Monday, June 27, 2011

Medusa Gaze

_We draw from deep personal experience in our art...or at least the best of our art. Getting to that point of experience is the most difficult part of an art career.  I've seen my share of art about art and art that needs a mass of explanation to appreciate. Translating an experience into resonance is something we strive for and it never gets easy; it seems to take hours, days even years in the studio to make the occasional breakthrough where an experience is broadly felt and hits that resonant tone with the viewer.  My fellow Seeking Kali collaborators, Susan Shulman, Ria Vanden Eynde and I have a piece like that now.  The Medusa Gaze is a simple piece but it draws on a shared experience.

Susan, Ria and I work from different countries as an artist collective; Susan is in Canada, Ria in Belgium and I'm in the US, yet we make it work via Skype, Facebook and email.  It's almost like we're in adjoining studios and over the last year we've collaborated in several ways: working on separate projects that are exhibited together and "group think" pieces.  The latter is different from the stereotypical artist alone in his or her studio trying to express that lifetime of experience.  More like "cloud" works or a musicians jam session.

The Medusa Gaze started in Facebook with Ria describing a particularly scary encounter of sexual harassment in a public space outside her library in Belgium. Susan adds her outrage and suggests we blog it and I post a pix of a large scale projection of Ria on a building with the words "I will not be intimidated."

Radio Interview from June 24th, 2011 on CJAD 800 (Canada) featuring Seeking Kali artist Susan Shulman discussing the launch of the Medusa Gaze during the Dr. Laure Betito program "Passions". Medusa Gaze is a collaborative art project by William Evertson, Susan Shulman and Ria Vanden Eynde.

We're doing both. Plus we're collecting stories and pictures of other women for inclusion in our guerrilla projections to end sexual harassment.  Our current artist call is calling for women to submit either a picture or short video segment of their best Medusa Gaze - the face and expression of disapproval. Submissions are included in our guerrilla projections.  Details on how you can participate are available on our tumblr project blog where we document our progress or on our Facebook Events Page.

Unlike silent bystanders or society (men and women) who excuse or overlook this bullying behavior in our public spaces, I refuse to be a token male and strongly feel the need to be involved. Every woman I know has a story similar to Ria's. The fact is our society too often turns a blind eye or worse blames the victim in a never ending feedback loop that ensures second class social status is simply unacceptable.

Susan, Ria and I are artists first rather than activists; as artists we have a vision and tools to make experience visible. Join us.
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