 

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sorting piece (unburdening), 100s & 1000s, tweezers, participants, stories. Gallery 7, Madison, WI. 2015. 

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sorting piece (unburdening), The Bubbler, Madison, WI 2016

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sorting piece (unburdening), video documentation, The Bubbler, Madison, WI 2016

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Unburdening is an experiential, relational performance piece facilitated in galleries, my working studio, in private homes and various other locations. 3 lbs of brightly colored 100s & 1000s are placed on a high table surrounded by four stools.  A variety of tweezers from the cosmetology, culinary and medical worlds are available to facilitate the sorting process. 


Participants are invited to sort the material into homogeneously-colored piles. The act of sorting the 100s & 1000s is a meditative activity that allows for an exchange of energy and unburdening of stories that participants spontaneously share. This exchange of energy is an important element in my performance-based work and revolves around the idea of art as a service, as an experience and also that art should be a gift.


The act of focusing on sorting colors, and also exploring the variation in colors that resides even in a manufactured product, allows participants to relax their conscious mind, releasing stories or burdens from their subconscious mind, and engaging in an act of social sharing that is critical in having a healthy mind, exploring creativity and connecting in a real way in this day and age of social media and digital disconnection.


The stories I have heard emerge spontaneously from this piece have varied wildly, from intense to funny to surprising. These stories are personal and universal, part of individual and collective memory. Focusing on brightly colored party treats also keeps people in the present; stories that burden us are lifted away through the sorting action, and not allowed to linger or become a burden to someone else. This is a space of processing that allows participants to parallel process life narratives in a contemplative way.  


While deconstructing a pile of colors, participants, through spontaneous sharing and connectedness, construct a temporary world of respite from the conscious mind, from burdens of social structures and from separation. Participants may spend as much time as they like sorting colors and may take with them a sense of ease and satisfaction from the gentle disruption of this colorful meditation and connection with self and others.

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