4 April – 19 April, 2014
Opening evening reception 4 April
The Culture Box, Temple Bar, Dublin, Ireland
I’ve always been fascinated with the question: “What if?” What if we did that another way? What if something we valued suddenly became something of no value or vice versa? What if the same words could tell a totally different story?
Several months ago, under the dark of night, a ‘what if’ conversation led to an idea…What if I could take apart stories and rebuild them to tell completely different ones? This led to an experiment…which repeated itself several times over…leading to countless conversations…which turned into bigger and bigger things…until it became…Conversations|Reconstructed.
For me, I have to pursue writing and art in the same way I pursue breathing. It must happen to stay alive. This project is the next breath in our pursuit of creating, pushing boundaries and collaboration. We have been awed by where it has already taken us, and we are eager to see where it will continue to lead us as artists and creators.
The Questions & The Details
What if I could take apart some of the greatest poems and use those words to reconstruct completely new stories? Could it be done? Could I do it? Would the words be able to tell different stories? Would I lose my voice if I could not choose my words, not a single one? Do words have enough meaning to tell different stories while they stay the same?
These are all the questions I asked myself as I began this journey. It was frustrating not to be able to choose my words but, as I started doing it, I saw the words, the same words, telling new and different stories.
Once I completed a couple reconstructions it became very apparent I needed visual artists to help bring my stories to life. As each artist joined the project, (Illustrator, Sculptor, Graphic Designer, Painter, Lino Cutter/Digital Printer, and Street Artist) a beautiful collaboration began between these artists, my reconstructions and the iconic poets. Not only were we able to bring the poem sets to life visually (“poem set” being the term we use to describe an original poem, de-constructed word list and reconstructed poem), but each artist involved used the words to inspire their own story.
You will recognize some of the greatest poets of all time in the works: Yeats, Kipling, Henley, Dickenson, Hughes, Frye, Brontë, Poe, Donne, & Frost.
As our team comes from various places in the world, you will also find an international flavour to our exhibition which brings an added dimension to these conversations.
I worried about the constrained creativity this project entailed. I mean, come on, a writer who doesn’t choose any of her own words?! I won’t lie, it was a struggle, but I discovered even when you constrain creativity, creativity will not be constrained. Words carry meaning individually, and words together tell stories. You take them apart, put them back together and they can tell completely new stories. These stories then take on imagery, collaboration and multiple interpretations. Soon you find you are having new conversations out of the old ones!
Here’s a sneak peek to aid your curiosity:
One robin fainting in his nest.
Or one heart breaking again.
One life I live in vain.
If I shall stop,
Cool, the pain,
If I can live, can ease,
I shall help.
Not vain or not from aching
Reconstruction by Stacey Covell – (Original: ‘If I Can Stop’ by Emily Dickinson)
Conversations|Reconstructed tells beautiful stories, both written and visually, on the power of words. The power they have to change and stay the same, to cross cultures, to exhibit great beauty, to affect all our senses.
You as the viewer will be taken on a journey. You will experience the power of words and story in multiple forms. Readers, writers and art lovers alike will enjoy wandering through these artworks and sharing in their conversations.
Enjoy the video!