Widowsweave is an awareness raising series of performances highlighting the conditions of Iraqi Widows who often struggle to acquire even basic necessities such as clean water or adequate shelter. Through artistic durational activities the artist and public participants mark 3,000,000 lines representing the number of Iraqi widows from 30 years of war, tyranny and sanctions.


Kevin Valentine will have three new pieces in the Faculty Show at North Central College, Naperville. The reception is April 8th, from 6-8

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Technical Goof

As it turns out our new video cameras have phantom powered mics. The switch was off so that I have no sound for either the performance or the thirty minute critique that followed.

Things I think I got from the critique:

People liked it, and were moved, but some were confused as to the significance of using a chalk board, i.e., why chalk (as per spring crits)? I answered why chalk was a useful medium, as I've already articulated, but now that I have built a chalk board, there was discussion as to that object.

It was said that it might be too laden with reference to school, or have too much permanence as an object to thematically capture the ephemerality of the performance. But the opposing point of view was also posited. I recalled Cliff's view of the board as no more than representing school memories, and I expressed that this was a valid response, and that putting a whole written portion on the board or in the video would take away the "art" and make the piece solely a political statement.

Once again there was talk about the physical accumulation of chalk, both on the board and dropped pieces, dust and cardboard on the floor. Concern was expressed that the number of dropped pieces of chalk and the rapid application of chalk sent the message that I didn't care, that it was a casual relationship with the numbers. I said that this was due to the haste needed to keep up with the video. Paul asked why I had to keep up with the video, why I had to hurry. I explained how though I wanted to appear to try to carefully count, I wanted some breakage to occur to represent missing, inaccurately counted or misrepresented numbers of surviving widows.

Other means of applying multiple chalk lines was discussed (as it was in Spring Crits). A holder was mentioned, used to draw music staves, but I pointed out that that brings another image set, that of music into a performance we are trying to make clear and simple. Discussion ensued about creating an artist-made holder or series of holders. Ridiculously large holders would be thematically correct, but might become comical instead of tragic.

There was also discussion as to how best to proceed, saying that it was close to thesis material, but needed to be investigated further. Future ideas were discussed. People liked the performance aspect, the liveness.

Discussion of gallery dynamics of a show included talk of how to keep the video running, and sometimes I would be there, sometimes not. Would I occasionally erase the board and start over? Would I just keep adding lines. Would I put in regular hours? Punch a clock? - I think that again would bring with it too many connotations as to the meaning of the count. Could audience members add lines?

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