I’m a big fan of fermented foods and drinks: sauerkraut, tempeh, kombucha, rejuvelac, kim chee, wine, beer and more. It’s fascinating to me how completely new nutrients and beneficial bacteria develop when we let things settle for awhile. And then how new food and drink is created, not necessarily better than what was originally there, but different and fulfilling other needs.
I’m realizing that I love fermented art too. When a project first appears to complete on closing night, I feel a great sadness at “losing” my connection to something that is immensely nourishing to me. And yes, I am saying goodbye–to a particular lens for experiencing the project, to the material that makes it up and to the magical time with the collaborators.
But as the project ferments–as it sits for awhile–new gifts sprout up from its remains. I’m able to view the piece (through video, memory, reflection) with a greater sense of calm. I’m able to discover new things in it. I’m able to integrate the insights, the shifts and the sheddings that the piece offers up to me.
Today I re-watched one of my excerpt videos from Friend. I was moved in a completely different way than I was moved when performing it, or even than when I first edited the video. But in a way that feels just as important.
I could follow the trajectories of the piece as if listening to a juicy story. I could watch without the same attachments. I could let myself be taken for its rides. My guess is that this will only deepen as the work ferments. When I look at some of my earlier works now, I notice and feel new things in a way that delights me.
Art that is created through intuitive processes always holds more than initially meets the eye. And in order to digest all of its gifts, we must revisit it at different stages of our own life experience. One can’t “get” it all in one viewing, or even one month or one year. There are things hidden in each piece that the creators don’t even know about while creating. There are mysteries waiting to be investigated, and will wait as long as is necessary.
In a recent post I wrote that I am shifting my view to think of the performances of a work as just the midpoint of the project–that the same time that was taken to create it is needed to integrate it. However, in some ways, the performances are not the mid-point, but the “beginning” of a project. And then the project ripens, matures, ferments throughout the rest of our lives. It’s like when a redwood tree first sprouts out of the ground–that is the performance portion. And then the many centuries of growth of the tree is what happens after the performance as the art expands in our hearts.
Often we take trees for granted, like we take art for granted. It’s there, I saw it and I don’t need to pay attention anymore. But we miss so much when we do that. There’s so much to discover every time it crosses our path, and each discovery is fresh and completely new.
(video from this post is my second set of Friend excerpts: