Tag Archives: process

Invisible Ink: Homeless | Project Statement

Invisible Ink: Homeless
36” x ~250’, lemon juice and butcher paper, 2018

Dedication
This work is indebted and dedicated to the many people who entrusted their words to my care…guests and residents at the Compass First Presbyterian Shelter in Seattle and the Interfaith Works Overnight Shelter in Olympia, and those passing through the Interfaith Works Community Care Center and the Saturday Warming Center. Thanks also to the staff of these places and others who were generous with their time.

Project Description         

Invisible Ink: Homeless is a process of embodied listening.

I asked homeless members of our community to put their thoughts down in writing. They finished statements such as “When I look at myself I see…,” “I want people to see that I…,” or wrote without a prompt about whatever was on their mind. I was—am—moved by their candor and generosity. They are at the heart of this project.

I carefully transcribed their words in lemon juice (homemade invisible ink) on an uncut scroll of butcher paper, filling hundreds of feet with surprising, blunt, kind, sad, funny, stirring messages. It is a slow, contemplative, tender process of acknowledging and abiding with the truth that there is no difference but a home between me and a homeless person.

When heated up, the words appear. Visitors to the installation are invited to help reveal the words using a household iron. It isn’t just that sugar in the lemon juice caramelizes…browns. It is more profound than that. There is a structural alteration. Citric acid breaks down the pure white fibers of the butcher paper, making it more vulnerable, making it possible to see the invisible.

This process represents the care, effort and vulnerability required to overcome personal and institutional obstacles in order to see and address the needs of community members who live without adequate shelter and who are often silenced and ignored. It is about seeing people as people.

More simply, this is just about taking time to listen to what people have to say.

Artist’s Statement
I like to work with ordinary materials the inherent properties of which inform and reiterate the conceptual underpinnings of a given project. In all my work, I attempt to design processes and constraints that require me to labor longer than my initial inspiration or enthusiasm or outrage hold out. It is only after this something new can happen and I am changed by the work. Collaborating with strangers is unnerving, and writing with lemon juice is arduous: like the effort to see one’s own privilege or to make one’s own vulnerability seen. It is also basic, a little magical, and imperfect. Like human connection.

First and Next

The first impulse is to surrender the space. To make room. To not fill white gallery walls with more work by a white person.

The next impulse is to take responsibility. To make work. To not shift the responsibility–response/ability–to the people who already most bare the burden of whiteness.

And so I wade in–not stripped down and smeared in lard, but fully clothed and prepared to drown.

Whiteness.

Hold Up

Plans for reinstallation of TRP must stop. Everything must stop. There is no way–no way–the body refuses–the air refuses–to occupy any space in the ordinary way. The body refuses. The air refuses. It isn’t that TRP is beside the point now that Trump has won. It is that no action can be other than reaction. If I have a space to fill, it must be filled with outrage. Out. Rage.

Space, Place & Site Specific Work

As I consider how to install TRP at Feast, I am thinking about the nature of space and place. I can equate space with the unrepresented world–everything in the world as it is and has been–and place as the narrativized world–a selection (or selection out) of specific elements of the world in order to describe the world. Meaningless and meaningful.

The humanist geographer Yi-Fu Tuan writes that space requires the move from one place to another. I developed all of the elements of TRP for the Salon Refu space in order to transform it into a place. Now as I relocate it to a new space, as I consider how to transform that space into the place that is TRP, there is then a gesture–a motion–that describes/inscribes a new, larger space. Can that space also be a place? The space described by the gesture…can it be a place? And can that place be TRP?

Procrastination

While not writing…

PROCRASTINATION from Anne de Marcken on Vimeo.

Though it doesn’t usually feel like it until months later, the time I spend avoiding my desk or avoiding the page is essential. If only I could remember in the moment that procrastination is part of my creative process. Instead, I agonize and judge. Maybe, though, the agony (and judgment) are as essential as the distraction.