Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Melanie Noel's ghostrain

The Pritchard Park site is such a layered experience, it is impossible to capture a round view of the place strictly through the language of visual artwork. Melanie is a poet, and distinguished in that fact alone. But add to the mix her experience with sound and performance, her quiet incisiveness and ability to sustain a dialog, and her love of words, and she compels her way into the fabric of this show.

Simply put, Melanie conducted historic and firsthand information about the site, and she grew a poem from these seeds. The poem was then fragmented in various ways and the fragments were transcribed onto vellum and folded into small (about 1-2 inch) open cubes which were suspended throughout the site. Some of the cubic lanterns are marked with trail and name markers, others are meant to be discovered by attentive visitors to the site. At two points -- hanging under a non-native redwood tree's glorious canopy and sitting in a derelict abandoned car -- viewers are able to see the poem flat, in its entirety.

I include here at closing words about the site that Melanie wrote while working on the poem, as well as her statement about more of the intention behind the piece.

"It is unusual somehow, the park, the illicitness of so much of [the park's] social
life, and the incredible mix of beauty that supports that - it's like
shallow loam full of flowers on an island of bones somehow. There is
something there - that a little quince orchard can co-exist with an old
lamp cover - something boundless and bound up at the same time."

"ghostrain is inspired by Chilean poet and artist Cecilia Vicuna's, visual poems she calls "metaphors in space."

'Precarios is what is obtained by prayer. Uncertain, exposed to hazards, insecure. From the Latin pecarius, from precis; prayer. The word oir (to hear) was originally the same word orar (to pray). Reciprocity. By praying you reconnect.'

ghostrain is a single poem spread throughout Pritchard Park in white boxes, some tangled together and some hanging alone. The words are on the inside. They are a precarios of history, imagination and language; of their ability to migrate and dwell together, and find their place in a context of invisible integrity."


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