Friday, January 23, 2009

foi response from Lily Brown-Johnson (CO)

Hi everyone.
Tuesday night I went to the studio with two friends who had promised to stay with me the whole 24 hours. I warmed up and thought about how unprepared I was and how weird and invisible and pointless I was, maybe just making some attempt at righteousness. I couldn't stop thinking that I ought to spend all of my time relishing in my freedom, not torturing myself with sleep deprivation, hunger, isolation, and fear.
During the next six hours I moved in ways I have never moved before, moaned and hiccuped in agony on the floor, burped enormously and repeatedly, imagined beauty, attempted seisure-like movements to stay awake, fell asleep, tried to find you all in the darkness and failed, and finally hallucinated gunshots and took the blindfold off at 6 a.m.
I went home. I slept for 5 hours. I woke up and could feel nothing but my own weakness, selfishness, etc. I called my mom and cried. She said "those others are big strong dancers and you are a frail little thing." I know she meant it as a comfort, but it certainly wasn't, especially since I know not all of you are "big strong dancers" and knowing that my primary weakness was my mind, not my body. I went to the library to watch the live videos of those of you who had web cams up.
I have never been so moved by an artistic attempt in my whole life. Thank you for your strength and your struggle and your web cams and your blind, stupid beliefs. I went to a friends computer when the library closed and was absolutely euphoric at watching you finish. Thank you thank you thank you.
I am trying to be an artist. I keep thinking it has something to do with a commitment to the earth, to people, to vision, to not-knowing, to action. Watching you all I could see that I do not yet have the commitment that is necessary to make meaningful art. But you have inspired me in ways I cannot articulate. I learned so much about art and life and myself watching you, reading your words, knowing you are in my country and are part of my community.
Thank you.
Lily Brown

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