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Harvey Weiss Museum
I'm starting a new-ish project. I say new-ish because I've been thinking about it for awhile, maybe 3 or 4 months. And I was working on some ideas and ways to work on it and then I stopped thinking about it for awhile, and now I'm coming back to it.
I guess technically its a solo work. But I'm also not sure how or if its a dance work. I'm obviously into using dance/movement research as a lens, but I also have this idea about a museum (maybe movement is just a small part of this larger work that's more amorphous). A temporary museum, about my Grandpa Harvey. He's not alive anymore. He passed away when I was about 7 or 8, I should ask my mom and find out exactly what year it was. He had lung cancer. I think that's a big part of it-- I never really got to know him. I remember he was fun, funny. But over the years, especially since going to college for dance, and then even more after graduating, I've felt this connection to him... his spirit?... I don't know. That's part of it-- I want to do research on feeling connections to people after they've passed away, even if I didn't really know him that well when he was alive. Why do I feel this strong connection? And can I describe that 'connection', and figure it out more for myself-- what is it, what does it feel like in my body, what do I mean when I say that I feel connected to him? I want to get into that.
I think it kind of started when I moved into this apartment by myself, and I felt the strong desire to have some artwork from my Grandpa Harvey in my apartment. It felt really important, I don't remember much more about that impulse now, it just felt important. Kind of cheesy but I felt/feel like having that artwork here helps connect me to him, I feel protected or watched over or something?
Something that interests me about this project is that my Grandpa Harvey was kind of famous but like... not really... why would anyone besides me and my/his family and other people who knew him care about this project??? I'm sure I'll learn things along the way that can be applied on a broad scale, that are poetic about life and art making and family and death and all that good stuff, but also I don't want to pressure myself to find those things, and make them a big part of the project/final presentation of the project. Right now it isn't really anything else besides me wanting to learn more about my Grandpa Harvey, as a person and specifically as an art maker. (That's the other thing-- when I read his books, I feel connected to his way of writing, his way of making. I feel connected to him as an art maker-- he was an author and illustrator and sculptor, and I guess I'm interested in cross-reading his work to my work...) But I don't want to put pressure on myself to make it this big thing-- is it enough that I just want to learn about my Grandpa?
I'm also really interested in having an archive of my own thinking and work on this project. A big part of this project is archiving, so its kind of like an archive of an archiving project, an archive inside an archive.
Maybe no one will ever read this or see this, maybe it will just be for me. Is that cool??? Can I still call that art, or dance, or work?? Does it matter??
I'm going to use my website as the location where I store information. I like it because it can be text based and also include lots of other medium-- videos, photos, audio.
I was on a walk and I had this idea. I was thinking about Rhonda's upcoming Fidget Forum and how she's going to be talking about archive, and also about Megan's/Fidget's broad interest in archiving, and it made me think about how this project is also in conversation with archive... just someone else's archive.
I'm in conversation with my Grandpa's archive. The archive of his work. And I'm creating this multi-faceted RESPONSE to his work/his archive.
And then I thought it would be interesting to be in conversation with other people, artists, about his archive. And to see other artists... probably a lot of movement artists (but maybe other mediums as well) respond to his work.
Maybe part of this PROJECT could be a number of different artists creating short pieces/works/performances/responses to a specific piece of GH's work. Like I could give them a specific book, or illustration, or even just one sentence or paragraph of his writing.
Possibly similar to the deborah hay solo festival that happened a few years ago, where a bunch of artists performed work by deborah hay. (https://philadelphiadance.org/dancejournal/2012/11/03/deborah-hay-solo-festival/). Sort of similar. Lots of different artists creating their own take on another artists (their elder's) work.
But the difference would be the cross-reading or cross-disiplinarian-ness of all this, because GH didn't work in the medium of dance.
Artists I would love to see respond/be in convo with-- Rhonda Moore, Will Robinson, Kris Lee, Ra, Chloe
Another misc idea is that I would create a temporary museum of sorts at Fidget space. Would be an installation pretty much, would stay up for a week or so, maybe there would be 'open gallery hours' where no performances would be happening but people could come look at the art and read through books and whatnot. I would want to have a mini-library of his published books that people could read.
Hi. I'm coming back to this project after, according to these journal entries, about two years. I'm not sure what made me want to come back to it. Maybe its just because I was going through my website and found these pages and was excited to work on the design aspect of it. Maybe it's because my mom and dad have been going to visit Uncle Sandy a lot lately and that subconsciously made me think of Grandpa Harvey.
I was talking to Katie (Vickers) about Threshold Collective in Philly. They produce artistic work around death, grief, loss. I wonder if they would be interested in talking with me about this project.
I don't have much to say. Just wanted to acknowledge that I'm working on this project again, and kind of track my progress on it.
Here are some things I wonder about: if Grandpa Harvey were still alive, would we be close? What would he think of the fact that I'm a dancer? What would he think of the work I make? Would he come see it? What feedback would he have? Would we ever collaborate? What kind of work would he be making?
I want to talk to Annie Wilson about the work she's making around her late grandfather. I should make a note to go see that work. I feel like it might spark some things for me around this project.
I was talking to Rushawn last night about this project and he said something that made me really happy. He said Grandpa Harvey's work and way of working shines through my DIY/craft projects that I do, and I just never thought of that before. He wrote books about inventing things, and made inventions out of wood and metal. I invent things too and make them myself, mostly out of wood. I just had never made that connection before.
I also talked about how I wonder what Grandpa Harvey would think as an artist of the dance work I make. A question I'll never have an answer to, and that's okay.
Maybe I could display things that we've made side by side. Physical things, inventions.
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