Tag Archive | scraps

odalisque in a teapot (happy new year 2!)

Happy New Year!  Here on the seashore, we operate on obelisk time, and two years ago today I moved into my towering home.  Happy New Year!

Last year we celebrated with fire.  This year I’m just chilling in my teapot.  It is very cold in the obelisk.

teapot odalisque

teapot odalisque

This year Henriette escaped from her prison (where is she where is she?), I watched the same movie over and over again, Crow became Parrot and started asking existential questions, I dreamed in sound, the phoenix sent me several flaming notes, and I redid my home page.

These are my favorite scrapbook pages from the past year:

Thank you everyone who shared my scrapbook pages with their friends…more people saw me because of you!

handwriting_thankyouforlooking

–The Odalisque

phoenix_conversation_fearfire_bottomborder

home [page]

figure (anamorphosis) was my 100th scrapbook page!  One hundred is a special number because I have ten fingers and a hundred is ten to the second power.  I will have to publish 1,000 pages before I reach another power of ten.

post100_1000One thousand scrapbook pages!  Taped in a line on the walls…or bound into a book?  A record of the evolution of someone called “I”?…or ever-more intimate layers, papery tissues, peeled off with each page turn?  If the pages only reveal what was always there, what will be unveiled when the last obfuscation is lifted, the last page turned?

A funny endpaper, the edging of a book.  The knobby surface of my old desk, slid up beneath the window of the obelisk.   For you…a still, illuminated screen?  What lingers in the mind as our eyes lift to the view…who will sit, unveiled, in our thoughts, perplexing and welcome, when the scrapbook is at last closed?

centenary invitation

www.conversewithbirds.org

Now Featuring

post100_aslideshow

of my favorite pictures

AND

post100_aboutmeandmyscrapbook

where you

post100_youyesyou

can read an odalisque primer, hear my dreams, watch my movie, and browse some of my favorite pages from each obelisk year.

All this, and we are not even finished with year 2.

handwriting_thankyouforlooking

–The Odalisque

my party dress

I have so much to say it’s hard to say anything at all.  So many loose threads:

Plus my visits to outer-space…  I am having a hard time organizing all these threads.

So, to sea with the threads.  Let’s talk about something that isn’t a thread but IS very popular:

handwriting fashion

*!*Fashion!*!

Fashion is a pleasant distraction from most critical issues.  (To browse all my FASHIONable posts click the FASHION tag).   In my first message about FASHION  I listed all the clothes I own.  I’ve shown you my SWIMSUIT, but not my PARTY DRESS.

Here I am in my party dress:

fashionable odalisque in coat, plumed cap, and seashells,  with red coral and notebook paper

I made it myself.

If you miss me while I’m cocooning in loose threads, you can watch MY MOVIE

HOW I GOT INTO THE OBESLISK,

which debuted last year right about NOW.

Now now now now…

Maybe I should make another movie out of thread.

No.  That won’t help at all.

–The Odalisque

partydress (interior)

I made it while I waited
at the sea shore for
?

teapot postcard 2

my teapot delivers postcards directly to my desk.

my teapot delivers postcards directly to my desk.

 

Postcard back--Phoenix

Where is my coat?

I wish I would get a real postcard from Henriette.

 

rent

A reader has asked if buying an obelisk is expensive, or if I just rent.

Obelisks are like Brigadoon; they appear at the moment needed, but otherwise are unattainable.  That’s why I am reluctant to leave–if I do I’m not sure I could get back.   I really have to be convinced that it is worth the risk.

Some people would feel stuck in this situation but I like it fine.  I’ve stopped expecting anyone, besides the birds.  So now, I guess, I could really be surprised!

Which is evasion:  staying or going somewhere else?

  1. Some people stay where they are to evade what they could be.
  2. Others keep moving to evade who they are.
  3. Does it matter where I am?

Here’s a sentence I read recently:

But actually               unlike the snail                    we carry our homes                  within us

which enables us                                     to fly                                                               or to stay

,—                                 to enjoy                                   each.

Thoughts like these are  the price one pays for living in an obelisk by the sea shore.  Their consideration is the cost of rent.

I’m curious if any of you live in similar structures.  Perhaps in other shapes or materials?

A chunk of the obelisk fell out when I was painting, and it sits on my desk.  Do you know what obsidian feels like?  It is dark, glassy, a mirror cast in blackness, not in light.  The obelisk is very grounding.  It channels atmospheric and astronomical energies into the earth out of the sky.  Kind of like a lightening rod during a storm, but it works on more subtle energies, as well.

The tree that can sometimes be seen growing out my window, flourishes upon that same earth and air.

Soon it will be the equinox!  We are going to conduct an experiment on that day.  I’ll post the results next week.

Sorry I’ve been so absent these last few weeks.  I was tending to the tree.

You can ask me anything anytime as a comment or at handwriting email address

DoIgoOutAgain

obelisk clock

As you know, I celebrate astronomical facts.

Today my side of the earth leans close to the sun.

Tomorrow, it begins to tilt away.

Here is a celebratory  [j]gif[t] for you.

obelisk clock

[If you don’t see this image animated, click to open it!]

(read last year’s summer solstice post: astronomical truths)

 

why does the phoenix (billet 4)

a candle in my ear burned down to ash.  wake up.  eyelashes caked with ash.   head thick with smoke. obscure.

o reader

o out-there

here:

fig. 6:  astrolabe/the stairs

figure 6: the stairs

(the phoenix leaves flaming notes on my pillow.  Click to read the last billet doux…)

there are no words left.

it doesn’t matter what you say.

it matters what you do.

what will you do?

hawk’s avian creation myth

I’ve been asleep.  I dreamed of a desert.

My last scrapbook page was portraits of the birds in hats.  You may remember that  Hawk chose a white plumed hat with a blue ribbon.

hats for black swan & hawk

(click to see Hawk’s hat.)

I was surprised by Hawk’s preferred hat.  Hawk explained that it was not an aesthetic choice, but a metaphysical one.  This particular hat reminds Hawk of an avian creation myth which he relates thus:

White Bird laid an egg.

The egg was the world.

White Bird sits on the egg; it is night.

White Bird flies, up up up, away; egg is cold.

White Bird goes to her friend, Blue Snake.

Snake gives her a but-recently shed skin.

It, like Snake, is shimmery blue.

White Bird carries the blue strip of Blue Snake back to the egg.

Now, before she flies up, up, up, away,

she wraps the egg with blue skin.

It is the sky.

Sometimes a few downy feathers stick to the skin.

They are clouds.

Hawk is far too worldly to believe in this myth, but, does believe personal journeys constellate in mythological structures.

Hawk asked me to share this primitive bird story with you before I fall back asleep.

I don’t know why I’m so sleepy these days!  I am a worn-out Odalisque.  Maybe that will be my next scrapbook page:  “worn-out Odalisque”.   It must be the birds, with all their bitter questionings, exhausting me.

–The Odalisque

performance art

Though I spent my formative years as an art object, I’ve always wanted to be an artist.

I like to be looked at so I decided that my first artistic project would be myself.

I have concluded, based on the information that Owl brings, that I must, therefore, be a PERFORMANCE ARTIST.    My performances are primarily observed by birds; you, fair readers, witness my documentation of the event, via my scrapbook.   The performance artist, Marina Abramovic, lived behind a glass wall for public viewing, and writes that the energy of the audience helped sustain her through the ascetic, ritualized ordeal.   I have to sustain myself through my life without an audience, drawing energy from other sources.

The record of my performance is, in the tradition of the odalisque (rather than the whore), not promoted.  It lies here, awaiting you, who might be interested in me.  Maybe I am a CONCEPTUAL performance artist since my scrapbook stimulates an idea of me, my life, in your mind.

The definition of  performance artist observes that we typically come from varied disciplinary backgrounds.  My background hasn’t varied much; it’s usually exotic and luxe, though I have been reduced to a line upon a flat field of color.  Usually, my background suggests an interior, like the obelisk.  Generally, the interior exists only to couch my nakedness, the hushed lustre of my body with its inviting apparency.

I might be a multi-disciplinary performance artist.  Like the movies I watch, my work exists in two dimensions + time.   My life doesn’t move as fast as movie film, but, then again, I have lasted for more than two hours.  I work with several types of imagery–visual and textual.   Plus, according to the birds, my dreams are all in sound.

The birds are not convinced by all this.  They feel they are important, independent aspects of my life, which means I might not be a performance artist, but a character in a play.

They are my existential dilemma.

They say there is no existential dilemma because this is not a play.  They are wildly interested in FOOD, FASHION and FUN.  They have asked me to post more on those topics, which were so popular last summer.  They want me to leave the obelisk and go hang out on the shore.    Ok, Ok, I say, but what does a work of art DO on the sea shore?  Every time I go out there, I’m assaulted by sirens and nereids, phantom ships shooting fireworks and giant seashells whose glossy interiors sigh sad circular themes, stuffing my heart full of feelings, padding the perfect punching bag.

Black Swan says, “Put on a bathing suit!”

Hawk says, “Take a sandwich!”

The starlings make a giant beach ball in the sky and spin like a celestial globe.

Phoenix found me on the shore (see my movie), and doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about.  Obelisk, sea shore, o’er the hills, any place has fuel to burn.  Crow-as-Parrot still says nothing but “Where are you going?”  (shut up Crow!).

If I put on a bathing suit and packed a sandwich, if I hung out on the beach and caught some rays, would the sirens go away?  Would the seashells consent to being silent souvenirs?  Would the ship sail back to shore with treasure to share?  Would the nereids turn out to just be bait, the sirens the wiry hang-overs of a half-starved, worn-out crew?

When I ran from my former life as a decadent odalisque, I imagined being anything, anything native to the shore…not cheap toxic trash or the phantasmagoria of some sailor’s mind…I wanted to be real.

REGARD ME:

multi-media odalisque

multi-disciplinary-conceptual-performance-artist Odalisque

Henriette libre

A new letter from Henriette!

(Read her previous letter and my reply in bones, candy wrappers, a winnowing basket.)

staghorn beetle stamp

Odalisque,

Henriette libre!  Chávez became a bird, and I emulated him, slipping through the bars of my cage.   For his corpse my guards were sent to herd the queues of mourners clogging the streets.   I got my coat and walked right out, stood beneath the red portico of my prison de bellas artes.   Nearby, a confused man (at the wrong museum).  I smothered him with my coat, and stole his clothing.  Left him naked, recumbent as an odalisque upon the threshold of the museum.

I wish I could have stayed to watch him come-to, humiliated and exposed.

Do you still measure time with grains of sand?  Caracas is no desert.  I will learn to blow rings from a pipe.  Ceci n’est pas une pipe.  It is my life, lovely halos of smoke, disintegrating.

You ask if I ever learned how to love?   I try to love myself.

Here’s a photo of my new self.  I mean, my disguise.

On the lam,

Henriette

henriette with pipe

Henriette was always the wilder of us two.  Some cruel justice in her…smothering a man with her coat!  But she escaped she escaped!

Henriette,

What kind of bird is Chávez?   Maybe we have mutual friends.   We could convince him to give you a visa and you could visit us here in the obelisk?   I’m not sure how you’d get up but maybe you can rig something with smoke rings and your coat?   I have bones here–I cooked a turkey for Thanksgiving, and kept the bones because I didn’t want to upset black swan by throwing them into the marsh.    They’re in my sugar bowl.  You can have them if you want.

I put your picture in my scrapbook with a collage that is not a pipe.

If you are seen, I hope you will be appreciated.

Your (treacherous-less) friend,

The Odalisque

ceci n'est pas

Do I still measure time in grains of sand?

places I could go

While hunting for rodents in a nearby trash heap, Hawk found a very helpful book:   Around the World in 1,000 Pictures.   Now, when Crow squawks WHERE ARE YOU GOING?  I flip open my new book and consider a page.  (Read my last two posts to learn more about my Crow parrot’s persistent questioning.)

Here I am in my traveling outfit with Crow (as parrot):

traveling odalisque

Oh the places we could go!

[click photos to enlarge]

virgin isles, bluebeard's castle

Distinctive tower features Bluebeard’s Castle Hotel, setting for many legends.

Ah, the Virgin Isles.  But…the legends I’ve heard of Bluebeard’s Castle involve a slew of bloody no-longer-virgin wives strung up in a forbidden room.   Let’s try another page.

traveling london

Lovers sit by the bridge.

I’ve always wanted to go to England.  I find the English language so romantic, mostly because I understand it.  Two lovers embrace beside an industrial thoroughfare and a recently fired cannon!   There, in the distance, another tower renowned for the murder of wives.

Let’s look up a place I’m familiar with.  Henriette and I spent our early years in Paris:

Paris, France

Café de Flore, on the Left Bank, has been favorite of Picasso and of Jean-Paul Sartre.
Place Pigalle is center for night life and cabarets of the more bohemian sort.

Surrealism began at Café de Flore as well.  It is  a movement I am particularly fond of as it liberated my head, allowing me to replace it with strange objects (when I want to blend in with the bohemian sort, I wear red harem pants as a head).   Ah Paris!  A place to see and be seen.  Henriette and I felt our souls excised by the cutlery at this gazing feast; if I went back I fear my scrapbook would regress to ghostly, bland snapshots, an empty odalisque’s un-experience of supposedly important non-events.

Banff school of fine arts

Students have beautiful scenes to paint.

This could be a very fine place to go as there do not appear to be so many people.  I like beautiful scenes and the company of artists, especially when they notice that I am also one.  Look at these beautiful scenes:

Banff

You may see bighorn sheep.

And yet, I don’t like the right-hand picture so much.  It resembles the first violent scene in my movie which initiated my triumphant retreat into the obelisk.

An odalisque is lucky to have an obelisk of her own.  If I left, could I find my way back?

Photographs from Around the World in 1,000 Pictures
Edited by A. Milton Runyon and Vilma F. Bergane,
(c) 1954, Doubleday & Company

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  I now operate on obelisk time, and today is January 31…one year ago I moved into my towering astronomical clock.  To scald out the old and wring in the new, the birds and I took a bath.  Here the birds are in their bathing caps, I in my flaming sword:

bird bath

You will note that crow showed up as a parrot.  I have no explanation for this; crow delights in incongruities.   I trust that parrot-hood is only a temporary condition intended to confound everybody.  Once we’ve grown accustomed to this guise,  it’ll vanish, like the shadow of the circling bird when clouds occlude the light.

When I started this scrapbook I did not know that my measured and even conversations with the birds would become silly, intense, with fashion shows, flaming pillow notes, cupid costumes, and a very bad day for the black swan.    I had no idea, when I started, what I looked like, or that an accurate depiction of my life required a queerly elaborate picture language.   I discover my voice speaking to you.

Here are my ten favorite pages from the 72 I made this year (click to view):

  1. Beauty in ruin…a conversation with the hawk
  2. The FASHIONABLE BIRDS
  3. The stag & the unicorn
  4. Portraits of the odalisque as a young girl
  5. Learning to wait
  6. My swim-suit
  7. A WOMAN THERE WAS starring Theda Bara
  8. My first letter from imprisoned odalisque, Henriette
  9. Publicity photos from my movie
  10. MY MOVIE!!!!!

Which ones did you favor?

Not fare well, but fare forward, dear voyagers,

–The Odalisque

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