Monday, June 11, 2012

Monday Mixtape: 5 Art Selections on the Story of Home

Each week, usually on Monday, I compile a metaphorical mixtape, a few "tracks" of art I can't wait to share with you.  It might help you to know that tracks are loosely related by theme and very much influenced by whim.

Two weeks ago we moved into a new-to-us rental in Austin.  The house is beautiful; from the minute we walked in the door we felt like we'd finally arrived "home" after ten months of living here.  One friend told me she felt like we'd been living for ten months holding a living plant in our hands, trying to keep it alive while we figured out where to place its roots.  Yes.  In hindsight, that is exactly how we've felt.

Nesting is a hobby for me.  I eat, sleep and breathe setting up house until some unpredictable moment when the last item is placed.  As much as my husband wishes this finale moment announced itself at a scheduled moment, I can only say "I'll know it when I see it."  Since life keeps rolling at the speed of a six-person family I am not even close to done organizing, cleaning, sorting, and decorating -- much to his dismay.  

In my downtime I've been collecting digital bits and pieces of art that relate (some rather loosely) to this theme of setting up house, beautifying space, rooting in a place.  Because, of course, houses are more than buildings or mere shelters.  Houses are storybooks encasing the beginning, middle and end of lives, foretelling tragedy, brimming with comedy.  We cultivate beauty in this sacramental space.  

Tonight we hosted our first dinner guests -- highschool and college-aged friends.  I scurried to clear all the random bric-a-brac I haven't found a place for yet, found three candles and a lighter.  Brian made chicken ceasar sandwiches, cut fruit, tossed a salad.  We sat together, ate together, laughed together.  Still surrounded by unpacked boxes and random piles of stuff, our friends helped us consecrate the space.  And it was good.

I offer you this week's mixtape. Won't you take off your shoes and stay awhile?

track 1:  Home That Was (installation)

Source: via Tamara on Pinterest

Home That Was
Benjamin Volta
temporary art installation, Philadelphia, 2010

This work fascinated me when it popped up in my email inbox via ArtWay this past Sunday.  As I've studied the website for the installation I'm even more intrigued by the brainstorming and design process, led by Volta, with a team of students.  

The tagline for the work gives valuable context to the work:  "Objects that fill a home on the walls of a house that no longer exists."

Visit the website, watch the slideshows, commit to paying attention to the lost and forgotten stories in the left-behind houses and buildings in your town.  

*While you're at it, subscribe to ArtWay's weekly visual meditations here.*

track 2: Tender Mending (song)

If you don't know Brooke Waggoner's music yet, you really just need to make it happen.  Now.  She has a new album coming out in September so that gives you just enough time to get to know her music.  If you've followed this blog for awhile, you might remember me talking about sitting around a campfire with her at Laity Lodge last year.  She's the real deal, folks.

Plus she just completed a tour with Jack White, so you don't really need to take my word for it.  I'm guessing he doesn't share his music with any old musician.  Know what I'm saying?

This song, Tender Mending, should have been our soundtrack this evening:
We nailed a bunch of pictures onto the walls

Wiped off all the kitchen counter tops
Lit a lot of candles on the table outside
To show our happy guests that were were happy inside...

track 3: Cave of Forgotten Dreams (film)
Source: via Tamara on Pinterest

Cave of Forgotten Dreams sat in the Netflix queue far too long.  The excellent filmmaker Werner Herzog tells the story of home on a whole new level. Subterranean level.  Paleolithic level.  He makes a film that gives all of us access to the Chauvet Caves in southern France.  His making allows us to wonder at the work of our prolific picture-making  ancestors.  He innovates the tools of his craft, bringing lights and cameras into the darkness of ancient dwellings, inviting us to gawk at the ingenious and sophisticated artwork, interpret the stories of ancient homes. 

We remember again, we are makers.  We are part of an entire humanity of makers.  We are grateful to our Maker.  I, for one, am also grateful to Werner Herzog.

*For a more literate film review, read Jeffrey Overstreet's thoughts here.*

track 4: Mongolia's Instant House (architecture)

Speaking of innovative makers, please admire with me the communal craftsmanship of setting up home by a nomadic Mongolian people group. The design simplicity of the Mongolian Ger affects me almost as much as the image of an entire family, young and old, doing the work together.

I need to watch this at least once a day during these nesting days in order to not lose perspective.

track 5: bonus words and images telling the story of home

  • A House Blessing for Epiphany:   What we learned praying through each room of our former home.  We'll certainly be pulling out these words again.  Even in the bathroom.
  • Come, Home:  A poem I wrote during our early homesick days in Austin.  Pleading for home.
  • Inspiration for our new place:  Once again, I'm pimping my Pinterest boards.  But if you're a curious sort of person (like me) you might enjoy browing the board I've created to inspire all the feverish nesting going on around here.
    Follow Me on Pinterest

From the written prayer a friend tucked into our housewarming gift:  "...may all those who enter,  friends and strangers, encounter the presence of Christ such that they are changed."  Amen.


Before I go, I should tell you that I love to hear what poems, pictures, songs and reasonable words you are enjoying.  Please do stop by the comment box and share a bit with me.  

Hoping that  you find your common days aflame with good books, pictures, poems, songs, words and ideas!

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