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

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Thesis Proposal

The birds are already chirping at 3:38 am and I've been awake for almost an hour. Perhaps Paul Cananese is right: silent prayer is the most powerful. I know that's true, but I wasn't sure about using it in the middle of the night to generate a thesis project.

In thinking about my final performance for the summer media class with David Jude Green in front of an audience of about eight, none of whom had actually seen me perform Widows live before, I believe that they universally felt the connection that I feel when I perform the piece - its inevitability: that is I must complete those lines because the Widows already exist. Even the one audience member who did not know what the work was about was hoping that the lines added up to something, that the grid symbolized something and was not just random. She was searching for the logic to help create meaning.

Conclusion: the live performance delivers the power, the genuine memorialization that is at the core of the project.

I see a performance where I come out and begin drawing lines, tallying, creating this memorial for the unnamed survivors around the world, the Widows. Their story is at once collective and individual, triumphant and bitter. Hopeful or hopeless, with terrible or wonderful stories, these women continue with their lives.

I see a performance where I come out and begin drawing lines, tallying, creating this memorial as I carefully add lines, as the chalk accumulates. I envision ghosted videos of myself adding lines as well, recorded live and fed back through a time delay, till there are three or more (?) ghost artists working on the project with me. If I take a break, they remain.

Conclusion II:
The multiple ghosted videos are a powerful analogy to the many lives lost and the gigantic, surreal proportions of the numerical reality.

Around the world, there are more chalkboards. They are the same size. Women and men, remembering lost ones, commemorate their own widowhood or widows they know by drawing a simple line. This line represents continuing --continuation in the face of what life is now. The lines join these people in a network of lines, a sisterhood or fellowship of hope. They have survived and are here to create this Widow's Weave (thanks Lessa). They are now part of this fabric, woven together with each other.

These lines are added to my lines, both by remote video, and on a website, where the lines accumulate to create a vast complex of lines from persons around the world.

Conclusion III:
True live interactivity demonstrates immediacy and transfers ownership of Widows to the audience. This piece is not about me, it is about those who have suffered and survived. Giving them a chance to participate is more powerful than anything I could say - it is a healing activity.

This would be a wonderful thesis work which would be accessible world wide to all who wished to participate.

If I could be your mother,
I could not start too soon
This is where the healing begins.
from "Generation Unintended" - Kevin Valentine

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