There’s a video at the end of this post…and it’s good too! But don’t skip the words between here and there. They only make the video better!
I’ve always been fascinated with the question: “What if?” What if we did that another way? What if something we value suddenly became something of no value or vice versa? What if the same words could tell a totally different story?
Several months ago, late at night, a ‘what if’ conversation led to an idea…What if I could take apart stories and rebuild them to tell completely different ones? This led to an experiment…which repeated itself several times over…leading to countless conversations…which turned into bigger and Bigger things…until it became…Conversations|Reconstructed.
For me, I have to pursue writing and art in the same way I pursue breathing.
It must happen to stay alive.
This project is that “next breath” for me, in pursuit of creating, pushing boundaries and collaboration. Myself and everyone involved have been awed by where it has gone, and we are eager to see where it will continue to lead us as artists and creators.
The Questions & The Details
What if I could take apart some of the greatest poems and use those words to reconstruct completely new stories? Could it be done? Could I do it? Would the words be able to tell different stories? Would I lose my voice if I could not choose my words, not a single one? Do words have enough meaning to tell different stories while they stay the same?
These are all the questions I asked myself as I began this journey. It was frustrating not to be able to choose my words but, as I started doing it, I saw the words, the same words, telling new and different stories.
Once I completed a couple of reconstructions it became very apparent I needed visual artists to help bring my stories to life. I started searching out artists whose aesthetics, I believed, would interpret well with this project. As each artist joined the project, (six in all: Illustrator, Sculptor, Graphic Designer, Painter, Lino Cutter/Digital Printer, and Street Artist) a beautiful collaboration began between these artists, my reconstructions and the iconic poets. Not only were we able to bring the poem sets to life visually (“poem set” being the term we use to describe an original poem, de-constructed word list and reconstructed poem), but each artist involved used the words to inspire their own story.
You will recognize some of the greatest poets of all time in the works: Yeats, Kipling, Henley, Dickenson, Hughes, Frye, Brontë, Poe, Donne, & Frost.
As our team comes from various places in the world, you will also find an international flavour to our exhibition which brings an added dimension to these conversations.
Chris – Illustrator
Benoit – Promo Materials, Logo Design
Anna – Screen Printer/Street Artist
Stacey – Writer, Creator, Curator
Cory – Graphic Design
Laura – Painter
Nikola – Lino Cutter/Digital Printer
Michella – Sculptor
Stephanie – Administrator/Lifesaver
I worried about the constrained creativity this project entailed. I mean, come on, a writer who doesn’t choose any of her own words?! I won’t lie, it was a struggle, and not only for me as the writer but for the visual artists as well. But we discovered even when you put parameters on and constrain creativity, creativity will not be constrained. Words carry meaning individually, and words together tell stories. You take them apart, put them back together and they can tell completely new stories. These stories then take on imagery, collaboration and multiple interpretations. Soon you find you are having new conversations out of the old ones! And…
The words became art we hold in our hands.
This is the true power of collaboration.
Together, more is possible than ever would have been on our own.
Here’s a sneak peek to aid your curiosity:
And here is a sample of a reconstructed poem:
One robin fainting in his nest.
Or one heart breaking again.
One life I live in vain.
If I shall stop,
Cool, the pain,
If I can live, can ease,
I shall help.
Not vain or not from aching
Reconstruction by Stacey Covell – (Original: ‘If I Can Stop’ by Emily Dickenson)
Conversations|Reconstructed tells beautiful stories, both written and visually, on the power of words. The power they have to change and stay the same, to cross cultures, to exhibit great beauty, to affect all our senses.
We are eagerly awaiting April 1st when we get into the gallery for set up and open the Exhibition a few days later! There is an opening evening reception on April 4th (RSVP). The exhibition then runs until April 19th. If you are in the area please stop by! Otherwise I hope you’ll visit via here or the exhibition web page.
If you like what you see why not consider donating to help fund this project. Costs cover venue, to the production of our Art Book and promotional materials, to hopefully being able to tour the project! Check it the specifics on the indiegogo fundraising site. There are loads of fun rewards you get for contributing too! You can also share and follow the campaign and exhibition there (under the video on the indiegogo page).
Here’s the link: http://igg.me/at/conrecon/x/5548328
You can also subscribe to the Conversations|Reconstructed webpage & blog, www.conversationsreconstructed.com, to learn more about the artists, keep up to date with the exhibition, and see behind the scenes pics!
And now, here’s the promised video. Benoit did an amazing job! Hope you enjoy it!
What do you like most about what you see? Leave a comment below. I’d love to talk more!