Fires of Fear

Had an absolutely tremendous time at the Silver Skate Festival this past weekend!

Wonderful bunch of other artists to work with, and the festival itself is really quite an event – a great blend of sport and cultural events (there are events going on this week too, culminating in weekend celebrations and closing). My thanks and congrats to everyone involved in the festival – well done!

One of the things I found so inspiring about the festival was the curatorial focus we were given as participants; it’s all well and good to get a bunch of artist to make work, but having a thematic/narrative frame for our efforts really made things happen. As artists, we were actually ‘characters’ in a story,  so we were contributing to (and connecting with) the theatre and storytelling going on in other parts of the festival site.

I’ve always liked the idea of committing the things we most want to release to the transformative power of fire; such a process provides a deep level of engagement with change in so many ways. And there’s a fascination with fire and  the spectacle of it – the beauty, power, danger – that has a the capacity to draw people in that other things do not. It’s visceral, immediate on many levels simultaneously.

There’s alos something incredibly liberating about creating something that you know will be irrevocably changed/transformed shortly after its completion. I won’t say the sculptures we made were  destroyed – they weren’t, really, in the grand scheme of things. Not at all – the fire changed them tremendously on one level, but what could not be altered by the fire was the  participation by each of us in the entire process: the making, and the sharing of that making was to me the real art here.

Still – the things we did make were pretty great all on their own! I was really fascinated by the range of work produced: we each took the idea of creating an effigy of something fearful in completely different directions.

Here are some images from the Saturday “build and burn” – there were six artist-teams each producing a separate sculpture on the first day:

And then … we got to do it all again on Sunday! Part 2 to follow ….

6 thoughts on “Fires of Fear

  1. This looks like a great project to have been involved in – I like this idea of fear burning, I may try it on a small scale..!

    • It was a terrific experience. I think it’s a really powerful idea – to take fears and make them concrete things, and them cast them out to be transformed. Worth doing – on whatever scale~!

  2. This is very cool, Sydney! I love that you shared the before and after pieces. Your burned nest with chicken feet is very beautiful in skeletal form. It makes me think of Mussorgsky’s Baba Yaga music – did you play it for accompaniment?

    • I really like the skeletal forms of the burned pieces too – more than the ‘originals’ in some ways. No sadly, no Mussorgsky, but Baba Yaga did in fact make an appearance several times over the weekend, in a grove of trees where the storytelling tent was, and she brought us a cauldron of fears every night to stuff in to our sculptures – things people had written down on slips of paper. It was quite magical.

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