Pegi Christiansen: Distance 10
This is the tenth in a series of blog posts by Pegi Christiansen, who was a Lynden artist in residence through October 2015. Learn more about her residency here.
On July 31 and August 1, Theresa Columbus flew in from Maryland, Jennifer Holmes from California, and John Loscuito from Florida so the four of us could work on the Distance exhibit (September 28-October 11) and accompanying performance (October 10 and 11 at 4:00). I invited these three artists--who had never met each other before--to participate in Distance. Jennifer was the only one of us who had never been to Lynden.
Theresa was the first to arrive, on Friday night, and pointed out there was a blue moon. This means it was the second full moon in the month, something that only occurs every two to three years. Both of us thought this perfectly characterized our year of art making.
On Saturday morning, I picked up Jennifer at the airport and the four of us went out for breakfast to map out what we would be doing until everyone left town on Wednesday.
We returned to Lynden and, for the first time, got to see the exquisite corpses we had been making separately for eleven months on 11” by 15” pieces of paper. If you come to the October performances, you will see them too and learn more about how these happened. It was a wonder to point to some of the ways, though hundreds of miles apart, we were aware of each other’s intentions. For instance in July, without anyone knowing what the other three were doing, there were circles in everyone’s images. We decided how we wanted the visual exquisite corpses arranged in the gallery, as well as our monthly dawn photos and, with Polly’s help, the text corpses.
For the remainder of Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, our time and energy was devoted to working on the Distance performance. Since February we had been writing the script for the forty-minute performance, but we needed to block it and, in some cases, to revise the script based on our actions. Every night Jennifer, John, and Theresa stayed up late at Lynden reviewing the day’s revisions.
Polly encouraged us to go out for dinner one night. Monday I drove everyone over to the River Lane Inn. We sat outside while the sun set on a gorgeous evening. I asked everyone if they would mind sharing something important personally and professionally (outside of the Distance project) that had happened during our year of collaborating. This ended up sparking incredible conversation. I described how the “Failure Round Robin” I organized at Lynden in April had liberated me. John gave examples of how he is making new opportunities available for artists in his new position. Theresa explained her “kidult” concept with adults and kids creating theater together. I have always viewed Jennifer as a total Amazon, and realized she was more vulnerable than I had imagined.
August was the final month for making visual and text exquisite corpses and our dawn photos. As another way to take advantage of our time together at Lynden, we completed the August text corpse by dinnertime on Tuesday, and that morning I arrived early so we could take our dawn photos with each other. We had selected inside and outside the bathhouse by the pond as our location. John and Jennifer took selfies, and Jennifer helped to take pictures of Theresa and me. Afterwards, we took this picture of the four of us.
Just as Polly needed to close the gallery on Tuesday, we finished blocking. We figured out all the next steps, and by Wednesday Jennifer, John, and Theresa were back in their own corners of the United States.