During an artist residency in Berlin, I attended services in the city’s twelve existing synagogues. I did this to honor and to document the quiet perseverance and inner strength that I witnessed amongst the present-day, resurgent Jewish community of Berlin.
In response, I created a book of glass pages (edition of five, plus artist’s proof). I chose to make a book that cannot be burned and demands respect in handling. The material also references Kristallnacht, “the night of broken glass,” occurring on September 9-10, 1938. The amount of glass destroyed on Jewish property on this night was equal to the amount of glass that Belgium (then Germany’s glass supplier) could produce in half a year. Accordingly, all the blue glass used in the piece has been sent to me from Brussels. The position of the blue dot on each page corresponds to the location of each synagogue in relation to the other eleven synagogues as they would fall on a map of Berlin. The imagery on the cover is that of the restored stained class windows of Berlin's Oranienburger Synagogue. The book is bound on the left, as are Hebrew prayer books.
(artist's book, audio piece and dance below—please continue scrolling down, down, down)
Pages: glass artist's book
But they did not know that the books were already in our head, 2013-2015, kiln-fired glass, etching, hand-dyed linen, 7.75 x 6 x 3 in. Edition of 5, plus artist's proof.
Container: felt, foam and thread, 10.5 x 9 x 6 in.
Collections: University of Pittsburgh, University of Michigan and Swarthmore College artist's book collections.
All photos above by Ivette Spradlin.
PAGES: sound piece
this an audio piece—no video
PAGES: dance performance
performed at Wood Street Galleries, November 2015
Collaboration with choreographers Mita Ghosal and Joan Wagman
Pages dance performance: During an artist residency, I attended the twelve remaining synagogues in the city of Berlin, Germany, and recorded the sound of pages turning during services. I did this to honor and to document the quiet perseverance and inner strength that I witnessed amongst the present-day, resurgent Jewish community of Berlin. While editing this recorded audio into a longer sound piece, I kept envisioning dancers moving to the sound. And so I pursued this, and a collaboration was born, between Mita Ghosal and Joan Wagman (who are choreographers and dancers) and myself (who is not). The sound in these two separate dance pieces, RiseFallRiseFallRise and Still(ness) Weeping, evolved to include the sound of other composers along with my recordings from Berlin synagogues. But in the end, these two different pieces are based in commonly rooted ideas—the power of perseverance and hope in the face of great personal difficulty or global inhumanity.
I created the PAGES soundscape used in both pieces. For RiseFallRiseFallRise I also created and contributed sound editing, video and set scrim-hangings.