Archive for the ‘Stephen MacInnins’ Category
TO READ THE POETRY CREATED BY THE RUMOUR MILL - CLICK HERE!
Be Part of the Rumour Mill
Have you heard? During the Art in the Open event on August 27, you can participate in “The Rumour Mill,” an interactive art installation by visual artist Stephen B. MacInnis and writer Jane Ledwell, in Rochford Square. The Rumour Mill will be a gossip-powered human machine for generating poetry out of tourism advertising.
“We’ll be looking for volunteers every hour all evening to be part of our ‘machine,’” says Ledwell. “Basically, all we’re asking is for people to play a fun game of ‘Telephone.’ We’ve got quotations from PEI tourism ads, and we’ll be asking for volunteers to pick one at random and whisper the phrase from person to person down the line. After the phrase is transformed by mishearings, misunderstandings, misrememberings, and random events, we’ll call it ‘poetry’ and write it on a scrolling sheet of paper.
“Stories change from person to person in the Island’s infamous word-of-mouth networks, and sometimes that is destructive,” says Ledwell. “We thought, why not use that energy to make poetry?”
“The installation will reference parts of an old-fashioned wooden mill or machine,” says MacInnis. “It will have a hopper, harnesses, and a hand-cranked reel of paper.
“The idea of an art machine to turn tourism advertising back into culture was really interesting to us,” MacInnis continues. “We want people to think about the ideas behind the project, but we also want this artwork to be playful to interact with.”
The Rumour Mill will operate on schedule in Rochford Square at every hour on the hour from 4:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. and for a last run at 11:45 on August 27 during Art in the Open. The “rumours” will circulate in French only, relying on Francophone or bilingual participants, at 5:30 p.m. and at 8:30 p.m.
“We can also run the machine between scheduled times,” says Ledwell. “In fact, any time we have a group of six or more people who want to take part, we’ll crank up the machinery for them.”
You can find out more about The Rumour Mill at http://sbmacinnis.wordpress.com.
Psst… pass it along.
The challenge for an artist is to get their work in front of the public. There are many ways to do this online, and lately the best method for me is a WordPress blog. I prefer the blog method over a website. I find a website very static, and as an artist with limited computer skills, and who is always working and producing new work, a blog is the perfect fit.
I’m a stay at home dad as well as an artist and my daughter is often in my studio with me. I enjoy her contribution to my work space, I let her do things such as telling me what colours to use, or she sometimes adds a drawing to an abstract piece I’m working on, and I will blog about stuff she does and says. She enjoys painting and drawing, and she enjoys talking about art. Lately, she has been talking about photography, so I gave her a camera and let her loose. I’ve been posting some of her photo essays, and they have proven popular.
I treat my blog as a studio diary. I show what I’m working on and discuss what I’m thinking about. It takes awhile to figure out what to blog about, and so lately I’ve been working on organizing my blog. On the weekends I will include content my daughter has provided. Wednesdays I do a list of ten random things I like. I also show the process of painting, and have been showing the steps to creating a painting from start to finish. I show the work I am doing, but I also like to show what is going on in the studio.
I’ve been experimenting with different ways to promote my blog. I find Facebook and Twitter to be very effective. I also link to my blog from any other sites my work might be on, but I am still looking for different ways to reach a greater audience.
Written by Jane Ledwell
A number of weeks ago, The Guild was organizing an Arts Mixer and wanted to feature poems inspired by visual art and visual art inspired by poetry. Stephen B. MacInnis, my partner, is a painter, and I am a poet, so they asked if we wanted to contribute. We said yes and decided to create something together.
Stephen is currently working on a series of one thousand 12″x12″ works on paper, of which he has completed more than 600. These incorporate elements of painting, drawing, and collage. I asked him to select five or six partially completed works for me to look at and think about. Then, I let my mind drift, hoping it would find inspiration tucked away somewhere. Because I am NOT working on a series of 1,000 anything and am not prolific and have written little poetry since our daughter was born four years ago. You could say that two other collaborative projects I have undertaken with Stephen – our two children – have used up all my creative energy.
After looking at the handful of paintings, I managed to settle on, or fixate on a word, “affinity,” and to become curious enough about its dimensions that I knew it would be somewhere in my poem. I began to write images from observation and imagination, and I also began to list words that seemed to me to fit with “affinity.”
Next, I chose a painting-in-progress that included the collaged element of a skeletal hand. I wanted to reference this hand, but not too literally. I continued to work on the words and images of my poem and decided to provide Stephen with six words he could include in his painting, in whatever way he wanted. In my mind, the six words represented the five fingers of a hand and the hand itself. I committed to six words that satisfied me, and I gave them to Stephen.
Stephen stamped the words onto his canvas with rubber stamps. And then – after this unchangeable act – I decided that since I had chosen six words, I should try to write a sestina, a strictly formal poem in which six selected words feature at the end of the lines of six stanzas, in a predetermined order in each stanza. The six words then appear in a three-line stanza at the conclusion of the poem. I don’t usually write formal poems, let alone ones that require such a rigid structure and that amount to 39 lines. But I was intrigued by the challenge, and I set to work.
The biggest challenge was that the words I had chosen by reason of their rhythm and sound were not good words to use as the six key words for a sestina. If I had thought to write a sestina, I would have chosen more concrete, more simple words. The words I had chosen led to a poem with diction that is at best old-fashioned and at worst contorted. On the positive side, the poem is abstract in a way that reflects the artwork’s abstraction in surprising and satisfying ways, and more concrete terms would not have allowed this abstraction to emerge.
When I finished a draft of the poem, I suggested Stephen that his painting might need to have a hand traced on it somewhere. I didn’t specify whose hand or where. I also suggested that the words might need connections among them, but I didn’t specify which words or how they should be connected. Stephen worked these elements into his painting.
I finished the poem and he finished the painting, and we presented them at the Arts Mixer. We were glad that we had said yes to the opportunity to work together to create two pieces of art in two voices that nonetheless speak to each other in their creative process and their final forms.