Sep 2007

Light pours into the future site of GROVE

This morning I walked to the future site of GROVE. As I rounded the corner, the morning light was pouring into the canopy hole where GROVE will reside. I have spent the last two days tied to the computer arranging permits and work days for installing the paper trees in the park. I am filling out tree forms and applying for grants but can't wait for this stage to be over so I can go into the site and begin clearing it. I have ordered a powerful propane cooker and 60 quart pot so I can begin to process the knotweed as we remove it from the site. There is some spring knotweed rotting in the garage, too, so as soon as the cooker comes I will begin to boil it all up and begin to make paper.

Strangely, I wasn't sad at all when Part 1 at the Media Bureau came down. Three weeks was plenty long enough to be there. However, since the Fringe came at such a busy time of year, I will be putting up a version of it in my studio for POST. It won't be the same, but that is fitting somehow. Not only does everything change in an instant, but nothing ever stays the same, either.

Last Monday I defended my professional deductions in the IRS audit and won a no-change decision. I must really be an artist now if even the IRS thinks so!

Thanks for coming out to a steamy opening; Why GROVE Lite?

Last Saturday was evilly hot. A sweltering day to go in town and stand in a hot room running four projectors. And yet my friends, relatives, and supporters came out to the opening and stayed in large numbers. Thank you all so much. I have very good and loyal friends. On the other hand, I myself did not handle the heat well. By the end of the evening I felt like a limp dishrag that had been put through one of those old washing machine wringers so many times that all that was left of me was shreds. Luckily, this week is cooler.

One of the challenges of working with technology is that you have to have a plan. The entire GROVE Part 1 runs the video to four DLP projectors through a signal splitter connected to my Mac Book Pro. The Media Bureau's events tend to run late and long and I was nervous about leaving my laptop running all night given that it had to last for three weeks. We tried another laptop which ran the video for about 12 hours before giving up the ghost. I had an old laptop but it would not even accept Quicktime 7. With four days left I finally had an idea. I took a camera out into Carpenter's Woods in the morning and created what I have come to think of as GROVE Lite. GROVE Lite is a simple slide show of green light and shadow in the very woods where the trees will eventually be planted and left to decay. My friends Madeleine (aged 3) and Katerina came and enjoyed GROVE and GROVE Lite yesterday. Madeleine preferred the GROVE Lite but for Katerina, the "real" GROVE had more resonance. The whole experience reassured me that even as Part 1 ends, Part 2 will demand my presence daily in the woods I love.

GROVE opens with help from my friends

GROVE exists! Six photos of the installation at the Media Bureau have been added to the slideshow. My first visitors disappeared behind the curtain, stayed for forty minutes and wrote: "very, very, cool!"

I want to be very clear though that the only reason that GROVE exists is due to the amazing help of all kinds that I have received. Bill (my husband) and Maryann (my mother) have funded this entire enterprise. Bill still supports the arts despite the fact that this project has caused us to hemorrhage money for 18 months. Bill also sat here for the whole day on Labor Day sorting out tiny receipts for the audit on September 17 that we are facing for the sole reason that I make no money despite having expenses, while I wrote e-mails to the press in the hopes of attracting some press for the show. Maryann paid for publicity, sent checks at low moments, and coughed up for a last minute projector on Friday when we found out at 8 pm Thursday that we couldn't get the one we had been counting on. Simon Rogers created an amazing soundwork for the single reason that I used to teach in his school. Ben Barnett (in addition to offering me my first opportunity to show in Philadelphia in 2004,) came through with the amazing space at the Media Bureau when an earlier venue fell through. Debra Hoffman should receive a medal of honor for wrapping and moving the trees with me despite my almost crippling anxiety, especially on moving day. Andrea Kirsh has written about my work and has provided me with advice and support, including writing a letter to the IRS on my behalf that moved me to the point of tears. (Let's hope the IRS auditor is similarly moved!) Nancy Goldenberg of the Friends of Carpenter Woods and Mark Focht, director of Fairmount Park have enthusiastically approved Part 2 of GROVE, when the paper trees move out into the woods, despite the risky nature of public art. Erica Brendel, one of our resident expert birders helped me choose the site and has been overwhelmingly supportive of the project. Maura McCarthy and Denise Larrabee of the Friends of the Wissahickon have offered both enthusiasm and support. Many, many other friends and relative strangers have helped, although I still await my wealthy philanthropist...Thank you all, treemaker9