The Time and Space Between is an exercise whereby two people - who live across the globe from each other - share a conversation via online conferencing. Art is created from an experience that crosses time zones and the planet. Each approach to the art is determined by the process.
In the case of this workshop, the connections were between people who had never met before, or re-connections with individuals who held important meaning in their lives.
Martin Steele in Medford, Oregon engaged in conversation with Pamela Wells in Warsaw, Poland, for example. Rachel X Hobreigh in West Hollywood, California conversed with Eva Von Schirach in Berlin, and both artists responded to each other through visuals and poetry. Similarly, painter Nurit Avesar in Los Angeles and photographer Rose Wang in Jinan City, China created conversation through their artforms. Arzu Arda Kosar made an opportunity to connect with family member Fuat Muhallebici in Turkey. The resulting sculpture is actually a model for a larger installation that carries the story of family property and its precious olive grove.
The pandemic has made online conferencing necessary, and has inspired friendships unimpeded by space and time.
Suvan Geer in Santa Ana, California creates a bookwork in response to her conversation with Arlis Grossman in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Suvan Geer's reflection about her bookwork, Overwintering: a word from a conversation with Arlis Grossman in Minneapolis. Via Zoom she showed me geraniums she was sheltering for warmth indoors while snow lay on the ground outside. She will return them to the garden when winter is over. I saw overwintering as a metaphor for the care we are all taking of our lives during this shared long pandemic. In overwintering I also see the hope and potential unfolding of a new life that is part of every Spring and the end of every crisis.
And several months later:
I had asked her if she would one day send me a clipping of one of her geraniums. She obliged before she put them in the basement and sent me two in the mail. I am rooting them in my yard now.
Medford, Oregon artist Martin Steele's interpretation of his conversation with Pamela Wells, an American who lives in Warsaw, Poland
Karen Feuer Schwager of Laguna Beach, California conversing with Silas Fong of Soeul, South Korea
Sandra Mueller's "Precious Precarity" in Malibu, California interpreting her conversation with Barbara Benish in Bohemia, Czech Republic
Rachel X Hobreigh in West Hollywood, California and Eva Von Schirach in Berlin, Germany interpreting their conversation though visual art and poetry
Between Here and There - a poem by Rachel X Hobreigh
When these eggs crack open,
And untethered possibilities take flight.
They’ll say we put up a good fight.
In spite of the Clown not so wise,
And the Covid on the rise…
Aren’t we all in for a really big surprise?
When we do finally realize,
That lock down actually equates…
To birdsong, books, and enchanted landscapes.
Ghost Train - a poem by Eva von Schirach
By the window passes the ghost train. An entire U-Bahn, entirely empty.
When was this different?
It is like this. Now.
Yesterday the ghost train went by my room, too.
Before yesterday three were sitting in it.
I counted them precisely.
It was easy work for me.
Just last week, how many were on the way from here to there then?
No idea. I don’t know. Didn’t pay attention. Didn’t lie in bed at that time.
Didn’t have time to count. But I also wouldn’t have been able to do it.
The train was packed then.
It was always like that. Before.
Where were they all going?
To a tunnel of horror?
Arzu Arda Kosar in Palos Verdes, California in conversation with family member Fuat Muhallebici in rural Turkey
Noriho Uriu in Irvine, California responding to her conversation with Keiko Saga in Sendai City, Japan
Pasadena, California artist Nancy Kay Turner's "Double Portrait" with Stalin Lopez in Bogota, Columbia
Nurit Avesar in Los Angeles creates a bookwork in conversation with Rose Wang in Jinan City, China
and Rose Wang's photographic journal is in conversation with Nurit Avesar
Carol Newborg in Albany, California responding to her conversation with Basu Nayanee in Kolkata, India
Layered Lives - Conversation with Basu Nayanee, November 2020 by Carol Newborg
As Nayanee talked about how her life has changed during the pandemic, I felt like I was listening to a many-layered interwoven story. I represented these layers as circles which can overlap and interconnect at different times.There were elements of the work through which I know Nayanee - her research into arts in corrections in California through a Fulbright here and her interest in art. But I learned completely new things, about Durga Puja - a huge 10-day celebration of a victorious goddess which, along with Mercury in retrograde, postponed our zoom conversation for several weeks.
I created the circles of Layered Lives to share a little of Nayanee’s many stories. Everything overlapped. At the beginning of the shelter in place, she gardened on the rooftop of the home where she lived with her aunt and uncle and other relatives, restoring her grandmother’s garden and finding connection with other neighbors gardening on their roofs. She also found peace in walking meditation in the garden, and I used a mandala circle to show her most important lesson from this quarantine time: “Slow down,” with which I fully agree.
Nayanee walked frequently to visit her parents and bring them food and supplies, and that walk took one and a half hours each way, so I mapped out a route in red thread on a Kolkata map. Later, she moved in with her parents and started exploring more lectures and events online from Saudi Arabia and Australia and other parts of the world. We actually reconnected before this project on a zoom opening for a Tehran art exhibit I’m in, and a shot of that zoom event is another circle.
While this conversation was an interview with Nayanee, we first spent some time together when she visited our San Quentin Arts in Corrections studio to interview the participants. I ended up finishing some of those interviews for her since Nayanee was at the very end of her 2-year Fulbright stay. The circle with interview questions and answers also represents her current work preparing to teach sociology at an Indian university after the panedemic.
From opposite sides of the world, we connected through art, conversation, learning to slow down, to garden, and simply to share the ups and downs of family and professional life.