the power of the letter

This was posted on oook.ca December 2011
To provide context i included the entire article with my words in bold.
WRITINGS FROM THE WALL – rhean murray –the power of the letter by Sarah Fahey

We are words. It is what separates us from all other livings things on the planet. Without words we would not be what we are.  Much of what we are exists through the meaning and exchange of words. It is the heartbeat of communication and has the power to control and condemn or unleash and inspire.
To take that idea a step further, if the meaning and use of words have power then so does the structure of a written language itself. The use of last names and capital letters has been controlling people for ages. Entire groups of people have had their history erased and their future position cemented by changing their last name; this symbolically repositions them within a hierarchical system. These days we often don’t know our friends last names and more and more businesses are using all lower case in their title. It is a swiftly growing trend that has subtle effects; it is restructuring the system through the use of words and letters.
Golo artist rhean murray takes a conscious stand on this issue, “in the living spirit of semiotics i have embraced the philosophical idea of a nonhierarchy of letters. i am the lowercase i. it lends itself to a certain mindfulness in our age of spell check and automation.” I wanted to present rhean’s writing untouched because in addition to her use of all lower case I find her writing compelling, concise and on point.
 the medium is the message    
    life not an easy ride, the story is often confusing and complicated and in the quest for answers, creativity is the only steadfast companion. my own search for therapeutic enlightenment led to performance art and later shamanism. as a shamanic performer, i am compelled by higher powers to experience and enact certain ritualistic behaviour. as a result i don’t often produce artifacts that can become conventional saleable objects, so i do indulge in a more traditional markmaking practice as well. in keeping with the philosophical nature of my life, i work exclusively in self portraiture, often large scale nudes. the image creation is a direct extension of the performance work and are visual prayers. the naked human body is a powerful symbol, an attack and a defence perfectly balanced. a strong unashamed nude can be seen as threatening; yet it is also quintessential vulnerability, the physical representation of mental openness. self portraiture is a tough subject. every time you create a piece you reveal an intimate truth about yourself in a much more immediate way than through the filter of other subjects. my work has been described as difficult, controversial, elitist, inspiring and sensual. i don’t argue with any of these assessments but i hope it can be seen as engaging and interactive as well. i spent five years at the alberta college of art and design and one at concordia university trying to separate theatre from performance. theatre is a mirror held up to the audience, performance, a window. through the art of performance the audience teaches the artist as much as they learn from the experience. the neurological re-patterning that takes place when a living brain confronts the juxtaposition of a living ritual is the essential power of performance art, and art in general.

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