So far this year I’ve been looking at commitments. We are the ones who believe in something, strive to make something happen, commit to it, and yet we are also the ones who break those commitments. It’s a contradiction and wrestling we all face in some form or another. My projects so far, the Disposable Commitments stack of plates and the Flint and Lint glasses look at this in some way. Both seem to focus more on the failure and inadequacies of our nature, which doesn’t exactly leave us feeling great, but know that these are not finished yet.
Sometimes the in between, waiting, and unfinished states are the most unclear and yet that is where most of the work is being done. It’s out of sight and beneath the surface. Right now I will say that this is where these two projects lie.
In this post I’m giving a peek into a third project. You’ll notice in the clip that I have been working on this since January, hence the snowfall. It’s a video that looks at the subtleness of decisions. In the making and breaking of our commitments, we are essentially making a million little decisions. Often those decisions are so subtle we don’t even realize them until we find ourselves somewhere we never thought we’d be in life. Those decisions weave a thread through our lives everywhere we go, in the people and places we interact with, the work we do, the attitudes we have… Sometimes it’s a lot of pressure to decide if we should do this or live here or take this job or…
Exodus 28:1-5, 29-30
Have Aaron your brother brought to you from among the Israelites, along with his sons Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, so they may serve me as priests. Make sacred garments for your brother Aaron to give him dignity and honor. Tell all the skilled workers to whom I have given wisdom in such matters that they are to make garments for Aaron, for his consecration, so he may serve me as priest. These are the garments they are to make: a breastpiece, an ephod, a robe, a woven tunic, a turban and a sash. They are to make these sacred garments for your brother Aaron and his sons, so they may serve me as priests. Have them use gold, and blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and fine linen.
Whenever Aaron enters the Holy Place, he will bear the names of the sons of Israel over his heart on the breastpiece of decision as a continuing memorial before the Lord. Also put the Urim and the Thummim in the breastpiece, so they may be over Aaron’s heart whenever he enters the presence of the Lord. Thus Aaron will always bear the means of making decisions for the Israelites over his heart before the Lord.
I read this passage in Exodus earlier this year and was struck by the idea of a decision maker. Aaron was called to be this for the Israelites. What a role. While the chapter hardly relates to our modern day life as it contains mostly detailed instructions on priestly garments, I found the idea of a decision maker to be most relevant knowing we each are our own decision maker and yet we often make better decisions when we don’t do it on our own. So I took pieces from the passage and blended these with our modern day life. I am filming in each season, one season for each of the four colored yarns that are used to make Aaron’s priestly garment. It’s still underway and I am still processing what it is all culminating to. Since it is reliant upon the seasons, I can’t speed up the process. I have to wait. This makes me think about how we often make our decisions expecting visible and immediate results. Yet in reality, our decisions are only the beginning. Any results take far more time to cultivate and then produce something. Often the result is not dependent upon us. So like you, I am watching, waiting, anticipating what these decisions and threads will weave and create. While it may not be as I want or plan, I know that whatever it is, it’s going to be good.
Decision Threads (in progress)
See Melissa’s previous work for Spark and Echo Arts here.