Looking at the Big Sky

Eclipse season is in action, driving more intensity, especially to those who are Moonie-minded. 

Though receiving a break from ritual work, tool charging and beyond, this unique astrological time frame is not just a Full Flower Moon in Sagittarius during the Sag-Gemini axis, it is a Blood Supermoon with a total lunar eclipse. In order to have reflection, we must require rest. To be able to sit in discomfort comfortably and fully capture the whole picture of what can come, we must be able to find the quiet truth. Lately we have been musing on shifts, how time and energy is spent, vital questions to eclipse energy. Honesty and gentleness may feel opposite, but these are a healthy duality that must be obtained for change. Today, we offer a little roundup of appreciated artworks that encompass both tender and tough subject matter.

 Cinemateste

Agnes Varda’s 1977 “feminist musical” One Sings,The Other Doesn’t naturally received mixed reviews:  conservative critics felt the saccharine sing-song glorification of abortion was strange, “radical women” activists felt the film emphasized men too much, the avant garde film community complained that the real-life violence surrounding protests was glossed over. Varda’s navigation of abortion, birth control and motherhood is at times fluffy, especially in the reproduction-choice choruses of the musical performances, yet the fight for the right to choice and all the varying situations and complications that come with are portrayed with emphasis and empathy.

One Sings, The Other Doesn’t brings the viewer on a journey through this plethora of dilemmas and diverges. Following the tale of two close friends, kindled initially with light interest, their connection is quickly deepened by tragedy, following a lifelong support of each other’s very different paths. Young mother Suzanne terminates her third pregnancy due to financial restraints, resulting in her husband’s suicide, overwracked with guilt for not being able to provide, and ironically ruining Suzanne’s ability to form romantic connections for many years. This stark beginning shows the realism of women’s dependence on men even with Pomme’s free-spirited performance art aspirations.

“It’s a love story, but about friendship”

Reconnecting after losing touch, one to start a family planning center, the other to make pop songs about female empowerment, the means in which having an abortion changes and affects any person’s belief systems is prime. As cis women as so frequently a resources to both men and children, the core theme remains:  Sisterhood between the characters, who later choose motherhood on their own terms, when ready, shows that two opposite choices within one womb-owner’s life can absolutely exist for each person. Based in raw reality with a dreamy colorful wist, the film never shys from the lived experiences of these middle-class cis het women affected by political landscapes and socio-economic hardships of the 1970’s.

According to an interview with Crash, Varda’s experience fighting for the right to abortion, not simply as a health issue but as a normal valid choice no matter the circumstance, was the fire behind her screenplay. Varda’s own life and viewpoints are strung throughout, even though she is very intent on telling the many different angles of the women trying to get by in the day-to-day:

“Their story is dramatic at times. Sometimes these dramas give rise to consciousness and freedom. It cited Marx: ‘Within the family, the husband is the bourgeois and the wife represents the proletariat’. I have my actresses singing texts by Simone de Beauvoir, Marx, and Engels. I used song to tell the story of this new movement in the film. ‘When you’re almost a mother, you have to think for two.’ You have to become a feminist even before giving birth.”

Agnes Varda

Visual Art

I received an email telling me it was over.

I didn’t know how to respond.

It was almost as if it hadn’t been meant for me.

It ended with the words, “Take care of yourself.”

And so I did.

I asked 107 women (including two made from wood and one with feathers),

chosen for their profession or skills, to interpret this letter.

To analyze it, comment on it, dance it, sing it.

Dissect it.  Exhaust it.  Understand it for me.

Answer for me.

It was a way of taking the time to break up.

A way of taking care of myself.

When photographer Sophie Calle was broken up with over email after a long-term relationship that found itself sometimes being long-distance, she was quite surprised. In turn, Calle decided to turn this heartbreak into a project, one that -as a complete collection- is rather delightful and humorous, without taking away from the seriousness of sadness that can exist in these situations.

Take Care of Yourself is a collection of interpretations by over 100 women, including academic analysis, textual study, braille, tarot, shorthand, psychological and structural. The email is turned into a news story, a legal contract, a resume, and in graphics, advertisements, magazine spreads, floral arrangements, cartoons, paintings, piano compositions on paper, viewed from many sides. The beautifully curated book contains miniature booklets, one a fairy tale, another a play, inspired by the email. CDs of meditations, phone conversations, a film, a performance, Take Care is truly an in-depth gallery of collaboration and mediums.

Ironically, my ex of 7 years, who broke up with me over email, gave me this book as a Christmas present and I just now have taken the time to look at it. He has since passed away and my reflection on him in his relationships with others, as they have revealed their inner-workings after his death, seem to have altered greatly. Love is tricky, heartache is trickier. Whereas Calle has been criticized for being a “scorned woman”, Take Care of Yourself doesn’t strike me as a revenge series, though I supposed it’s easy for some to see it this way. It’s moments of tenderness, bittersweet, sad-eyed sentiment is met with objective deconstruction in our faulty communications within love. 

MuseMix

Othered Earth, the title for our second Symposium print zine, available on Etsy and released on US Mother’s Day, nodded towards the idea of remaining grounded. As explained in our previous Museletter, chaos within any environment often leads to transformation, reaction, action, all testing our center. As a little sonic experiment, creating a soundtrack of “Mother Earth” energy enveloped with atmospheres, a mix by the same name pays homage to 1980’s “experimental” art-pop/rock/electronic. Flutes, cellos, stand-up basses, pianos, percussive experimentation, electric and organic, in a floating genre that clearly has roots in classical theory, a range of instruments not typical to pop or rock, feature multiple songs by Kate Bush, Brian Eno, Arthur Russell, serving as a soundtrack to serenity in static.

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