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  • Sacral abstraction: Alpha and Omega

    Krzysztof Sokolovski Alpha And Omega 1 Loading Video . . . Through abstract images Lithuanian artist Krzysztof Sokolovski develops his theory of Neosacred Art as evidenced by his meditation on Revelation 1:17. Revelation​ 1:17 Sacral abstraction: Alpha and Omega By Krzysztof (Christoph) Sokolovski ​ Credits: ​ Curated by: Alina Potemska 2016 ​ ​ ​ Primary Scripture Loading primary passage... Loading Passage Reference... Share This Art: Facebook X (Twitter) WhatsApp LinkedIn Pinterest Copy Link ​ My work's concept is based on capturing a moment of static time that you can imagine during the awareness of contemplation from start and end at one point. This beginning and end is Jesus Christ himself. It can be difficult to read this abstract image since it is devoid of similarities to material forms. However, in my opinion, these abstract forms are such that correspond to the philosophy, principles and expectations of sacred art: it is free of rationalization and has only the task of recalling spiritual and metaphysical experience. The abstract form of art can serve sacral art in drawing out spiritual meaning and getting to the main idea because it skips all the issues connected with interpretation, understanding symbols, cultural questions or technological problems of image. Spark Notes The Artist's Reflection ​ Krzysztof (Christoph) Sokolovski was born 1985 in Ejszyszki, Lithuania. He graduated from Gdansk University of Technology (Engineering) and the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw (Faculty of Painting). He also took a course of clinical anatomy at the Medical University of Gdansk. In 2015 he started as a PhD student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw (Faculty of Painting), doing easel painting as well as monumental. Additionally, Krzysztof draws illustrations for anatomical atlases. Having created the concept of Neosacred Art, Krzysztof Sokolovski engages in active artistic and theoretical work. He has been the recipient of a list of awards and achievements throughout his artistic career thus far. Website Krzysztof (Christoph) Sokolovski About the Artist Krzysztof (Christoph) Sokolovski Other Works By Related Information View More Art Make More Art ​ View Full Written Work Close Loading Video . . . ​ Download Full Written Work

  • The Day Is Almost Here

    Loading Video . . . This fast-paced sound and vocal collage by composer Jonathon Roberts sets Paul's urgent words, "The night is nearly over, the day is almost here." Romans 8:10 Romans 11:17–21 Romans 12:1 Romans 13:11–12 Romans 14:7 1 Corinthians 9:24 1 Corinthians 16:13 1 Corinthians 15:51–52 2 Corinthians 5:14 Galatians 5:7 The Day Is Almost Here By Jonathon Roberts ​ Credits: Voice: Jonathon Roberts (Paul, Hans Ternes, Chorthip Peeraphatdit, Nora Hertel, Choyning Dorji, Ki-yong Min, Tasneem Mirza, Won Joon Kim, Bao Ha, Phyllis Odoom, Sandra Obeng, Tariq Engineer, Olia Shapel, Emily Clare Zempel // Additional text: Christy Bagasao // Image: Scott Baye Curated by: ​ 2005 ​ ​ ​ Primary Scripture Loading primary passage... Loading Passage Reference... Share This Art: Facebook X (Twitter) WhatsApp LinkedIn Pinterest Copy Link ​ This sound and music collage sets the urgency with which Apostle Paul spoke to people about what lies ahead. The beats are made from chopped vocal sounds while voices join Paul in many languages from around the world saying "the day is almost here." The focus of this piece is Romans 13:12, "The night is nearly over, the day is almost here." Additionally, twenty-four other passages from Paul's letters related to this theme are incorporated in the piece. Additionally there is a brief line of poetry from Christy Bagasao: If the battle ends and your heart is still beating, it is because you have lost. If the battle ends because you have breathed your last, then you have won the race! We imagine Paul nearing the end of his life, racing forward while countless thoughts and phrases race through his head from years of traveling and preaching. This piece is part of the larger theater work, Project Paul . Spark Notes The Artist's Reflection ​ J onathon Roberts is a composer and sound designer for games, film, theatre, and ensembles. His style grew out of classical and jazz training, and evolved through quality life adventures: touring the country in an RV with a one person theater piece on the Apostle Paul, living in Brooklyn with an improv music ensemble, performing in a downtown NYC absurdist comedy band, and a long stint writing music for the renowned slot machine company, High 5 Games. He has released four albums including the latest, Cities a song cycle personifying biblical cities. He created the popular podcast/web series ComposerDad Vs. Bible , in which ComposerDad accepts intense compositional challenges from a mysterious Bible while out with his kids. He frequently collaborates on music and theater projects with his wife, actor Emily Clare Zempel. They live in Beacon, NY, with their two boys and a tangled box of electrical cords. www.jonathonroberts.com Website Jonathon Roberts About the Artist I Make Tents The Sower Response There Is Room These are My Sons Consider Me a Partner Weakness Surrogate Babbler Remember Me Prayer How Beautiful I Am a Fool The Constant Ecclesiastes Cows Blessing Fools for Christ More Than Rubies Only a Few Years Will Pass Dear Friend Jonathon Roberts Other Works By Related Information View More Art Make More Art ​ View Full Written Work Close Loading Video . . . ​ Download Full Written Work

  • Ruined

    Loading Video . . . The Spark+Echo Band brings to life the wild imagery of Isaiah 6 in their lively song Ruined, featuring nimble flute and piano underscoring Isaiah's text. Isaiah 6 Ruined By The Spark & Echo Band ​ Credits: ​ Curated by: Spark+Echo Arts 2010 ​ ​ ​ Primary Scripture In the year that king Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up; and his train filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each one had six wings. With two he covered his face. With two he covered his feet. With two he flew. One called to another, and said, “Holy, holy, holy, is Yahweh of Armies! The whole earth is full of his glory!” The foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. Then I said, “Woe is me! For I am undone, because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell among a people of unclean lips: for my eyes have seen the King, Yahweh of Armies!” Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar. He touched my mouth with it, and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away, and your sin forgiven.” I heard the Lord’s voice, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am. Send me!” He said, “Go, and tell this people, ‘You hear indeed, but don’t understand; and you see indeed, but don’t perceive.’ Make the heart of this people fat. Make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and turn again, and be healed.” Then I said, “Lord, how long?” He answered, “Until cities are waste without inhabitant, and houses without man, and the land becomes utterly waste, And Yahweh has removed men far away, and the forsaken places are many within the land. If there is a tenth left in it, that also will in turn be consumed: as a terebinth, and as an oak, whose stock remains when they are felled; so the holy seed is its stock.” Isaiah 6 Share This Art: Facebook X (Twitter) WhatsApp LinkedIn Pinterest Copy Link ​ Six winged angels flying to your lips with a live coal, ravaged fields and ruined cities‚ÄìIsaiah 6 is full of dramatic imagery. It's a vivid story filled with uncertainty and atonement that takes some time to sink in. This is the text that inspired "Ruined." The recording is from the Spark+Echo Band's debut album. Spark Notes The Artist's Reflection ​ The Spark & Echo Band is a family outfit of songwriting-storytellers led by husband and wife duo Jonathon Roberts and Emily Clare Zempel. Their music brings forgotten poetry and wild stories from the Bible to life: visions of sparkling wheels in the sky, hunger and thirst, and legends of love as strong as death weave with memorable melodies and captivating rhythms. Drawing from a classical background, influenced by the pianism of Rufus Wainwright and Ben Folds, and emulating Paul Simon’s narratival techniques, Spark & Echo sings epic tales of love and adventure. The duo has collaborated on three full lengths albums (Spark&Echo, Inheritance, Cities Project), one video album (In the Clocktower), in addition to many theatrical collaborations, this very nonprofit, and two children. They live in beautiful Beacon, New York, with all of the above. Website The Spark & Echo Band About the Artist White Robe Deep Calls to Deep Yo Sé Do You Love Me? Where Can I Go? How to Be Free Flesh Lifeblood Artist in Residence 2015: Spark & Echo Band The Wheels Frogs Inheritance The Spark & Echo Band Other Works By Related Information View More Art Make More Art ​ View Full Written Work Close Loading Video . . . ​ Download Full Written Work

  • David

    Loading Video . . . Spark and Echo Arts is pleased to feature the work David, a sculpture by artist Ebitenyefa Baralaye. Mr. Baralaye captures and reflects on the complexities of David's life with a special focus on Psalm 27:1-5. Psalms 27:1-5. David By Ebitenyefa Baralaye ​ Credits: ​ Curated by: Spark+Echo Arts 2011 5 in x 11 in x 18 in Nickel-plated polished bronze Sculpture Primary Scripture Loading primary passage... Loading Passage Reference... Share This Art: Facebook X (Twitter) WhatsApp LinkedIn Pinterest Copy Link ​ David, an ancestor of Jesus Christ, was the second king anointed through the prophet Samuel to oversee Judah and all Israel. He came to his reign tensely under service of the then denounced first king, Saul, who, in fear of being usurped, continuously sought to take David's life. A skilled warrior, David's life was marked by warfare and victory, tragedy and praise. In his intimate devotion to God he was known as a man after God's own heart. The stature of the piece reflects David's masculinity and strength. The deepened cracks and inflamed sheared edges reflect his fearless mettle on the battlefield and yet vulnerably broken humanity, while the more elegant curvatures and sinuous planes embody his confident tact as a strategist, diplomat and man of bold faith. The overall energetically outward gestures of the piece capture David's earnest dependence and need for the presence, provision, leadership and love of God in his life. Spark Notes The Artist's Reflection ​ Ebitenyefa Baralaye is a ceramicist, sculptor and designer. He was born in Lagos, Nigeria, raised in Antigua and lives in the United States. Ebitenyefa received his BFA in Ceramics from the Rhode Island School of Design. His studio bases have included Long Island City, Queens; the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts in New York City; and Bloomfield Hills, MI where he is currently enrolled as a Ceramics MFA candidate at the Cranbrook Academy of Art. He has exhibited in various solo and group shows domestically and internationally including the 2011 Gyeonggi International Ceramix Biennale in Icheon, South Korea and the 2016 Toronto Design Festival. He has held residencies at the Peters Valley Crafts Center in Layton, NJ and most recently, Talking Dolls in Detroit, MI. Website Ebitenyefa Baralaye About the Artist Artist in Residence 2016, Ebitenyefa Baralaye – Part 3 Artist in Residence 2016, Ebitenyefa Baralaye – Part 2 Artist in Residence 2016, Ebitenyefa Baralaye – Part 1 Abram Artist in Residence 2016: Ebitenyefa Baralaye – "Bam Bam" Ebitenyefa Baralaye Other Works By Related Information View More Art Make More Art ​ View Full Written Work Close Loading Video . . . ​ Download Full Written Work

  • The Cell

    Loading Video . . . John Estes brings us this impressive new poem in response to Philemon 1:12-16. Philemon 1:12-16 The Cell By John Estes ​ Credits: ​ Curated by: Kent Shaw 2015 ​ ​ Poetry Primary Scripture Loading primary passage... Loading Passage Reference... Share This Art: Facebook X (Twitter) WhatsApp LinkedIn Pinterest Copy Link ​ While I can hope it stands on its own, this poem is part of a longer work in progress called Utopiary which, broadly speaking, explores questions of apocalypse and perfectibility, the human inclination toward not only these ends but any projected and aimed for end, idealisms of any kind which remove us from the real present and, more importantly, from real presences. This section is a response (and a reaction) to the book of Philemon, and in particular Philemon 1:12, “I am sending him, that is, my own heart, back to you,” which I found pleasingly ambiguous and pregnant with possibility beyond its context. Not that its context—Paul in prison, writing on behalf of a slave to his owner—isn’t suggestive enough. Christianity, like most religions, is grounded in a rigorous idealism, even as it attempts to deal with humanity in ruthlessly realistic terms, and the poem explores the question of human autonomy in its relation to images of bondage, and of life in relation to images of death, both central tropes of the Christian imaginary which inform history as well as the domestic quotidian in myriad, mostly disastrous, but occasionally beautiful, ways. As Hannah Arendt writes, “To raise the question, 'what is freedom?' seems to be a hopeless enterprise.” Yet, still, we do. Spark Notes The Artist's Reflection ​ John Estes directs the Creative Writing OProgram at Malone University in Canton, Ohio and is a visiting faculty member of Ashland University’s Low-Residency MFA. He is author two books, Kingdom Come (C&R Press, 2011) and Stop Motion Still Life (Wordfarm, forthcoming), and two chapbooks: Breakfast with Blake at the Laocoön (Finishing Line Press, 2007) and Swerve , which won a National Chapbook Fellowship from the Poetry Society of America. See more at johnestes.org Website John Estes About the Artist John Estes Other Works By Related Information View More Art Make More Art Today I 'm trying to conceive a world without the word insatiable- what would become of that happy current, that urgent emptiness View Full Written Work The Cell by John Estes Go, sit in your cell, and your cell will teach you everything. — Abba Moses Today I’m trying to conceive a world without the word insatiable — what would become of that happy current, that urgent emptiness, its pit-like pleasures, without a term to house it? Look it up: the opposite and negation of sad , which shares a root with sate , its math makes me wonder why we bend so hard toward fixity and fullness. We lack a curriculum of lack, a course of study in keeping the nothingness we need from devouring us. Keep turning, she said, as we parted, as if it were the last piece of advice I’d ever need, and maybe it was, or still is. She might as well have said keep tuning, or simply keep, following the laws of parsimony which describe the reduction of all utterances, in time, to their simplest, as these acts too serve across domains, serve like ring bolts which hold us fast to the anvils of what we’d choose to last until there’s nothing left to save. Too much depends, just to crawl out of bed, upon reckoning unreconcilable acts of conservation and expansion. Never finished the article, the one I started at my bedroom desk, the one I thought the paper would take, my eye-witness account of the overturned hog trailer, right there on the highway, right in front of the house, the road smeared with blood, offal, and pig shit, swine corpses ballooning in the summer heat. The stench and traffic. Never finished that list of words they should ban from poems— who would brook a world without stars and hearts or clouds and shrouds? — as if I, having jettisoned (or been jettisoned by) God one too many times already, don’t know too well that the closer one draws to (or is drawn by) sacral agitations, how bone-dry trust in the wordhoard runs, as if already Not body, not figure, not form not what has quality, quantity, or mass, not in space, not visible etc etc etc or so says Dionysius the Areopagite, pseudo-Denys some call him, but what’s in a name? What’s it to a life so long as we have the text left behind? Here in front of me is 542 pages of Frank Stafford, whose real name was Francis Gildart Smith, The Battlefield Where the Moon Says I Love You , in the other room is a woman not speaking to me, and I can’t stop thinking about him, caught between his wife and lover, how he left the room where the three of them (fought, wept?) and put three bullets in the center of his chest, right into what that forger, the fake St. Dionysisus, might have called his single all-complete and single cause of all, his cordis, his roboris , his animus poeticus , and that was it, dead before 30, extinguished but for the poems they’re still cleaning up, this big fat genius mess on my desk, unreadable but read aloud anyway, as all epic poems should be, a sport in Arkansas apparently (if only Kansas would claim Ronald Johnson’s Ark as theirs): I longed to be one of the monk saints so silent tending the fields then I wanted to be one of the wandering students that had taken me under their wind then I dreamed of a life on the sea a common sailer I sing but I am not a singer I write but I am not a writer Like that, on and on, hour after hour. You can read Milton in 12 (which I last did in Kansas, with a table full of students and a pot of chili), Stafford takes more like 15, but what’s time, no more than another name, another word we give, to mark an anomaly, Mark being the wrong name my psychoanalyst called me. Who is Mark? This is the question Andrew asked me over breakfast at Fred’s, hash and eggs for him, oatmeal with half biscuit and gravy for me. I stressed the diner waitress by asking for fresh fruit—wasn’t sure how the cooks would react to a request like that—and she was quicker on the take than I had anticipated, starting a glib repartee that bordered on flirtation; I remembered my uncle, years ago, once people started worrying about me or wondering, saying that you just never know where you’ll meet her, maybe a waitress, he said, it will surprise you, the one, he said, but the older I got, the more dislocated my emotional (in)competencies became, and the one was the least of my problems, but I looked a little closer at this one, unsure why in diners they never bother to introduce themselves, so short order. She poured more coffee, brought a steak knife with the strawberries, told me to be happy, that was the best I was getting today, and I looked again at Andrew, maybe the best looking guy I know, glad that he felt comfortable enough around me to eat a plate of food that a man with a Ph.D. should know better than to ingest, and he’s going to clean it, just like I, a vegetarian by declaration, don’t flinch at the dun sausage gravy. We are Pisces, and like our secrets, that’s the point of it. It equals the apophatic enrapture (or entrapment) inherent to holding yourself in reserve, to living out of sight, to being unknowable, impenetrable, more vapor than soul. A monk tried to convince me once that the supreme value was, what he called, integrity—defined as being as you appear, an exterior with matching interior— simple to use the clinical term, though he had no idea I read Climacus and so knew that a simple monk is like a dumb but rational and obedient animal, that what it denotes is one without evil thoughts or idle curiosity, a test I would certainly fail, me, an enneagram 3 with a 4 wing (?), much too engaged in the maintenance of my engramatic dissociation; Luther Sloan from Deep Space Nine describes the theory: when a person’s mind is sufficiently disciplined, he’[s]…capable of compartmentalizing contradictory information, believing one thing while doing another. We are of course, by nature, hypocrites, simpletons even, full of inconsistency while deploring contradictions— bats nesting in broad daylight, spiders forsaking the web, bears loose on the prairie. The trend these days is to speak, as if without shame, as if real, authentic, people, as if nude pictures of ourselves on our phones made us more human. And maybe they do; humility after all is beauty. Sure I’d prefer the government not intercept or store them, but I condone that sort of intimacy, the voluntary violation of one’s own privacy, better than jealousy; forgiveness and mercy better than rage. The only law is grace, with the only question being whether freedom comes from fusion or distinction. We are just people here, whatever orgiastic cult you follow, imprisoned by our cells (does the body hold or is it held?) although it’s hard to say who’s more stuck, the living or the dead, the being born or dying. Who are these people, who must be as acquainted as I am with nature, with the fastness of our position, bonded even inside the cycles we pass through, transmutations the givens within the constants, like a runner in love with what the body can do, like a heroine enmeshed in an endless quest chain, who insist we error on the side of their ideas about angels, chaste perfections who pass through walls. So when my student’s mother blackmails her adult poet son in an effort to get what she wishes, namely (and solely) that he not date the woman he loves, why is it not so plainly obvious to everyone as it is to me what an abomination of heaven this is, to speak figuratively? When St. Paul, from prison, pleads for the life of Onesimus, maybe an escaped slave, maybe an estranged brother (we need Origen’s lost fragment to settle that dispute) he says to this prick Philemon: “I am sending him, that is, my own heart, back to you.” And by heart he means his σπλάγχνον (splagchnon), his guts, his inward parts and inwardness, the seat of his compassion. The KJV renders it: thou therefore receive him, that is, mine own bowels. Paul doesn’t, by this synecdoche (συνεκδοχή) demand his manumission but you know that’s the strong arm he’s subtly applying. Maybe it’s counterproductive to say I think that manipulative mothers are going to hell (to speak literally), although I do, which people will be surprised some day to discover is populated only by terrorists, slavers, abusers, and terrible parents, the only ones God at the apokatastasis will refuse to absolve. I’m sorry to break it to you, saith the prophet, but even St. Paul, himself prone to minor tyrannies and tantrums, refuses to compel by force; he insists on individual sovereignty, itself an aporetic knot, a throw of lots, like the human being itself, that pure (or purely) symbolic thing, so he takes his chance that Philemon might scourge the shit (or worse) out of his repatriated property—in order that your goodness be of your own free will—which seems like, I don’t know, a sketchy bet, at best (even though American slaveowners cited the book as God-given proof that runaways must be returned—let’s add fundamentalists to that list). He even makes a joke or two at the kid’s expense, punning on his name, Onesimus, which means useful in Greek, who will one day be canonized as a Blesséd Onesimus, who in his current suspended condition of vacated-subjectivity is, like poetry, useless until put to use. Paul here invents the Western inwit, the notion that conscience conveys reliable information but the apostle, popularizer if not originator of the annoying trope in Christ , invokes a good excuse to do or say about anything— the figure of prosopopoeia, etymologically to make a face (prosopon+poein), wearing the face, i.e., or putting on the mask of the dead god, summonsing (or conjuring) his presence and performing an alchemcial coniunctio (not unlike, oh, I don’t know, a platinum filament catalyzing the combustion of oxygen and sulphur dioxide), a virtual re-enacted resurrection and assumption of an absentee’s power to effect, in effect, the epiphanic Voila! of a third thing, a new self, a slave no longer enslaved, a master no longer a heartless bastard, love manufactured from the mercury of lead. Who believes this magic twaddlerot? And recall that Paul never once mentions a miracle, or a parable, or exhorts the theotokos, his ever-virgin mother, the first heart, because maybe those tales weren’t even written much less extant; his Jesus, the Christ who lives, is straightedge, a boring guy with a crazy plan that just might work. Who doesn’t believe or want to at least in the possibility of getting better? And so when we say the rest is history we mean not only keep the moon, your hands, and your hydrangeas out of poems but that the whole of it, what we kill each other over, is a pepper’s ghost because if anything’s real it’s what’s off center somewhere on the other side of the mirror, which is no less difficult a phantom to fathom than the possibility of a new being. Maybe I will leave this room and be the first to breach the silence, be like a telemarketer trained to refuse to listen, to hear one word as another, trained to press on and not to wait, because it’s not true that the one to speak first loses, that there must be a loser, or losses, that any of it zeroes out. It’s not like a model for monogamy exists, like marriage is the only thing improved by fear, uncertainty, and doubt. Maybe I’m really a 5 with a 6 and a 3 wing. Maybe I’ve failed the one test I most sought to pass: don’t disappoint the trace of Thoreau which finds no value in outward conformity consoled- slash-tempered by the delusion of inward independence. He would hate me for spending $200 on an 1865 first edition of his letters, edited by Emerson, at an antiquarian bookshop in Sonoma. He would hate Sonoma and curse me for liking to get drunk, and no not on the liquor of esoteric doctrines. He would not appreciate the rigorous contradiction at the heart of my economy, an insufficient wildness compounded by a failed domestication. He would have an even greater disdain for the digital scan now freely available of this collection, or the fact that a market exists where it fetches a thousand dollars. Let what’s gone stay gone, HDT would say, so long as those present stay perfect. In a letter dated 1842 to Lucy Brown—the woman who introduced him to RWE (her brother-in-law), a passionate attachment biographers call it (a cathexis later transferred to Mrs. Emerson)—he says about his tetanic late brother: I do not wish to see John again—I mean him who is dead—but that other, whom only he would have wished to see, or to be, or whom he was the imperfect representative. For we are not what we are, nor do we treat or esteem each other for such, but for what we are capable of being. But when I say that I’m capable of anything I usually mean that which would land me in the clink or sink me. But as it is I cosplay each day as a respectable person, not letting on that I’d rather be looking at naked people on the Internet, lost in a trance-like tryst with a beautiful stranger with no concern for discerning between realms of the real and imagined. But such dispassion, trenchant metaphysics notwithstanding, is a luxury, a species of dissolution, unaffordable to or by my rioting brothers and sisters who rise in protest, who burn their own neighborhoods, who go to jail, who live and die in ways as beyond me as the essence of God is beyond us all. What kind of creator sky deity admires much less preaches poverty? One who’s never lived in squalor or want or gone to a shitty school or hasn’t grown up under an omnipresent threat of violence. One whose genealogy is not generations of the oppressed and ghettoed who was not the subhuman other on whose backs the new money that became the old money was made. If Jesus returns, and that’s a pretty big if, the rapture will not disappear the virtuous but open up the prisons— it says right here: the Lord looseth the prisoners— for what else did a Christ say the gist of his project was but wholesale reversal: to bring what’s dead to life, to sight the blind, to release the captives, so by Latin raptus (to carry off or snatch away) he must mean to return them. We must confront the possibility that things haven’t turned out as intended; there is no end at which all things will be unfolded, no arc or entelechy toward which the human history, despite what nature implies by analogy, moves. Truly, I say unto you, only the addict can know self denial and earthquakes happen because plate tectonics; the crust floats atop the lithosphere asthenosphere boundary, a six-mile thick slurry of sludgy rock, and when the plates shift we see what we’re worth—no birds get harmed—and under the rubble of temples we can’t protect we understand how limited the dithyramb of justice will prove. On the day my father was born Jung gave a seminar on Zarathustra in Zurich, where he examined and explicated the image of the serpent and eagle, and asked what does it mean for chthonic snake to encircle the neck of inspirited accipiter, the animal under the sun and the cleverest animal under the sun—out on reconnaissance as Nietzsche says? Something to do with inverting the age-old clash between Geist -slash- Grund : If we forget that we also consist of a living body, and try to live in an entirely spiritual medium, the body is going to suffer; and inasmuch as the body suffers the mind is affected too. It’s a terrible strain on our minds when we are not right with our bodies. So though he hopes that his beasts will guide him, it is very questionable they will. My father, a man’s man who lived to mow his lawn and keep his trees trimmed, who if born to a decadent age, like his sons, would have manscaped— such a lover, so wanting to please—like he landscaped, with delight and care. He wore a bronze belt buckle with a flying eagle icon in low relief, probably swag from some manager’s seminar years before he failed to learn to keyboard or realized he didn’t give a shit to master much less muddle through with modern business; mail and bills to pay he kept in a hollowed out tortoise shell, and a taxidermied deer head hung above his desk. What did it mean to find a book of bondage porn he owned? What does it mean to be uncursed with knowledge of him drunk or naked? He never went to church but read the Bible every day; I have no idea what, besides Republican orthodoxy, he believed in, no clue what—beyond Kentucky, maybe, his Southern sense of honor & duty, or between history and family—mattered to him most. Why was it tough to understand, when I asked him if he even loved me, what it meant for him to say because you’re mine? I wonder what hamartias bequeathed to me—let’s give a metaphor the benefit of doubt— what inbred inadequacies, I’ve fated my sons to bear without even trying: incarceration fears? feeble lungs? the stronghold of lusts and arcane dispositions masked by convention? a thralldom to pain and the body and blessed rot? Whatever, we perform it (invent your antecedent) again and again. Noah’s curse of Canaan, what church fathers called the creation of servitude, followed Ham’s discovery of his uncovered father, drunk on the dirt of his tent—that plagued soil—and laughed about it with his brothers. What does any of this explain, this pericope that Byzantine as well as antebellum bastards said sanctioned enslavement and segregation of the races? Jesus said, according to Thomas: Woe to the flesh which depends on the soul; woe to the soul which depends on the flesh. One man’s theologoumena is another man’s dogma (G. dogma ), which means opinion anyway. We have failed to advance Paul’s Haustafel , the household code that reset the relations of all things in accordance with the cosmic org chart. Today we believe in extraterrestrials, that love consists in honoring what already exists. Why was you father so angry, you ask, at anyone not like him? Racism seemed the most natural thing imaginable. You remember the scene—of course you don’t—at least it seems as if because the story was told so many times—he’s in the kitchen of a morning, standing at the window, drinking his weak Folgers, plus milk with 3 sugars, and looks out onto the neighbor’s basketball court where a bunch of n-word kids were playing, and he knew right then he had to get us out of there. You are rendered so unsure of yourself, want so much to speak right, to teach your children to navigate relating with blind ease, you are trying to describe the little girl who expressed sadness that your son had missed school, you hesitate to even call the girl black; is she maybe just the one with pig tails? In Claudia Rankine’s Citizen : For so long you thought the ambition of racist language was to denigrate and erase you as a person. |But| Our very being exposes us to the address of another; we suffer from the condition of being addressable. You begin to understand yourself as rendered hyper- visible in the fact of such language acts. Language that feels hurtful is intended to exploit all the ways that you are present. Maximal Presence: submit wholly to the pledge you made to submit wholly. He who gives himself entirely to his fellow-men, Thoreau says, appears to them useless and selfish; this falsehood one must simply learn to live with. You have of course learned the limit of how far you’ll go, that virtue in part is a kind of devouring. Simone Weil’s lays this bare in her Terrible Prayer. Father, in the name of Christ, grant me this. That I might be beyond any condition to make any movement of my body, obey any of my wishes, like a total paralytic. That I might be unable to receive any sensation. That I might be beyond any condition to put two thoughts together. That I might be insensible to any kind of pain and joy, and incapable of any love for any being and for any thing. Here is a book its author would prefer not exist, [I, Afterlife] , an attempt to account for the grief of a father’s suicide, a failure, of course, which commits the insult of being beautiful, which breaks down along the fault line of language, which made me feel, as I read it in the tub on a Sunday morning, what a fuck-up I’d create in the wake of helping myself to the other side, as I often wish to, even if I ushered in some art. I asked a group of high school girls the other day what was more important, that people are happy or that art gets made, and they to a one chose the person over the work, but had no idea that it’s the work of elegy to constitute and maintain an image of the person. It posits: the elegiac tradition as it evolves is perhaps no longer concerned with articulating the unspeakable :::::::::::::::::::::::: / :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: but rather with… / rather… / That sentence cannot be completed. / At least not how it began. / To start again. /// Our eyes are not the only way we see things. Is this what / I’m trying to say Then I remembered the vision that kicked off this congregation of concerns, A poem begging to be named “Grand Theft Auto Examination of Conscience” that someone should write, for of course those games are godless hellish anything-goes crime-pays landscapes—depraved (i.e. warped, subverted, perverted, debauched, debased, degraded, defiled, sullied, polluted) and wicked, deprived and wicked as if by capillary action of values we (we good people) consider redeemed or redeeming or redeemable, able (i.e.) to be bought back, returned, like a redemptioner, an indentured, to an ordered status of legitimate, permissible, admissible, approved, paid up, free and all clear. The point then as now as always is the pleasure of roaming an open world, even a throwback car-jacktastic world we’d never live in, a less linear life of diminished consequences and restraint, where every action’s reaction—cop shoot-outs, wrecked cars, dead pedestrians, gangstaland drug-runs, gangsterland hits, and motorcycle tricks— metes out its effects by heart power and cash haul, lung capacity and ammo clips, with the ultimate consolation, if a mission goes south, of new hope in the respawn, the re-up, the glory of the unlimited life cheat code. As with anything else, it’s impossible to know what must be known without putting in the time. So much education just to turn up money without bloodshed or jail time, finding hidden packages or picking up hookers (to get your ride rocked you need a sports car and some cash, good for a road-side plus-twenty-five hit points). But what does it even mean, to call a thing, or a place, or person godless? If one believes in a god at all, could a space, virtual or real, exist or be opened where that god could flee from and not only into? And there’s the question of what is meant by the whole heart—with all your kardia , all your psyche and ischus and your dianoia , too—this specious business of Kierkegaard’s that purity of heart is to will one thing when a man can easily enough be double-, triple-, or four-hearted like the hag fish, which feeds on the dead (i.e. tradition) like necromancers and poets. And of course, of course, this place must exist beyond good and evil, as he says: Whether it be hedonism, pessimism, utilitarianism, or eudaemonism, all those modes of thinking which measure the worth of things according to PLEASURE and PAIN are naivetes, which every one conscious of CREATIVE powers and an artist’s conscience will look down upon with scorn, though not without sympathy. No truth’s stopped anyone from trying to be true, and why should it in the absence of ironclad thou-shalt-nots, in the absence of dire repercussions? Where any thing and any one is a possible center of profit? In the terms of St. Paul, any uncircumcision can be made to appear equal to or better than every other uncircumcision. And maybe it is. In GTA the negated deity may be that stuff-strutting, ditty-humming Huggy Bear-type, a bedizened nobodaddy bedeviled by nothing but equally vulnerable to side-swipes. But everywhere else, where the venerable laws of physics apply, it’s one more word of unknown origin, a contested dereliction, striving alongside the rest of us drudges to split the differences, into which the whole of it must be thrown. Gertrude Stein learned this, the whole Room section of Tender Buttons says this. Why is the name changed The name is changed because in the little space there is a tree, in some space there are no trees, in every space there is a hint of more, all this causes the decision. We live with the notional understanding that our every act is translated into data. I live inside somebody’s metrical calculation within tolerance, within spec, within the emerging delta of marriage. Why is it so hard for people to see that what they believe in changes nothing that is? In terms of what they call owning the stack, we do not own our own stacks. Out of the foaming foment of finitude, spirit rise up fragrantly, Hegel prayed. I would have said flagrantly. The violence is inevitable, the clash of even what appears like tenderness, when our duty is to another’s body, the negotiation of bodies, and we realize at once and for all that we belong to much more than belongs to us. For nobody knows himself, Novalis says, if he is only himself and not also another at the same time. There are times we are tyrannized by another’s thought, Henry Miller goes on, hapless victims, a possession that occurs in periods of depersonalization, when the warring selves come unglued. To ask the purpose of this game [of writing], how it is related to life, is idle. The artist’s game is to move over into reality. It has been so and will be so until man ceases to regard himself as the mere seat of conflict. Until he takes up the task of becoming the I of his I. Never will I want to write a poem about the 14 million bees that spilled, spectacularly, onto a Washington highway, when their grove-bound semi overturned, what with its built-in thematic peril, its inescapable, overbrimming symbolism. Beekeepers convened to recover them, but most were lost; everyone was stung; bee colonies are difficult to save, once ruptured, because the entire hive must stay intact, with its single queen, the worker bees and attendant bees. But what good is so much theoria when there’s so much dog shit to clear each day? No good will come, today, from so much stress over the objet petit a, over formulas to unlock the promised paradoxes. The care with which the rain is wrong and the green is wrong and the white is wrong, the care with which there is a chair and plenty of breathing. I close the book and go to her. Close Loading Video . . . Today I 'm trying to conceive a world without the word insatiable- what would become of that happy current, that urgent emptiness Download Full Written Work

  • Philadelphia

    Loading Video . . . Writer Lancelot Schaubert explores the meaning of words and translations in this poem responding to Luke 8:19-21. Luke 8:19-21 Philadelphia By Lancelot Schaubert ​ Credits: Photo Credit by Dan Mall on Unsplash Curated by: Rebecca Testrake 2023 ​ ​ Poetry Primary Scripture Loading primary passage... Loading Passage Reference... Share This Art: Facebook X (Twitter) WhatsApp LinkedIn Pinterest Copy Link ​ These three pieces work in tandem. They're meant as a running commentary on (1) the sorts of people who are close to us who reject the work of the miraculous in our lives and through our lives, (2) the kinds of silly exegetical traditions that exist as little more than a prop for church splits, (3) the metaphysical absurdity of the miraculous as the miraculous, when it happens, (4) a call to see James as a miracle worker in his own right, a cousin, and someone who would have been as baffled as anyone else — though joyful — in the presence of the miraculous. Sometimes the "sons of Thunder" stuff becomes such a focus, I wanted to focus on something else for St. James. To see the other pieces from Lancelot, click the links below: Bloodlines Metaphysical Insurance Claim 0075A: The Delphic Oracle Spark Notes The Artist's Reflection ​ Lancelot has sold work to The New Haven Review (The Institute Library), The Anglican Theological Review, TOR (MacMillan), McSweeney's, The Poet's Market, Writer's Digest, and many, many similar markets. (His favorite, a rather risqué piece, illuminated bankroll management by prison inmates in the World Series Edition of Poker Pro). Publisher's Weekly called his debut novel BELL HAMMERS "a hoot." He has lectured on these at academic conferences, graduate classes, and nerd conventions in Nashville, Portland, Baltimore, Tarrytown, NYC, Joplin, and elsewhere. The Missouri Tourism Bureau, WRKR, Flying Treasure, 9art, The Brooklyn Film Festival, NYC Indie Film Fest, Spiva Center for the Arts, The Institute of the North in Alaska, and the Chicago Museum of Photography have all worked with him as a film producer and director in various capacities. Website Lancelot Schaubert About the Artist Posh Girls As Waters Cover Artist in Residence 2019: Lancelot Schaubert Dragonsmaw Daily | 1 Dragonsmaw Daily | 2 Dragonsmaw Daily | 3 Watchtower Stripped to the Bonemeal Metaphysical Insurance Claim 0075A: The Delphic Oracle Bloodlines Lancelot Schaubert Other Works By Related Information View More Art Make More Art It would be terribly inconvenient If ἀδελφός meant fellow countrymen Or fellow man or business fellowship View Full Written Work FOR LOVE OF COMMON WOMBS UP THE BLOODLINE. By Lancelot Schaubert It would be terribly inconvenient If ἀδελφός meant fellow countrymen Or fellow man or business fellowship Or brethren in faith, step-brothers, or meant Cousins. “Cousins” throws a wrench in the wren, Metal to make wings spiral on downward: Fallen angels or men melting wax strips? Two yokels talk at the scene of The Fall: “Thought those were his brothers?” “Nope, just cousins.” It takes one trip to Philadelphia To realize “same womb” can mean mom, mother, Or sometimes an earlier womb bygone. For they treat each other less with fiat, More like Middle Eastern cousins with bombs: “Me against my brother; me and brother Against cousin; me and my cousin, you.” First same womb, same dad; same womb, diff dad; Then same womb of my dad’s dad’s dad’s dad’s— Father Abraham had many sons, sons Father Abraham. I am one of them And so are you, so let’s just praise The Lord. From stones, he said he could raise up cousins, But somehow cannot do so from cousins? “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and ἀδελφός of James, Joses And Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country, and among his own cousins and in his own house.” Do we seek context? Do we even try to understand it, To see what’s right before our eyes? Mirrored? I could stack citations up, up skyward; Speak up of all the times translation slips Two yokels stare, hear the scene of Our Fall: “Nope, just brothers.” “Thought those were his cousins?” It takes one trip to Philadelphia To realize sometimes there’s a crack in bells Allegedly first sounded for freedom. Is our faith so fragile? We Protestants? Need we preserve our Quincentenary Bitterness with flimsiest evidence? Do we even know about the third one? The third Mary? “Standing by the cross of Jesus were his Mother (Mary), his mother’s ἀδελφη, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.” Poor James. To be denied sainthood simply To sully the virgin status of Aunt Mary. Philadelphia’s stones still crack. Cracked. Stoned. The oracle at Delphi was Virgin. And the dolphins get to take shape Of virgin wombs, so does Numbers 30 (The perpetual virginity verse For married women who have had their kids). But not she who bore the body of God. It’s not good enough for her. Ignore texts: Let her also bear a Bro — Jimmy’s body Close Loading Video . . . It would be terribly inconvenient If ἀδελφός meant fellow countrymen Or fellow man or business fellowship Download Full Written Work

  • Lord's compassions fail not

    Alina Potemska Lords Compassions Loading Video . . . In the past (2010-2014), Spark+Echo Arts has grouped the year into themes. 2014's themes included poverty, meals, eavesdropping, etc. In 2015, we are trying something different. Instead of thematic groupings, we have asked our artists to create works in response to specific books of the Bible. 2015's explorations will consist of: Lamentations, Philemon, Joshua, and Psalm 107. The first work within this approach, this striking piece from Ukrainian artist Alina Potemska responds to Lamentations 2:18. Lamentations 3:22-25 Lord's compassions fail not By Alina Potemska ​ Credits: ​ Curated by: Spark+Echo Arts, Selected through Artist Submissions 2015 40×50 cm Colored pencils, paper on cardboard Collage Primary Scripture Loading primary passage... Loading Passage Reference... Share This Art: Facebook X (Twitter) WhatsApp LinkedIn Pinterest Copy Link ​ My work claims to the theme of God's mercy to whole nations in general and particularly to each person. We can experience any struggles and think that it's last stage of trials. But as a rain feeds the arid land and have no limits in every day refreshing, in the same way God's love and tenderness captures us in a flow that keeps us from any trouble and problem. Even more, it doesn't really matter what issues are under the boat, it is only important that we are safe in the God's shelter and are covered by His love and mercy. We flow in His stream and it cures us and gives us felling of safety. Maybe, as Jeremiah did, we should experience some trials to appreciate this gift. During the horrible time of war in my homeland, it's natural to us ask God why He allowed this? But especially in this trouble we can feel deeply LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, and it's new every morning, so thanks to God for that! Spark Notes The Artist's Reflection ​ Alina Potemska graduated from the National Art Academy in her hometown Kyiv in 2013 and keeps her passion in illustration and printmaking. Alina is active participant in row of exhibition and takes part in social activeness through art. In 2015 she was nominated for Polish governmental Scholarship “Gaude Polonia”. “My art is a part of me and my understanding of life. I would be more than happy if it serves any person in any extend to become more fulfilled and experience something new in his life”. Website Alina Potemska About the Artist Alina Potemska Other Works By Related Information View More Art Make More Art ​ View Full Written Work Close Loading Video . . . ​ Download Full Written Work

  • Of Blood and Water

    Loading Video . . . We are pleased to present a collaborative work by jazz musician James Hall and poet Emily Ruth Hazel. James created a musical reaction to Emily's poem, "Of Blood and Water" which is based on the account of Jesus changing water into wine in John 2:1-11. John 2:1-11 Of Blood and Water By James Hall ​ Credits: ​ Curated by: ​ 2012 ​ ​ ​ Primary Scripture Loading primary passage... Loading Passage Reference... Share This Art: Facebook X (Twitter) WhatsApp LinkedIn Pinterest Copy Link ​ After hearing Hermeto Pascoal's "Tres Coisas," I was motivated to experiment with the musical qualities of human speech. Emily Ruth Hazel's poem "Of Blood and Water" had caught my eye, and her recitation, with its subtle glissandi and rhythm, seemed a natural fit for use as a melody. Emily's poem plays with a subtle transformation from blue to red, and from water to wine. The musical setting similarly toys with the transformation from stasis to motion, and with various shades of synchronization. At times it sounds like the band is reacting to Emily's speech. Other times, it sounds as though we're anticipating it. I did a 2-track room recording with my Zoom and mixed Emily's vocals in, synchronized with how it was being played in the room where we recorded. This gets the spirit of the thing: it dances on the fence between in-time and free, on-pitch and just spoken, while preserving Emily's original poem in her voice. Spark Notes The Artist's Reflection ​ James Hall is a trombonist and composer from Nebraska based in New York City. A versatile musician, his projects have spanned jazz, classical, latin, and popular music in the US and Europe. As a composer and bandleader, James was named a finalist in the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Competition, won three ASCAPlus Awards for composition, and was a featured performer/composer at the 2012 Chelsea Music Festival . As trombonist in Williamsburg Salsa Orchestra , he has performed at B.B. Kings', S.O.B's, MassMOCA, The Kennedy Center, The Blue Note Jazz Festival, and has appeared in the pages of Rolling Stone Magazine. He has appeared on several recordings with Postmodern Jukebox , with whom he has toured Europe and the US. James' trombone playing earned third place, runner-up, and honorable mention in the Antti Rissanen , J.J. Johnson , and Carl Fontana International Jazz Trombone Competitions, respectively. James' first CD as a composer/bandleader was released in October 2013. Entitled " Soon We Will Not Be Here " by James Hall Thousand Rooms Quartet, the body of work sets contemporary poems by NYC-based poets to 3rd-stream chamber music. His sophomore release, "Lattice," is currently in post-production. James holds degrees from the Lawrence Conservatory of Music in Wisconsin and Aaron Copland School of Music in New York. His teachers have included Luis Bonilla, Hal Crook, Michael Dease, Nick Keelan, Ed Neumeister, and Fred Sturm. Photo by Bill Wadman. Website James Hall About the Artist The Serpent Speaks James Hall Other Works By Related Information View More Art Make More Art ​ View Full Written Work Close Loading Video . . . ​ Download Full Written Work

  • Heavens Declare

    heavens-declare-tibay-01.jpg Heavens Declare, Detail 1 Heavens Declare, Detail 2 Heavens Declare, Detail 3 Heavens Declare, Detail 4 Loading Video . . . Artist Job Tibay grounds his art in his Filipino roots and finding beauty in the imperfect as he marvels at the glory of God in Psalm 19:1-6. Psalms 19:1-6 Heavens Declare By Job Tibay ​ Credits: ​ Curated by: Rebecca Testrake 2016 35 x 25 inches ​ Oil on Sinamay Primary Scripture Loading primary passage... Loading Passage Reference... Share This Art: Facebook X (Twitter) WhatsApp LinkedIn Pinterest Copy Link ​ We live in such an imperfect world. Yet, even in the midst of chaos, flaws and disorder, one can always find or create something beautiful and divine. Beauty drawn from imperfection captivates me. There is something mysterious and inspiring about it. This is one of the reasons I love working on sinamay . Unlike your typical canvas, sinamay is handwoven from the processed stalks of the abaca tree . The varying widths of each strand, the knots in random spots, and the loose open weave, give it a rough, uneven, sifter-like surface. These characteristics make each piece respond differently even to the same touch and technique. Yet, these nuances and seeming imperfections make the creative process an exciting journey and experience. Sometimes it absorbs, other times it pushes back, generating a level of unpredictability that stimulates a conversation along the creative journey. My choice to work with sinamay is also a representation of my roots. Sinamay is made of abaca fiber, an eco-friendly material, woven from the stalks of the abaca tree. The abaca tree is a banana palm native to the Philippines, where I was born and spent a quarter of my life. With every artwork on sinamay, I feel as though I am exploring new grounds without ever losing touch with the place I first called home. The concept behind this artwork is simply about His glory and majesty being revealed in the grandeur and beauty of the heavens and the skies. It always leaves me in awe when I marvel at breathtaking views of the skies, the movement of the clouds, and the sun shining through it. Spark Notes The Artist's Reflection ​ Job Tibay is a New York City-based Filipino artist, who moved from Manila to New York in the summer of 2005. Entirely self- taught, he discovered his love and skill for painting shortly after college, when he decided to create several paintings (watercolor and pastel on paper) to replace all the existing wall art decor at his parents’ house, matching the new color scheme after a renovation project. However, it was not until after living in New York for almost 7 years that he started to pursue his love for painting. Living abroad inspired him to find a substrate that would best represent his heritage and style. In his desire to stay connected and true to his roots, he has chosen to work on sinamay instead of canvas. Website : www.jobtibay.com Facebook : www.facebook.com/artbyjob/ Instagram : www.instagram.com/artbyjob/ Website Job Tibay About the Artist Job Tibay Other Works By Related Information View More Art Make More Art ​ View Full Written Work Close Loading Video . . . ​ Download Full Written Work

  • Look Out Below

    Loading Video . . . Composer and guitarist Lily Maase explores the theme of healing in her beautiful and personal work responding to Daniel 10:8-19. Daniel 10:8-19​ Look Out Below By Lily Maase ​ Credits: ​ Curated by: ​ 2014 ​ ​ ​ Primary Scripture Loading primary passage... Loading Passage Reference... Share This Art: Facebook X (Twitter) WhatsApp LinkedIn Pinterest Copy Link ​ One afternoon in 2009 I was walking home from a yoga class in the Flatiron District in Midtown Manhattan when I briefly had the most curious sense of myself…I flashed upon a brief awareness of where I had been in the morning, where I was at the moment, and where I was about to be in the evening, ALL AT THE SAME TIME. It was as if I had been lifted out of my body and was viewing where I had been, where I was, and where I was headed from an aerial standpoint, like a line drawn on a map. By the time I made it home, I was aware of a consciousness in my body that was not my own -- whose presence was so palpable as to be almost violent. I spent the next 10 hours on the floor of my apartment, shaking, as if something had been ripped from within the deepest parts of me. In a lot of ways, something had. A lot of people talk about putting their life in God’s hands. That night, for whatever reason, God reached out and grabbed me, shook me until I almost broke, and saved my life. The next morning I took myself to the hospital, and a week later I returned to my father’s home in New Mexico and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. The events in my early life that led to the sort of ‘fracture’ between my childhood spirit and my adult body are of little interest and far better left in the past. But for me, the diagnosis was not so much an answer to a question as it was the beginning of an arc, and I can say with certainty at this point that, had my life not been so radically altered by a force beyond myself, continuing to run away from that diagnosis would have killed me. Many things have happened since then and I would have hated to miss any of them, both the good and the bad. So I am profoundly happy to have been offered a new lease on life. I have lost more friends, family and lovers to substance abuse and suicide than I can count on my fingers and toes and wondered every time why I was somehow spared. Through learning to let go of my own obsession with my past I have learned to truly value the friends and family I still have, and have slowly learned to let go of people that are attracted to THAT part of me, the deep-down bit, that never quite seems to heal. I have always considered myself blessed. And after a while I developed a sense that I was as healed as I was going to be, despite some glaring inefficiencies in my life, and some things I had been trying to make happen that simply wouldn’t budge. I took this commission almost on a whim nearly 18 months ago, and when I was assigned “healing” as a theme I had a sense that I might write something that was a sort of sideways nod to my life as an adult learning to live with a trauma disorder, or some oblique reference to my unpleasant childhood, and that would be that. I let the idea percolate for a bit, and went on about the business of trying to make a living writing music and playing the guitar. And then… Eight months ago, I was driving home from a rehearsal and was stopped at a red light when I became aware of a familiar presence beside me in the van. Unknown to me at the time, three blocks behind me a carjacker had just stolen a vehicle at gunpoint and was speeding in excess of 70mph an hour down Bedford Avenue, trying to flee the scene. Two seconds later I was involved in a rear-end collision that totaled seven vehicles, dislocated my hips and one shoulder, and broke the necks of the two people who were in the car directly behind me. I survived, I might not have, and since that moment I have had an awareness of a powerful force at work both within my body and in my life. The sense I have of it is, I had begun to think I was “healed enough.” My life was sufficiently positive and proactive for a person living with my condition, and I had learned to live and be content with the things in my life that just weren’t quite right. I was Doing Okay, and that was fine by me, so I had stopped working on myself. So once again, I was grabbed. And I was shaken. Here’s the thing about PTSD. It lives in your body, like a parasite. And, like a parasite, you sort of get used to it and it becomes a sort of familiar companion. An old friend. So, if you want to get rid of it, you have to go into your body and find it and encourage it to let you go. You don’t let IT go. Because having PTSD is like being possessed. And when you are strong enough to let it, little by little IT lets go of YOU. The accident completely changed my plans for the future, because it forced me immediately and irrevocably out of denial and back into my body. It completely changed my concept of myself as a person who HAD healed, into a person who HAD TO heal. In order to recover from the dislocated hip, the tear in my shoulder that has left my left arm with an uncontrollable tremor, the whiplash, the herniated discs–in order to get my life back, I have had to reach into my spirit and my body and come up with the courage to heal from ALL of it. It’s been terrifying. But I know I can do it. Because God set this arc in motion five years ago, and I know in my bones He did it because this is something I can do. Looking back, I can see now that a lot of my creative work leading up to that first event had a lot to do with my body trying to reconcile what it had been through with my spirit’s sense of who I was. So I fall in and out of love with playing it, which I know is difficult at times for the people who have agreed to play it with me. It’s pretty wild music! And I’m proud of all of it. But this is the first and most likely the only time I will write directly about trauma and recovery–and the way that God found me, knocked me down, and gave me a chance to do the necessary work to rebuild myself into the person He and I both believe I will one day be. “Look Out Below” is a reflection on a passage from the Book of Daniel, on the idea of being filled with the violence of the presence of the Lord, and on the idea that our ascent to perfection might best be started by being knocked down onto our knees. Many thanks to Gil Selinger for providing the image that inspired the conceptual material, to JP Gilbert and Scott Holland for the original inspiration for the music itself, and to Jeff Cook for realizing the recording almost exactly they way it had been swimming around in my head. You have all been amazing teachers and I am blessed to learn from each of you. Spark Notes The Artist's Reflection ​ Lily Maase is a rock, country, jazz and classical guitarist raised in New Mexico, educated at the University of North Texas, and living in Brooklyn, New York. She is contributing writer for Premier Guitar Magazine and has contributed to Guitar World and Guitar World’s Acoustic Nation, who recently lauded her as a “master guitar teacher.” She is the founder and owner of Brooklyn GuitarWorks, a workshop-oriented center for guitar and bass guitar education located in Williamsburg. Lily is the lead guitarist, musical director and bandleader with the Rocket Queens all-female tribute to Guns N Roses and the Suite Unraveling (Tzadik). She is the lead guitarist with Gato Loco, and is endorsed by Godin Guitars. Her playing has been featured by Vans.com, Maxim.com, Guitar World’s Acoustic Nation, Teen Vogue, and Elle Magazine. Website Lily Maase About the Artist Artist in Residence 2017: Lily Maase Lily Maase Other Works By Related Information View More Art Make More Art ​ View Full Written Work Close Loading Video . . . ​ Download Full Written Work

  • Know Thyself

    Loading Video . . . In this arresting piece, the voice of Marlanda Dekine's poem challenges our patterns of oppression in echo of Proverbs 31:3. Today, without ongoing self-examination, we all—both white and of color—easily perpetuate the ongoing oppression of others. We have to understand that our current racial chasm is not an accident. Proverbs 3:31 Know Thyself By Marlanda Dekine ​ Credits: ​ Curated by: Lauren Ferebee 2016 ​ ​ Poetry Primary Scripture Loading primary passage... Loading Passage Reference... Share This Art: Facebook X (Twitter) WhatsApp LinkedIn Pinterest Copy Link ​ The Book of Proverbs has spoken to me throughout my life in many different ways. However, while sifting through its wisdom and being mindful of my personal gifts and my work, it was clear to me that illuminating Proverbs 3:31 was what I ought to do. For centuries, our nation has hidden from the oppression it has inflicted upon people who were not the founding norm—white, heterosexual, Christian, cisgender, and property-owning. Today, without ongoing self-examination, we all—both white and of color—easily perpetuate the ongoing oppression of others. We have to understand that our current racial chasm is not an accident. The many black and brown bodies that have bled onto this soil are speaking to us. It is my hope that this poem will encourage us to listen, even when it is difficult. It is also my hope that through the work of knowing ourselves, we find ourselves engaged in an ongoing, courageous commitment of working towards true reconciliation and reparation. Spark Notes The Artist's Reflection ​ Marlanda Dekine-Sapient Soul (she/her/they) is a poet and social worker from Plantersville, South Carolina. She is pursuing her MFA in Poetry with New York University's Low-Residency program in Paris. Learn more about their work at sapientsoul.com . Website Marlanda Dekine About the Artist 2020 Artist in Residence: Marlanda Dekine Getting Lighter Marlanda Dekine Other Works By Related Information View More Art Make More Art I am free of the supremacy that drives you, binding your life. We have always been your mirror and the form of your shadow. You need us. View Full Written Work Know thyself A Poem by Marlanda Dekine-Sapient Soul Proverbs 3:31 "Envy thou not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways." __ I am free of the supremacy that drives you, binding your life. We have always been your mirror and the form of your shadow. You need us. Those who hide their guilt in giving empty gifts are afraid of proximity to themselves in the other. This other who has always known Ma’at.* The oppressor hovers under privilege, praying to the idol of themselves, “Oh, how terrible! Help us.” You build walls and shoot into mirrors of the unarmed, afraid to face yourself. When tragedy comes to awaken you, we know that some will still choose sleep. For you and those of us who become you— I pray, but I will not struggle. * Ma'at was the rule of law and moral justice among the ancient Kemet people, and the divine cosmological order within their mythology, astronomy, and astrophysical studies. Kemet is the name the native African people of the country now known as Egypt called themselves in their surviving writings. Close Loading Video . . . I am free of the supremacy that drives you, binding your life. We have always been your mirror and the form of your shadow. You need us. Download Full Written Work

  • Housewarming

    Loading Video . . . This sharp-witted screenplay by writer Andrea Ang fleshes out Proverbs 1:20-33; 9:1-9,13-18 as it explores Wisdom and Folly. Proverbs 9:1-9 Proverbs 1:20-33 Proverbs 1:20–21 Proverbs 9:13–18 Housewarming By Andrea Ang ​ Credits: ​ Curated by: Megan Harrold and Rebecca Testrake 2019 ​ ​ Short Film Screenplay Primary Scripture Loading primary passage... Loading Passage Reference... Share This Art: Facebook X (Twitter) WhatsApp LinkedIn Pinterest Copy Link ​ The two images that stood out for me were houses and food and how these are treated differently in Wisdom and Folly. Although they both freely invite people to their homes, Wisdom's food is home-made and her words nourishing while Folly's is stolen and those that come to her "are deep in the realm of the dead". For me, Folly is like eating at an expensive restaurant: the food's good, portions are small and you're really paying for the atmosphere. One can only eat out so many times before getting sick of it or the satisfaction wears out. Wisdom is like a home-cooked meal: it might be simple but it warms the heart and stomach and really, I'd prefer to eat at home in the long run. I was very interested in this idea of a housewarming party and using stark visual contrasts for Wisdom and Folly's way of hosting a party. Folly (Madam Le Faux) lives in a house of extravagance, everything we see in her home is on full display, she has others doing the work for her. Her guests flock to her. Wisdom (Old Madam Chie- "Chie" is Japanese for Wisdom) on the other hand, lives in a small and cozy house, she lovingly takes time to prepare her meal for others. Her guests arrive very late but she waits patiently for them. By the end of the night, we see two very different results in each household. Spark Notes The Artist's Reflection ​ Originally from Singapore, Andrea Ang is a NYC-based theatre-maker, writer and teaching artist. Her work has been seen in NYC (SITI Lab, Dixon Place, The Tank, Triskelion Arts), Maine (Barn Arts) and San Francisco (Fury Factory Festival). Her play, No Place, will be making its international debut at the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival in 2020, along with her company Square One Collective. Andrea is a graduate of SITI Company’s Conservatory program and holds a BA(Hons) in English Literature from the National University of Singapore. Website Andrea Ang About the Artist Andrea Ang Other Works By Related Information View More Art Make More Art EXT. THE GATES OF A LUXURIOUS MODERN MANSION A man is changing the sign of the mansion. He has just scrapped off the old sign and is installing the new one View Full Written Work Close Loading Video . . . EXT. THE GATES OF A LUXURIOUS MODERN MANSION A man is changing the sign of the mansion. He has just scrapped off the old sign and is installing the new one Download Full Written Work

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