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Stephen Linsteadt Talks About His Work & 53 Fragments

 

I paint because it gives me great joy to move thick and colorful pigment around a canvas with bristle brushes that bounce off the surface the way drumsticks recoil sweetly off a perfectly stretched drum. There is a rhythm to it that reverberates through my cells, like a dance, and when the strokes flow just right and the colors sing just right and the form splashes and drips just right then euphoria takes over and I disappear into a place where my everydayness can’t find me. This doesn’t happen with every canvas. It only happens with enough paintings to keep me in pursuit of it. It is the pursuit that is the addition.

I am left unsatisfied if the painting is just random marks and splashes of color. I look for the meaning, which supplies a sense of purpose in the endeavor. For meaning, I rely on poetry because poetry uses words that are the symbols we use to convey content. Poetry also utilizes metaphor, which is that slippery place where words fall short of describing feelings and thoughts that float in and out of the uncharted world of ideas. These floating inspirations come from a place one can attribute to a Muse. I assume there is always a Muse standing beside me when I am successful with a painting or a poem. I can’t say for sure, but I do know that my favorite paintings and poems have all come from a place I can’t take credit for. The thrill is to see what comes next out of the process.

The painting “Oxyrhynchus and Osiris” in “Part 1 – creation / birth” depicts the ancient fish oxyrhynchus (Echeneis remora) swimming in the primordial ocean of the unconscious. This fish was famous in ancient times for having swallowed the phallus of Osiris after he was dismembered by his brother Seth. The story of Osiris and his evil brother Seth contains many alchemical symbols, including the idea that we have become separated and fragmented from our original transcendent state of being. The fish’s name, remora, means ‘to delay.’ It had a sucker-shaped mouth, which it used to attach itself to passing ships. Apparently it had the power to stop ships and bring them to a standstill. The alchemical significance teaches the true seeker to swim against the tide of our conditioned beliefs and the tides of our desires (the large ships). From the alchemical point of view, the oxyrhynchus exerts an attraction on the ships that is compared to the influence of a magnet on iron. It is the power of the magnet that draws out the iron from our base (carnal) nature. Hence, our spiritual resurrection begins only after we lose identity with outward desires and become androgynous, as it were (hence the need to lose one’s symbolic phallus).

Carl Jung made the distinction that the magnetic force, in the alchemical view, does not “precede from the fish but from a magnet which [people] possess and which exerts the attraction that was once the mysterious property of the fish.” It is the “magnet of the wise,” that has the power to draw us out of the depths of the ocean of the unconscious, which is the real secret teaching of alchemy.

Read more>> (http://stephenlinsteadtstudio.com/articles/oxyrhynchus.html)

“Part 5 of 53 Fragments – death / re-birth” (forthcoming) inspired the painting “White Crane (hamsa) #6.” The white crane appears in Chinese mythology as symbolically connected to immortality. The crane was also considered to be the intermediary between earth and heaven and as a messenger of the gods to humans. Cranes are said to carry souls to Paradise at death and represent the ability to enter higher states of consciousness (re-birth).

I am honored to participate in 53 Fragments / in five parts. Like Osiris lying dismembered in the desert, I too feel fragmented during those times I feel lost and am searching for meaning and purpose. Circumstances have a way of dismembering our hopes and dreams. However, like Osiris, we can take comfort knowing that the alchemical distillery of our life’s journey is cleaning the dirt off our wings. When the process is complete, like the great hamsa, we will lift off the water’s surface and take flight to higher realms of consciousness.

 

 

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Interview with Dean Pasch

 

What is the spirit and motivation behind you creating poems, pictures, music, film?

It’s my spirit’s way of helping me stay alive each life.

What would you most like your audience to know about you as artist and person? I mean of course the people who seek to know more about your art and about you.

That I believe in and feel that being alive is filled with layers and that whatever medium I use to explore being alive it must always seek to reflect this belief and deepen the mystery.

Could you say something about the first piece you have contributed to 53 Fragments? Its genesis, development and what it means for you personally (OR please choose the piece you would like to comment on)

I posed this question to all contributors but for me it might be more salient and interesting to ask the question why I initiated this project.

I am a structure junkie who is also a chaos addict. Those words are loaded and my use of them frivolous. A great number of people afflicted with addiction end up both dying from it and sourcing a great deal of grief and pain for those around them. So with that in mind I still use the term addiction in my answer to this question.

I basically accept I cannot imagine not making pictures, writing when I feel a need to, attempting to dabble in music and always feel the creation of film powerfully close to my creative core.

The umbrella term for all of the above is art. And the artist is so because there is no real choice involved. It is a dictatorship of the senses and the imagination. The calibration of the artist’s role and place in life is varied and that theme is also relevant to my answer. I wanted to be an artist since my earliest childhood and I hope this wish will accompany me into my death. If it doesn’t then I will have to just deal with it.

The project ’53 Fragments’ is nothing more and nothing less than my wish to make a journey with other artists through the stages and states of life – for convenience structured as:

creation / birth
childhood & youth
early adulthood & middle-age
old age
death / re-birth

A cycle of existence and its absence

A cycle that has intrigued me for longer than I can remember

What are your impressions of the current project (53 Fragments)?

It’s something I embraced with a plan, a modus operandi – a methodology I felt would see me through to its completion – which would be a year. The last 2 parts and their 26 fragments have never failed to inspire me, amaze me, challenge me and give me a deep satisfaction that has confirmed and sustained my wish to go for it – to do it.

There were time a few weeks ago when I felt a degree of burden and unpleasant obligation.

Those feelings passed quite quickly and with a release of fragment 27

53 Fragments has moved beyond the half-way point and that feels good. I can do this and I believe the artists taking part in the project will support me and the project right up to fragment 53.

 

 

 

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Interview with Chris Madoch

 

What is the spirit and motivation behind you creating poems, pictures, music (choose the medium where appropriate)?

It is core to the fact of my BEING an observational expressionist trapped on Earth- a thing I may have chosen for myself to be, OR a responsibility that was ‘gifted’ me. In the context of The Cosmos as a whole my choices are to either kill myself or write or create in any medium or genre.
It is a question I am forced to address every day of my life.

What would you most like your audience to know about you as artist and person? I mean of course the people who seek to know more about your art and about you.

People who want to know anything about my art will find all the answers in my art.
People who want to know more about me should question what drives them in this direction- having said that I am very approachable.

Could you say something about the first piece you have contributed to 53 Fragments? Its genesis, development and what it means for you personally (OR please choose the piece you would like to comment on)

No. It speaks for itself.
What are your impressions of the current project (53 Fragments)? What made you agree to take part in it?

It is gargantuan and on the tipping edge of being unmanageable. I took part in the project because I was invited by a person I admire for their persistence and for their alchemical powers to make the unmanageable manageable.

 

 

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Michael Dickel talks about his latest contribution to part 2 of 53 Fragments (childhood & youth)

 

An interesting thing for me was that I am one of four brothers, and in a very general way, there is a resemblance between the four children in the drawing (which you sent me to respond to) and the four brothers of my family. I started there—and with a memory of a red brick wall from my youth that could have served as this background.

However, the piece is (flash) fiction — other than the four brothers and 11-year spread between us, no reality. My father was a school teacher, not a photographer (although he did photography as a hobby and took occasional paying jobs as a photographer). He died in his late 60s of a heart attack when I was an adult with my first child already, not as depicted in the story.

I started to write this as poetry, but felt stuck until I changed it to prose and moved into the implied narrative. It became flash fiction rather than a poem, which worked better for me with this drawing for some reason.

I guess this is ekphrastic (as you probably know, writing responding to or describing actual or fictional artwork), so ekphrastic flash, but not ecstatic—a bit dark, I’m afraid. It calls into question the notion of youth and childhood, which Neil Postman (for one) traces as a relatively recent invention related to the printing press, an increased social expectation-need for literacy, and thus the invention of schools for children (as a class, no longer just younger humans) to teach citizens (who became adults as a class and not just older humans) to read and write. My questioning has less to do with this social construction at that point in history and more to do with its post-industrial revolution effects in a romanticized image of childhood that usually ignores the fact that children are very sensitive to and aware of emotional realities around them, and often most or all of the other realities, as well.

 

 

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Interview with Viviana Hinojosa

 

What is the spirit and motivation behind you creating pictures?

First of all the desire to paint and draw, the impulse, raw as it comes, without further reasons. Second, the need to create possible worlds on paper or canvas, whimsical or absurd or surreal images, to experience color, line, shape and tone.

What would you most like your audience to know about you as an artist and a person?

Two things, I’m obsessed about perfecting the craft. I like to play. No point in making art if you can’t have fun with it. Play, play, play.
Oh, and I like cats.

First piece I contributed to 53 Fragments:

A piece about birth. I was trying to draw something else but the idea of drawing a nest was irresistible. So I drew a nest on a girl’s head and she is holding some flying device.

That for me is a beginning: to play, to pretend to fly.

Impressions on the current project and what made me take part in it:

I like collaboration projects. Creativity needs others to blossom. I liked the idea of being part of a big group of artists from other places and disciplines working together in a communal project. I was curious about how the work of each one would resonate with others generating new interpretations and ideas and new art pieces. So far, the 53 Fragments Project has proven to be most interesting and beautiful. Image, words and music come together in unexpected ways, each part alone is beautiful, together, it goes beyond beautiful, into the realm of wonder. Makes you anticipate what will come next, and how will it work together. It has gone beyond my expectations. Truly inspiring.

 

 

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Interview with Michael Dickel

 

What is the spirit and motivation behind you creating poetry?

I’m not sure that I could name the, as in a single, spirit or motivation behind my poetry or my creating. Most of my poems and other art have such a mixture of influences—some ideas, topics, themes, or philosophical questions that I have been thinking about; observations from my life, from what happens around me; bits and pieces of Jewish Tradition and more than a little of Jewish mysticism (Kabbalah); the socio-political realities around me. This begs the question, though, of whether these make up the matter of the poem / art while something else would better be considered “spirit and motivation behind…creating”? I’m not sure that I know. I do know that I am compelled to write. Perhaps it’s a mental disorder, a sort of obsessive-compulsive disorder that expresses itself in word, word play, ideas, images, poetics and all that that word entails from Aristotle to today.

I create, therefore I am.

What would you most like your audience to know about you as artist and person? I mean of course the people who seek to know more about your art and about you.

If there is an audience that seeks to know more about my art and about me, I would suggest that they seek the art more and me less. My biography would not be boring, but I don’t know if it says much about my art. My art, however, may say much more about me than anything else. Yet, I hope, it really is not about me or, even when autobiography, about my life. My art has many layers, a lot going on below the surface. Take the time to let it sink in, return to it. And, if you don’t get it, ask yourself if that might also be the point—the ineffability of epistemology. I am strong on image, but sometimes my images move into cubism or abstraction in ways that make them (almost) beyond comprehension. I try to reach out into that place where I cannot quite express what I think or feel, and bring something back.

Could you say something about the first piece you have contributed to 53 Fragments? Its genesis, development and what it means for you personally?

Even for one poem, identifying a single spirit or motivation seems a bit beyond me. Swallowing our Tale, the poem I wrote for creation / birth takes the title of the section for one driving force, a motif of birth and the creation of the universe providing a framework. However, while writing the poem I also was visiting the Upper Galilee, house sitting in the ancient and mystical city of Tzfat. Some of the most poetic parts of the liturgy for the Jewish Sabbath came from Tzfat hundreds of years ago. More than once I saw the sunset over Mount Merion, a double-peaked mountain that almost holds the sun as it sets when watching from Tzfat. Seeing it, the layers of shadow and light on the hills, also appears in that poem. Kabbalistic teachings about creation also influence how I wrote about birth, the contractions both labor and what G-d has to do to make room for the universe. Finally, rockets appear in the poem as, at the time I wrote it, rockets fell in Gaza and in Israel during the most recent (so far) violence between Hamas and Israel.

What are your impressions of the current project (53 Fragments)? What made you agree to take part in it?

I like fragments. I think our perceptions, thoughts, observations, images in the end are fragmentary. We connect dots and think we see a web of connections that influence the world. But the connections and influences come from us, not from the world. I think this project lives that, with artists, musicians, writers contributing fragments. You probably see connections as you put each fragment together with another. I see connections when I look at the site. They likely are not the same connections. And this is the strength of this project, in my opinion. We all get something from it, even those of us who contribute, but none of us controls the interpretations.

 

 

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Interview with Eric Armitage

 

What is the spirit and motivation behind you creating pictures?

I love to draw because it makes me see things in a different ways. I can get lost in myself thoughts and revisit old ideas. Painting for me has become another form of drawing.

This spirit has always been in me and the motivation always there, my true luck is the people around me who have supported me through my journey. And the best is yet to come.

What would you most like your audience to know about you as artist and person? I mean of course the people who seek to know more about your art and about you. 

I have been drawing, painting, photographing and collecting images my whole life. While at the University of Washington earning my degree in art, I specialized in textile design, photography and combination of the two. After university I moved to San Francisco and worked in the textiles industry. While working for others creating, designing, producing and selling, I always continued with my drawing and painting.

For the last 15 years I have lived in Amsterdam and work at the Rembrandt House Museum. The paints I use have been made in Rembrandt’s studio (by me) using the same recipes as the master himself. Simple cold pressed linseed is mixed with natural pigments from stones, minerals and other earthen materials to create all these colours. I then build up the image on a ground colour, layer for layer. I learned that Rembrandt made no pencil drawings on canvas but sketched out an image on the canvas with paint. This has changed the way I paint.

For my drawings I don’t make my own ink but my work has been greatly influenced by Rembrandt’s Etchings and his use of light & dark. When printing in Rembrandt’s studio I do use a printing ink that I do make myself in house.

With this job and an endless supply of paint I have the freedom to draw and paint what I want.

Could you say something about the first piece you have contributed to 53 Fragments? Its genesis, development and what it means for you personally.

The first piece was creation and that for me is my work. I’ve been sitting at that spot off and on for the last 15 years. Many ideas have started right there and started with a simple drawing in my sketchbook. And yes, I do get inspiration from being in Rembrandt’s Studios. How could you not?

What are your impressions of the current project (53 Fragments)? What made you agree to take part in it?

I really enjoy to seeing the different artistic solutions to the same theme and can’t wait to see what will develop next. The idea of connecting the image with a poem and using the Net as a progressive collective gallery was very intriguing to me. I’ve been looking for a new avenue to get my work “out there” and I was hoping to get new ideas from my participation that would help me in the future.

 

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Interview with Steve Karn

 

What is the spirit and motivation behind you creating (music, lyrics, art & film) ?

This is both difficult and easy to answer.

Easy – I am inspired by something/someone I see, hear, smell, read or taste and feel an urge to respond, to replicate, in spirit, then build on it and possess it for myself. To make it bigger, better, longer, to distil, redefine, model, crystallise, shape it and then hold it back up to the world.

Difficult – There are so many intangibles at work it’s impossible to give a singular answer. It’s all the above senses being stimulated in varying proportion but through the individual prism of one’s own personal and unique sensibility and experience. It’s the moment, the past, the future. It’s an innate desire to make something, sometimes for its own sake, sometimes exclusively for oneself, sometimes for everybody. It’s a feeling of wanting to bring together elements that have a connection in one’s own experience and consciousness. It’s the desire to arrest time. It’s the need to create a legacy. It’s a statement of ego and the desire to be validated.

It’s the desire to tell a story, to express love, joy, hate and fear. It’s born of attraction to the world and repulsion at it. In my own case it’s not generally a desire to show the ugly and the dark but to instil what I do with a sense of positivity, to show the world, my world, as a fascinating place of hope and wonder. Then again I find wonder in drain covers and pavements, so it’s all very subjective!

What would you most like your audience to know about you as artist and person? I mean of course the people who seek to know more about your art and about you.

I find this a challenging part of being an artist. I don’t really want people to know about me personally. At all.

I simply want people to take an interest and have a genuine response to my work. If such a connection is made then I am happy to engage in discussion, but would prefer this to be about process and technique rather than ‘message’. As most of my work is instinctive rather than conceptual all I could ever really do would be to describe the inspiration behind individual pieces.

Meaning itself is harder to define.

I myself don’t know, or cannot see, everything (anything!) that’s tangible in a piece from the perspective of others and enjoy the idea that it has a life of its own. Sometimes the more people know about the artist and their work, the less effective the work becomes, insomuch as it becomes settled, rather than free to roam.

Of course I have an interest in details about the lives and personalities of individual artists and realise that a certain amount of extra-curricular information can enhance and inform one’s own experience of an artists work. Personality is inevitably a factor, however this ultimately comes through in a work anyway so anything other than the work itself is icing on the cake.

Cake is good, as is icing, but it’s not crucial to have both, although icing on its own is a bit too much.

Could you say something about the first piece you have contributed to 53 Fragments? Its genesis, development and what it means for you personally?

My first contribution to 53 Fragments was a piece of music called Let It Rain. The piece was already a work in process when I was asked to make a contribution and, on considering the thematic context (creation/birth), seemed to be a appropriate fit to the underlying concept. The genesis of the original piece was a field recording I had made of running water (the brook outside my house after heavy rain). At the time I was using a lot of wild sound as the starting point for musical projects, rather than words, melody or rhythm. That’s how the piece began, and I worked around that sample, using it as the base element, adding the musical elements to the mix – piano first and then drums. Once I had decided that components, and spirit, of the piece in the raw fitted the brief, I developed and refined its structure and tone, giving more consideration to its place within Fragment 6.

I felt a flat, looped dynamic structure was preferable to a more traditional narrative ‘song’ format. More incidental soundtrack accompaniment than theme tune, if you like. I didn’t want it to be a focal point, but wanted it to sit alongside the other visual and literary elements in the fragment.

So, ultimately the piece, for me, has come to mean two things – its original conception speaks to me of my local environment and connects me emotionally to water and rain, in relation to a fairly specific time and place. On another level I feel it is now also connected to the wider metaphysical concept of creation and birth, the essence of water and rain as significant elements in the creation and sustenance of life, as outlined in Part 1.

I am also excited about how the piece connects with the project as a whole and the other pieces in Fragment 6, and glad to feel that my contribution has played a valid part in Part 1’s wider construct.

What are your impressions of the current project (53 Fragments)? What made you agree to take part in it?  

My impressions are that I am impressed!

This is a wonderful example of a collaboration which still fosters a sense of individual creative freedom. I admire the scope of vision behind the project, how it is growing as a body of work as well as how the dynamic of each part and fragment functions individually. The feeling of witnessing, and being part of, something that it in the process of taking shape over a period of time is both thrilling and rewarding. I very much subscribe to the idea of bringing together a diverse selection of creative individuals across the three disciplines.

In culinary terms it’s a series of unique and fascinating three-course meals that together constitute a veritable feast of ideas, consumed over time.

No gluttony though, just perpetual nourishment!

I like the modernity of the project – the fact that it is being realised in the digital domain, where all three disciplines can exist together in the same space.

The grand themes of the project (which have already given a home to some brilliantly conceived ideas) enable the participating artists a wide spectrum of expressive possibilities, not, however, at the expense of structure, cohesion or clarity as each part and fragment within it brings the need for a certain level of discipline and focus.

It’s living, it’s breathing, it’s growing, and will mature and reach conclusion in reflection of the project’s thematic stages, (who knows what rebirth will bring!).

It is representative of life, and experience, and individual lives being lived, yet it has a life of its own.

It is made up of fragments, yet not fragmented. There is a glue binding it all together, and once complete it could, and should remain in perpetuity (unless Kim Kardashian manages to break the internet at some point, that is), as a rich body of work, and a testament to a fantastic vision, which would indeed be a marvellous thing.

What made me agree to participate? Simple – just knowing and respecting you, Dean, and trusting the honesty and integrity of your creative vision, and that of other artists you have connected with.
 

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Interview with Cornelia Pasch

 

What is the spirit and motivation behind you creating pictures and music?

The spirit or motivation for me is essentially exploring my inner world and the world around me. There is a constant dialogue between ideas, thoughts and sudden impulses with the exterior conditions of life.

Creating something is the ultimate freedom a human being can have and it’s probably the most honest activity you can share with others.

What would you most like your audience to know about you as artist and person? I mean of course the people who seek to know more about your art and about you.

Art is like traveling the human landscape with all its conditions, chances and limitations, but also more that that. Whatever means of expression are chosen art is always the key to our existential set up.

Could you say something about the first piece you have contributed to 53 Fragments? Its genesis, development and what it means for you personally?

I was experimenting with some different instruments and styles until I found the tunes I liked. It was a completely intuitive approach – more like a playful creation.

What are your impressions of the current project (53 Fragments)? What made you agree to take part in it?

I love how artists express their reference to different stages of human existence, how their pictures and words are chosen to express a deeper truth. I like the different dimensions, words, pictures and music, how they relate or influence each other, without a hierarchy.

 

 

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Interview with Kevin Reid

What is the spirit and motivation behind you creating poetry?

The very same one that keeps and gives life … The everyday, memories and a need to find out how words work.

What would you most like your audience to know about you as artist and person? I mean of course the people who seek to know more about your art and about you.

I’m a person first. Words and images are part of the skin that keeps me together.
I’m interested in exploring more collaborative work around film and sound.
If you have an idea and think it lends itself to collaboration, go for it!
Contact me through my web pages at http://eyeosphere.com
Follow me on twitter @eyeosphere and on facebook.

Could you say something about the first piece you have contributed to 53 Fragments? Its genesis, development and what it means for you personally?

My daughter’s birth had its dramas. A first experience
where innocence was protective and experience clinical,
both with equal voice. Her mother’s scream,her cries.

What are your impressions of the current project (53 Fragments)? What made you agree to take part in it?

A stream of conscience for all the senses.
Having followed and admired Dean’s work online for a few years and after his dedication and rich contribution to the >erasure ii project,
I was more than delighted to be asked to be a part of this innovative and thought provoking project.
It’s a real pleasure to be working alongside some of the best groundbreaking artists around.

 

 
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Interview with Mauricio Venegas-Astorga

 

What is the spirit and motivation behind you creating music?

People, and their lives, landscapes, humans and geographical ones.

What would you most like your audience to know about you as artist and person? I mean of course the people who seek to know more about your art and about you.

That what I do as a person is the same as what I do as an artist …. with love, freedom, justice and care for humanity at the centre of it.

Could you say something about the first piece you have contributed to 53 Fragments? Its genesis, development and what it means for you personally?

It is a piece that was created/born by exploring the “Charango” in a different way from what it is traditionally used for (strumming very rhythmically and fast) and the combination with the sound of a 350 years old violin means and reaffirms in me that the language of music or the spirit of it transcends cultures, countries, regions, and styles.

What are your impressions of the current project (53 Fragments)? What made you agree to take part in it?

Any sincere art collaborative enterprise that appeals to human beings from harmony, beauty and understanding deserves time and truthful interest, 53 fragments not only means that to me, it has also allowed me to rekindle a very important friendship that has endured the passage of time, absence, distance, and still is today as vibrant and important to me as it was 20 years or more years ago.

 
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Interview with Steve Mueske

 

What is the spirit and motivation behind you creating music?

I have always had a need to create, though these days it is primarily through making electronic music and writing poetry. Music-wise, I guess I am just trying to create a kind of aural narrative with sounds. Like a movie that the listener creates based on reactions to chords, progressions, mood, etc. I hope that this is different for every person, unique in the way that dreams are personal and constructed of signs and symbols from everyday events. I do create from themes and ideas (for example, Hydra, from Hello Cruel World, was inspired by the chess program of the same name written by Dr. Donninger), but I really hope that these are just triggers. I guess, more than anything, I want the songs to be organic, to not follow prescribed forms. They are born of curiosity, collages of sound experiments, tunings, sequences, etc., with the over-arching principle that they be fecund with meaning and be listenable.
What would you most like your audience to know about you as artist and person? I mean of course the people who seek to know more about your art and about you.

I’ve never thought about that. I guess I’m pretty obscure in the big picture. I’m not after fame or fortune or any of those things. I guess I hope to impact a few people here and there. If I’m being honest, I just want to believe that these activities that I do in private — making music, writing poetry — matter. As a person who suffers from depression and anxiety, these are my tools to interface with the world.
Could you say something about the first piece you have contributed to 53 Fragments? Its genesis, development and what it means for you personally?

The first piece was called “My Beautiful Longing”. It originally began as a short exploration of the Pythagorean tuning in Omnisphere using a simple pad. As it progressed, I wanted it only to express a pure feeling of longing and loneliness, the way there is a kind of solitary beauty to the human spirit. My pieces are generally fairly complex setup-wise, but this particular piece was only three tracks, using three patches. I usually use Reaper as my DAW, but this one was done in Podium.

 

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 Interview with Timur Iskandarov  (Tamerlan)

 

What is the spirit and motivation behind you creating music?

First and foremost, the need for communication with the world we live in. The need to express myself. We use words to exchange information, but we don’t usually treat them as something that defines our personality. We smile, but we hate inside. We say “I promise” just to make it sound dramatic, and we walk away from that the next second. Just as our lifestyle of “behave, obey, don’t question, fit in”, our personalities and words have been demoted to the mere tools of formality. This is why I was searching for a better and more meaningful way of expression (not only limited to other people), and found it in music.
It’s as if every note I write enforces my connection to the world and the universe. This is all the motivation I need.

What would you most like your audience to know about you as artist and person? I mean of course the people who seek to know more about your art and about you.

Well, whoever seeks to know such things about me, should at least buy me a beer…. then we will have a heart to hear conversation about interesting things in our artistic and personal lives.The jokes aside, I would just direct the ones interested, to my musical works.They say more about me than I will ever be able to express with words.
 

Could you say something about the first piece you have contributed to 53 Fragments? Its genesis, development and what it means for you personally?

“Bloom” is one of the compositions I am most proud of (at least when we speak about the older Tamerlan material). It was published in 2009, as a part of Tarot Series compilations, and was created for the volume of the Empress card. It was later re-released as a part of “The Trinity Of Painted Symphonies” split album with projects Hoyland and Melankolia. Being that the main symbolism of the card is fertility, I really thought that it would fit perfectly into the first part of 53 Fragments project. The development of the track was an improv session gone wrong. I was just improvising on lute with my mind preoccupied with the card, and accidentally, the whole song appeared. If I was ever happy about an accident happening, that was the moment.

What are your impressions of the current project (53 Fragments)? What made you agree to take part in it?
I was very happy to receive an invitation to contribute to such a fascinating project. One of my main goals in life is to find those, whose mind walks the same road as mine does (survivors in the world of the undead???). It’s refreshing to see an attitude where such an important spiritual state, that is our current life, is being documented by uniting the spheres of creativity. I am looking forward to seeing this project come to life, and I’m willing to help any way I can.

 

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Interview with Debra (AKA ‘Ophelia’ – musician)

 

What is the spirit and motivation behind you making music?

All music to me is religious and life is spiritual.

What would you most like your audience to know about you as artist and person? 
I mean of course the people who seek to know more about your art and about you.

I try to express the things that I think represent my ideal self and the ideal self I thought I would be when I was younger. Anything that stirs memories and creates new ones. Newness is something I strive for.

Could you say something about the first piece you have contributed to 53 Fragments?
Its genesis, development and what it means for you personally?

‘Release’ is a ambient movement with a non-static tone, sweeping behind broken angels. The strange place between birth and death where everything is the same. I wanted to create a counterpoint that was chaotically soothing.

What are your impressions of the current project (53 Fragments)?
What made you agree to take part in it?

I think it’s brilliant and loving.

 

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Katerina Dramitinou Says Something About Her Art

 

Well you see, what I do has nothing to do with hidden meanings.

It’s just me and the way I communicate with nature, that is, life…Nothing else. That’s where I rest, that’s where I find answers.

That’s where I find painting if you wish. Colours and forms, forms and colours. As for what they call whatever is behind a work of Art, I don’t think it’s me that can give you an answer. It’s not my role.

If something like that exists, if you can find it, let me know too.

Lately, I have discovered my face amongst the intertwined tree branches, and Elizabeth, full of curves on cars’ windows or behind curtains. I found Nick built in the wild bedrocks, his gaze everywhere…Pieces of a puzzle, all mixed up. Wherever I passed, I left an eye to watch behind. And no…I haven’t just seen curves, shadows, branches and rocks.

I gather, there must be others who would like to look into this matter using the same code. The one of truth and simplicity. Because, as we have said, painting equals life. Life everywhere.

Wherever you look, there is life.

 

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Interview with Robert Gibbons

 

What is the spirit and motivation behind creating poems?

I was reading one of Gwendolyn Brooks’s poem, Negro Hero, when I contemplated this question. One particular phrase caught my attention: “ a man will guard when he loves.” I cannot say I have always been committed to one particular idea. I was a musician in high school. I thought I would go on to play the saxophone. At an early age my parents exposed me to the piano and violin, so I would have the element of musicality in my head. But to say that I would play a physical instrument I was not invested. I would not spend countless hours. I would not breathe it in the morning and at night. I would not have the idea of a musician as a daily repartee. I would leave my instrument scattered on the floor of my bedroom or leave it at school and pick it up the next day. I would not guard it like I feel about the written word. The musicality groomed me and now more than anything else I want to guard the sounds, the words, and the poems. They come when they need to come. I will it so. I ask the gods, muses, and the ancestors to give me a sign. The spirit and the motivation is based on where I am from and where I am going; not on mere adulation or admiration, but a relevant expression. The voice that rises, comes from a place of destitute. A place that has tried to be silenced, but it cannot. I found a rich legacy in my own backyard, although I did not know it was there. The sugar cane, the muck, and celery field comes to mind. The orange moon in October. It is through trial and tribulation and a lifetime of observation.

What would you most like your audience to know about you as artist and person? I mean of course the people who seek to know more about your art ad about you.

I want them to know finally I am proud of who I am. I had not always been this way. There are systems built to make one feel that they are less. I cannot place the blame game at this point. I could list many instances where I could say this was because I am black, or not tall enough. I could list a myriad of grievances. But at this juncture I find that only I am to blame. I know what I must do and that is to write. I must seek voice. I must continue to create. I want my audience to know that I am human. I understand the world’s need for expression. That I have in fact been handed a gift that I will never take for granted. I want my audience to know there is room for all of us to express ourselves for liberation. I am in search of balance. I think of Plato’s cave. I want the ultimate light.

Could you say something about the first piece you have contributed to 53 fragments? Its genesis, development and what it means for you personally?

I was invited to Peruvian Film Festival with a friend here in New York City. This festival brought some of the best filmmakers from South America. One of the films I viewed was called Mother Ocean, the title of the poem. The reason I titled the poem, Mother Ocean, is because of the symbolism of the ocean. The one body that connects the entire world. More than that we all benefit from her bounty. We use and abuse the gifts we are given. Some might view this as fanatical, but I was possessed by the images I witnessed. I did grow up in South Florida, so I am connected to the spiritual effects of water. I remember as a child people in my community would go to Lake Okeechobee for water baptism. It was an entire ceremony. People would dress in white. They would sing deliverance songs. They would watch as others would immerse themselves in the lake. A place where many cultures considered it sacred. We considered it a scared ceremony. We should view it as sacred. It started as my relationship to water and the holiness of the ocean. Most of us in my community could swim. The act of navigation and wading through the treacherous, choppiness of the waves. The ideal that I am a part of something bigger. It was a captivating moment to create this poem.

What are your impressions of the current project (53 Fragments)? What made you agree to take part in it?

I studied the other writers of 53 fragments and I was impressed with their work. The ideal to combine the visual, musical, and written really is attractive to me. The larger ideal of collaboration with other like minds from around the world is also inviting. I grew up in a small, close-knit community. It was very insular and many did not invite change. I found from years of travel and witness, change is a good thing. I do not want to have just one interpretation, but I want to hear from the sea of voices. It is so important that this is my life’s work to be a part of a global community of writers. I appreciate every moment and every blessing that comes my way.

 

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Interview with John Guzlowski

 

What is the spirit and motivation behind you creating poems?

Most of my poems are about my parents and their experiences as forced laborers in Nazi Germany and their experiences after the war. My dad was taken there in 1940 and spent almost 5 years in Buchenwald. My mom was captured in 1942 in a round up in her village after seeing her mom and her sister and her sister’s baby killed by the German soldiers and Ukrainian militia. After the war, we spent 6 years in Displaced Persons camps in Germany.

I’ve been writing about my parents now for about 35 years. Part of my inspiration comes from a sense of guilt. When I was a kid growing up in America, I hated to hear my parents tell their stories. It made them sound foreign, weird, weak, unlike the Americans around us. I think that my writing is in part a penance.

The other motivation I think is a sense that my parents’ story, and the story of the other people who were dragged to Germany, made to labor under terrible conditions, sometimes brutalized and starved and worked to exhaustion and beyond, needs to be told.

I remember one time I told my mom I was going to do a public reading of poems about her and my dad and their experiences in the war. My mom replied, “Tell them we weren’t the only ones.”

I guess that’s what I’m trying to do – to tell people that my parents weren’t the only ones who suffered as slave laborers.
Writing about my parents, I sometimes feel that I’m writing for all those forgotten, voiceless slave laborers, refugees, and survivors that the last century produced.

What would you most like your audience to know about you as artist and person? I mean of course the people who seek to know more about your art and about you.

I give a lot of poetry readings where I read poems about my parents.

The question people always ask me is do I ever write about myself. The answer is yes, but it’s not work that I tend to share with others. I finally don’t think my story is as important as my parents’ story.

Could you say something about the first piece you have contributed to 53 Fragments? Its genesis, development and what it means for you personally?

“The Day I Was Born” was the first piece I wrote for the 53 Fragments project.

It was largely inspired by Dean Pasch’s asking me to write a poem about birth/creation. I’d been thinking recently about the six years my parents spent in refugee camps after WWII. I was born in one of those camps in 1948.

There wasn’t much I remember of the camps, what they were like, what the lives of the hundreds of thousands of people in the camps were like. I’ve done reading about what life in the camps was like, of course, but that never crystallized into any kind of poem, any kind of writing.

And then I got the note from Dean asking for a poem on birth/creation. That email was a thunder clap. As soon as I read it, I started writing the poem.
What does the poem mean to me?

Both my parents are now gone. I’m 66 years old, and for years I’ve thought that my writing about my parents was done, that they would never tell me any more stories about what it was like for them in the war and afterward in the camps.

Suddenly, Dean asks me for a poem, and a poem comes out that feels like a story my mother told me.

He gave me a tremendous gift.

What are your impressions of the current project (53 Fragments)? What made you agree to take part in it?

I love the idea of working with and in response to images/paintings. The first writing I was interested in was the writing I found in comic books and comic strips (what are now sometimes called graphic novels). I couldn’t believe how much words and drawings together could touch me, inspire me. From the time I was 5 years old until I went to college, my favorite writing was in the comic book format.

In fact, the first actual writing I did was for comic strips and illustrated science-fiction stories.

For me, working with an artist like Dean Pasch who would join my words to his images has been a life-long dream.

Another gift.

 

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Interview with Kevin M. Hibshman

 

What is the spirit and motivation behind you creating poems?

I have an inherent, unshakable desire to communicate. Poetry became the mode of expression I found would work best for me to share myself with my fellow beings. It is a great source of pleasure watching a piece of writing take shape I also enjoy following where the poem leads and welcome the surprises as it informs me as to what it might wish to convey.

What would you most like your audience to know about you as artist and person? I mean of course the people who seek to know more about your art and about you.

I am a believer. I like believing in things: As we continue to evolve, I want to believe in our growth as I believe in our unlimited potential.

Could you say something about the first piece you have contributed to 53 Fragments? Its genesis, development and what it means for you personally?

I wrote my first piece for this wonderful project on the spot specifically for the theme provided. It speaks for my current belief system and I’m fascinated by this particular creation myth.

What are your impressions of the current project (53 Fragments)? What made you agree to take part in it?

I loved the idea of this project ever since I was asked to participate. It’s a real privilege to contribute with all the other artists, I love the idea of artists of all kinds working together. It allows all of us to learn and grow and share inspiration. So far, the work is just
beautiful.

 

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Interview with Petra Whiteley

 

What is the spirit and motivation behind you creating poems?

There’s just a need to write. Poem is a feeling that comes over me, sometimes it announces itself with an image and sometimes it’s just that feeling that I need to write, it’s like a small storm brewing.

What would you most like your audience to know about you as artist and person? I mean of course the people who seek to know more about your art and about you.

I’m more outgoing in writing than in person. Generally, I don’t really like to talk about myself in either way. That’s probably why in my poems it’s mostly the world of the self, the only place where the self can talk about itself, sometimes it also wears other selves though, saying that I don’t want to give the impression I write confessional poetry because I don’t.

Could you say something about the first piece you have contributed to 53 Fragments? Its genesis, development and what it means for you personally?

As the subject was birth I got to think about the fact that in that stage of life everything must seem as it would now if you’ve entered an alien planet, and sensing it through the physical impressions, through physical reality. Also I wanted to convey that at that stage we have a very short memory with the structure of the poem and that as soon as one physical impress happens it’s no longer there and new ones appear, there’s no continuity, that enters only later on.

What are your impressions of the current project (53 Fragments)? 

It’s very interesting to see what a collective can forge together. I like the multi-media approach and the interactions, the creative buzz of it.

What made you agree to take part in it?

Except for it sounding exciting and challenging, as I’ve not sought any exposure for my work over last few years, I also have great respect for Dean Pasch, his work, and as he has supported mine for a long time it was also time to give something back.

 

 

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Interview with Jane Blue

 

Now we’re into Fragment 7 – Jane’s first contribution is a poem about birth and she kindly sent me yesterday her responses to the interview questions. She said she wasn’t a friend of the interview so I am especially grateful to her for taking part in the interview thing.

So here we have it – Jane Blue and her responses:

What is the spirit and motivation behind you creating poems?

The motivation is that I just want to make poems. The spirit may be sort of spiritual, that it is the only way I can express certain feelings.

What would you most like your audience to know about you as artist and person? I mean of course the people who seek to know more about your art and about you.

I have written poetry since I was a child. I was an introverted and somewhat lonely child. There were many things we didn’t talk about in my household, particularly how we felt, or anything to do with my father. (And yet I think it was he who left behind the poetry books I read.) I grew up with a strict Catholic grandmother and a rather anti-Catholic mother. Lots of tension. My refuge was my room and my little desk, or a huge elm in a nearby park. My first poem just came out of me when I was eight, which seems to be a common age, when something (moonlight) just struck me as magical. I think poetry is magical.

Could you say something about the first piece you have contributed to 53 Fragments? Its genesis, development and what it means for you personally?

It is a very personal piece, but that was what “Birth” made me think of. My own sort of unique birth, having never been alone in the womb. I have been reading different poets in the morning recently, and feel a great affinity for Stanley Plumly. I don’t think this is exactly like Stanley Plumly, but something about his lyrical approach to nature plus the personal started this for me.

What are your impressions of the current project (53 Fragments)? What made you agree to take part in it?

I agreed to take part in it because I greatly admire you and your work, Dean, especially some of the films you have made with your photographs and your voice and music as well.  I am not good at collaboration, but in this someone else would respond, or you would choose art and music to go with it, and I was curious to see what that would be. I was very pleased with the results. And I have liked all the others that I have read, seen and listened to. What an undertaking! Thank you for including me.

 

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Interview with Sandra Hollstein

 

Fragment 4 has joined the first 3 and I also have the third response to my set of interview questions. This time it is from Sandra Hollstein – contributing music to the project. Having met Sandra at a cultural evening where some of my film work was screened (and she was performing with other musicians) I knew it would be great to stay in contact and hopefully collaborate. A while back she developed one of my poems into a song and when I approached her to contribute to 53 Fragments I was lucky enough to get a yes. And here she is talking about her work and 53 Fragments:

What is the spirit and motivation behind you making music?

I make music, because it makes me happy, over and over again; I like the sound of my instruments, I like single notes, I like how they blend into a harmony and change identity a bit according to there surroundings and I like to play together with others, be together in a special way, listen to each other and create something together, a space, an emotion, a piece of music and be surprised by what happens… I also like the interaction with the audience, sometimes there are magical moments, created by the attentiveness of the listeners

What would you most like your audience to know about you as artist and person? I mean of course the people who seek to know more about your art and about you.

Well, basically, that I really like what I’m doing, I’m not the best musician technically, but I love doing music and I try to be honest about what I play and sing and to love every single note; I´ve done a lot of different things in my life so far and also moved around a lot, but now I feel I have arrived in a way. It´s not always easy, I have a lot of downs as well, there´s insecurity and sometimes a lack of grounding, but this is what I want to do. I´m glad and grateful to play in different groups, meet interesting people, and also to get around.

Could you say something about the first piece you have contributed to 53 Fragments? Its genesis, development and what it means for you personally?

It was a difficult topic at first, it took me some time to get started, then I started to improvise with the idea of starting with a single note, out of which others are born, and keeping a general idea through the piece, like a core identity with little developments happening around this identity. I then recorded one track and then again improvised on top of that with a different sound on the piano. The piece sounds quite different from what i normally compose and i like that.

What are your impressions of the current project (53 Fragments)? What made you agree to take part in it?

I like the idea of working together with other artists of different directions, I’ve already worked with Dean and really admire his work; it´s very inspiring to get to know people´s different ideas and approaches and I think, I’ll get a lot of input from it and it might help me grow as an artist. and I like the length of time it will have, the development and challenges.

 

 

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Interview with Sharmagne Leland-St. John

 

53 Fragments is now in motion – so to speak. The first 2 fragments are out there and I’m pleased with how the presentation looks and feels.

I struggle with the technicalities – there are background issues that are still taxing me – but I take the whole as an organic unfolding and will wrestle technicality stuff in the spirit of ‘it goes with the territory’ – striving to have each fragment’s display pleasing to the senses and spirit. The main thing is that I have been lucky enough to have a group of poets, artists and musicians  commit to 53 Fragments.

I wanted to include this Blog to include a running commentary of developments and facets that would not fit into the presentation of fragments. A ‘holding home’ for reflections upon the main frame – the main frame being the poems, the pictures and music.

I thought it would be a good thing to include something about the individual contributors and to that end the idea of sending out interview questions occurred to me. And I did so and will do so.

In the case of Sharmagne (writer of the poem ‘Gemini’) I received a set of responses I would like to share

without further ado:

What is the spirit and motivation behind you creating poems?

I can’t not write poetry. Everything I do has an unwritten poem at its core. All day long I seem to be composing. Sometimes I stop and write the ideas out, oft times I just let them go.

What would you most like your audience to know about you as artist and person? I mean of course the people who seek to know more about your art and about you.

I am autodidactic. My poems for the most part are autobiographical. I didn’t study poetry or literature in school. I am a natural poet. I’d be terrified to take a college course in poetry because I’d be afraid it would change my voice.

In the 70s when I was writing song lyrics, I used to write what I’d call emotional band-aids. I still write from the heart, but my poetry reflects loss in a different way now.

Could you say something about the first piece you have contributed to 53 Fragments? Its genesis, development and what it means for you personally?

I was on an airplane final destination Austria. For some reason I find myself writing poetry on planes and trains and in automobiles. Maybe it’s the hum of the motor. I was looking out the window into the dark void and just began to write. I actually had not written much poetry of late as I’ve been polishing a novella.

My first drafts are usually my final drafts with an adjective thrown in here or there. There is a second part to this poem Gemini II which tells my father’s role in my creation.

This poem might be a follow up to a poem I wrote many years ago which says:
I’ve heard my mother say/
“one cannot live in the same castle all of one’s life. /One must see the world to choose the life that she will lead”/ it’s not my life that worries me/ it is my destiny/ and what a sad song/she always sang to me/ tender and somewhat out of key…/

They say our talents are a gift from Great Spirit what we do with them is our gift back to him. This poem is a gift to my late mother.

What are your impressions of the current project (53 Fragments)? What made you agree to take part in it?

I was intrigued by the idea of the project. I have great faith in Dean as an artist and wanted to be a part of something new and foreign to me.

 

End of interview – back to me:

 

I am glad I have embarked on this project. I’m curious about myself, I’m curious about other people. I am curious about being alive and what preceded life and what might or might not follow being alive. They say curiosity killed the cat and that saying is one worth reflecting on.

Onward.

 

 

 

22 thoughts on “Blog

  1. Fragment (noun ) – a part broken off or detached / an isolated, unfinished or incomplete part

    The preparation for 53 Fragments is well underway. Many excellent poems have been received and pictures too.

    Seeing what have arrived as independent stand-alone entities – and how some speak to one another in ways that encourage me to pair them
    is lovely.

    I did have certain subtle hopes for this development and so much of my hope has been exceeded. How poets and visual artists have risen to the task in hand – exploring ‘creation / birth’ as a starting-off point is a privilege to behold. With a few weeks to go before launching the project with the first instalment / fragment – I feel optimistic the start will be a good one. I have also had to acquaint myself with technical issues regarding the platform and this also feeds into the notion of creation / birth.

    “Our duty, as men and women, is to proceed as if limits to our ability did not exist. We are collaborators in creation.”

    Teilhard de Chardin

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  2. For as long as I remember I’ve been drawn to things like parts and categories.

    The earliest recollection dates back to me being around 8 and getting a boxed children’s encyclopedia.

    I don’t remember how it was structured – alphabetically or using some methodology such as art, science, geography etc. I do emotionally recall there was a system at play and that this felt acceptable and right.

    Over 40 years later I am aware that such systems and structuring of information is often arbitrary and sometimes / often even agenda-filled – period of time’s use of structure to feed in this or that view / ideology – which is what we become aware of when certain words / phrases become ‘outlawed’ – and this is not only about political correctness but also simply about the foibles of taste and fashion in terms of ‘in’ and ‘out’.

    Part of me has always instinctively rebelled against categorization, against drawers (and being put into them). Yet another part of me has embraced this – manifesting itself in stuff like titles (for pictures and poems), in making lists, in collecting .

    My interplay with a belief that time does not exist and a grudging recognition of its presence is still underway. In my 20s fragments were very important to me and this, in a sense, was a reflection of a problematic relationship with order / structure, chronology / the linear – even an intuitive distrust of anything that sought to bring neatness and order to chaos.

    Now I embark on a project that seeks to categorize phases of life. A project that breaks itself into parts / sections. A project that Insinuates a presence on a spinning piece of matter in a universe that mocks both science and religion can be given structure in the sense of beginnings and ends – lacks a phrase to mirror ‘re-birth’. Perhaps I should have included ‘pre-birth’ but I forgot to and it doesn’t feel the same anyway. However – it belongs to creation in the sense of presence is as much defined by absence – now is defined by not now … and fragments – defined by a puzzle completed.

    Someone I once knew and who termed himself a ‘materialist’ took understandable exception to the terminology of Parts in this project. They could not understand how I / the project could present itself so. I actually feel they have a valid point and it made me re-reflect on this.

    I am in the process of this and perhaps – in truth – that is also what this project is about as well. To reflect on fragments and what this means for us.

    “This whole creation is essentially subjective, and the dream is the theater where the dreamer is at once: scene, actor, prompter, stage manager, author, audience, and critic.”

    Carl Gustav Jung

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  3. Breindel Lieba Kasher

    YOUR SONG

    This life goes
    It goes

    I was young
    Now I am old

    You pass on your art
    Your heart

    You pass on remedies
    Folk law, opinions, prejudice

    Old woman
    What do you keep?

    Your core
    Like the veins in your arm

    Your song
    Like the lines on your palm

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I now have a ‘launch’ date set – September 9 (which is a full moon – a harvest moon I believe).

    This feels right and almost all the content for Part 1 is in place. There are a couple of poems outstanding and some pictures.

    Part 1 (creation / birth) will be 17 to 18 ‘fragments’ / instalments. Taking us into 2015.

    Much of my original thought on what the content for this first part would ideally be is in some way included in the poems and pictures as a whole. From the individual / specific reflection on birth (including degrees of the autobiographical) to expressions exploring creation myth.

    Without a doubt ‘we’ are ‘here’ – the questions that join this are what are ‘we’ and what is ‘here’. And as I read the poems poets have contributed and look at the pictures artists have contributed I get a feeling of loving the questions raised and entering them without a feeling that any absence of conclusion is harmful or disturbing. We are born – no matter how we leave the womb – and we do die – no matter how we define death. Though defining both birth and death, creation or even its irrelevance is, for me, part of both the celebration of life and approaching its mystery.

    We are the product of 4.5 billion years of fortuitous, slow biological evolution. There is no reason to think that the evolutionary process has stopped. Man is a transitional animal. He is not the climax of creation.

    Dr. Carl Sagan

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  5. Interview with Debra (AKA ‘Ophelia’ – musician)
     

    What is the spirit and motivation behind you making music?

    All music to me is religious and life is spiritual.

     

    What would you most like your audience to know about you as artist and person?
    I mean of course the people who seek to know more about your art and about you.

    I try to express the things that I think represent my ideal self and the ideal self I thought I would be when I was younger. Anything that stirs memories and creates new ones. Newness is something I strive for.

     

    Could you say something about the first piece you have contributed to 53 Fragments?
    Its genesis, development and what it means for you personally?

    ‘Release’ is a ambient movement with a non-static tone, sweeping behind broken angels. The strange place between birth and death where everything is the same. I wanted to create a counterpoint that was chaotically soothing.

     

    What are your impressions of the current project (53 Fragments)?
    What made you agree to take part in it?

    I think it’s brilliant and loving, and I do whatever Dean tells me to do.

     

    Liked by 1 person

  6. In some ways I have grown more and more comfortable, knowing less and less, and it’s not that I don’t read and find out more and more – but the overall sense of everything seems to be outstripping my means of measuring and assigning it all to its particular space.

    I suspect that one of the many reasons behind people embracing religion, is a profound (maybe even primal) need to have a feeling that there is a sense to it all, that there is clearly a ‘hand of a creator’ and that we are that hand’s handiwork.

    Wrapped around all religions is a framework of how we might best conduct ourselves in our life on earth – how we might lead not only the physical existence but also the spiritual. Balancing these two (there’s a duality for our duality-bag) paths, and finding a way of uniting them – isn’t this the goal of all religions? I think I have met more people who cannot say they believe in a ‘God’ as such, but who feel compelled to express a belief in ‘something’, some force, some power, some central, all encompassing organizing principle that means our lives are not simply a question of physical survival – but rather a question of spirituality and the physical.

    Why don’t we have (and probably never will have) one, single religion and faith for all Mankind? Is it The Tower Of Babel metaphor? Or geographic? Or genetic? We know that of all those religions – there are common links and points where there is no contradiction but rather unity. The very history of each religion reveals such a series of transformations and adaptations – the ‘word of God’ does not appear to be ‘written in stone’.

    I don’t have to actually believe in the Adam and Eve story to understand why it exists. Any faith and religion must offer its flock, a Genesis tale. We have a need to ‘know’ how it all started. Why it all began – what went wrong and how we might ‘fix it’. When science finds the ‘missing link’ and agrees upon another anthropological landmark in tracing the origin of our species, when scientists identify the scientific root of our planet and solar system and, when they fathom the deepest, darkest secrets of the Universe, when we see fully cloned human beings, when AI approaches a stage where we question the uniqueness of self-reflecting/talking Man, when we have conquered the stars and polluted the planet beyond repair – God will, I suspect, still be an issue.

    We are born and we start a journey through life. Paths are offered, taken and declined. Choosing the one path because it will provide more comfort and convenience, there will be more pleasure and gratification in the one – and a struggle in the other. But during ‘the struggle’ there can and often is much happiness. More lessons in the hardship and trouble than in the ease and harmony.

    In this journey there are many two-sided sign-posts: Good and bad, right and wrong, left and right, love and hate, there and here, now and tomorrow, now and yesterday, warm and cold, rich and poor, believer and non-believer, wisdom and ignorance, absent and present – vice and versa. Duality presides over many parts of the journey from the womb to the tomb.

    Duality is a condition of being in contrast to a higher level of being. A level of being that has transcended opposites and polarities and even relativity. It is an absolute – but free of dogma and coercion. If one feels that there could be a primordial state that is attainable – a state of being that is a priori and post priori to the one we are currently living in – then that person may choose to head for non-duality. A transcendent state – free of ‘existence’s’ illusions and temptations. I cringe as I try to badly express my idea of what I believe dualism to be. But one can but try.

    I am not beholden to any one faith or creed or philosophy. I take it and I run it through me and, like Thelonius Monk said, “if it feels right I play it”.

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  7. A short exchange (on Facebook) with one of the contributors (Chris Madoch) to 53 Fragments:

    ‘This is a part of the Dean Pasch project which I have admired so much because as if by magic he brought to ripe fruition a COLLABORATION on such a scale that I would have thought it impossible of FB. I tried such a thing many times and every time the project failed. Of course the common factor was always me so I must take a large portion of the blame. BUT congratulations to Dean for proving to be, maybe more patient and certainly far better at logistics and juggling personalities [my word for them is singularities] than me.’ CM (Chris Madoch)

      My response:

    Dear Chris – It’s good to read your positive appraisal of the project 53 Fragments. It’s important for me to say this isn’t a Facebook (based) project – it lives somewhere else (in terms of platform) – I chose wordpress for that task and this was important. Secondly it is a project that has been gestating for some considerable time and the participation in one or two other projects crystalized my wishes and served as fruitful catalysts – to get myself going.

    It is an undertaking that required a belief I could ‘pull it off’ with the support and participation of a collection of poets, visual artists and musicians who I approached and who embraced the concept and committed themselves to it and its 1 year reach. Not everyone answered my approach and not everyone agreed to take part who did answer.

    I am therefore especially grateful to those who did and who have sent me the ingredients for Part 1 well in advance. This has allowed me to have a better opportunity of bringing together the combination of words, picture and music that I feel express themselves individually but especially so as a multi-media experience.

    The expression in terms of theme and content has been (and remains) paramount. I have been amazed and dazzled, moved and rewarded by the superb scope and scale, variety and individuality of the contributions to Part 1 – and equally stimulated by the overlaps, the echoes and how they make me feel there is a rich and powerful closeness within the differences.

    I’m looking forward to presenting your contribution in 2 weeks times (with a picture and piece of music) and applaud it here – thanks for the preview here and for your supportive and encouraging words.

    The project lives and breathes from those who have contributed and continue to contribute – and lives and breathes even more so through the visitors to ‪www.53fragments.com

    Having said this is not a Facebook (based) project – I should still make mention of how many of the contributors to the project have become a part of my creative life as a direct result of Facebook – it’s a place with obvious flaws and warts – but what places don’t have their fair share of them? I am grateful to all the people I have contact with on Facebook who show an interest and share and encourage. It’s a treasure – and as I have always said – it’s free (even if Facebook does profit from our presence and activities here).

    I hope this project will continue to proposer as it unfolds and look forward to the other parts and to the next 10 months of presenting more poetry, pictures and music. Thanks again. Warm wishes – Dean

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  8. Today I took the time to go through the 14 (now 15) presented fragments of 53 Fragments. I started with the most recent and worked my way backwards to the first one (first presented on September 9 this year).

    I looked at the picture first – taking it in as a stand-alone thing and also as a response to the theme of part 1 (Creation / Birth).

    Then I read the poem – as a stand-alone thing and as a part of the broader fabric relating to creation and birth (and the picture).

    Then I listened to the piece of music – sometimes with my eyes closed and sometimes looking at the picture for that fragment.

    When the music finished I returned to the picture and the poem – letting my eyes run across each – with the music still playing in my mind.

    More than an hour later I felt a warmth and satisfaction – happy that I had embarked on the project months ago and grateful to all those artists who have been contributing to 53 Fragments.

    Each and every picture, poem and piece of music had spoken to me – given me something nourishing and stimulating. Each piece, each fragment had caught me in its expressiveness, its relationship with the theme of creation and birth.

    When I conceived the project (towards the the end of last year) I was very much interested in reaching a variety of voices – bringing together a group of artists who would explore the themes with a broad scope, with depth and conviction – escaping monotony and formula. I was hoping for authenticity – and what is authenticity for me?

    It’s when artists reach inside themselves – exploring, going on an adventure, which might involve leaving the comfort zone; it might mean confronting pain, but also celebrating that which makes us feel good too. Authenticity for me means non-posturing, leaving as much of the ego at the ‘door-step’ as possible.

    When I approached the artists (I hoped would agree to contribute to this project), I had in mind all of the above. All of the artists I approached had, for me, a strong and beautiful sense of expression in the works of theirs I had experienced.

    I never saw this expressiveness in terms of good or bad – in a definitive, objective sense – I liked their work and hoped they would feel a connection with the project I presented to them – Enough of a connection to commit. I did feel a quality in their work that was consistent and developed through work, passion and a sense of aesthetics that imbibed the expression with a certain cohesiveness, an organic quality too which I always feel good about when I experience it in art.

    One of the challenges for me was making sure I had as many of the ingredients for part 1’s fragments as possible – so I could make decisions regarding combinations of picture, poem and music. It’s been instinctive, intuitive and subjective – I was looking for overlaps, for organic relationships, for resonance, dissonance here – harmony there, contrast here – congruity there, soothing here – unsettling there. I promised myself that if I felt any doubt about a contribution I would trust my relationship with the artist to communicate with them and discuss this and if necessary make changes. So far this hasn’t been necessary.

    There have been no last minute solutions, no hurried decisions, no combinations that I have not taken with a sufficient degree of reflection. Today’s review left me feeling very comfortable with each and every fragment. It was a pleasure to discover I don’t have a favourite – they are all precious to me and as a whole represent for me a wonderfully rich and multi-faceted expression of creation / birth.

    Originally I had hoped for a couple of fragments that would include music – as the preparations unfolded it became clear I could be more ambitious on that front and in fact every fragment has become a triptych of picture, poem and music / sound.

    I can relate to every single fragment – both individually and collectively.

    Each of us who loves and values art might well bring to the table their own individual scales, judgement, measurements of quality – assigning this piece to the good box, this to the excellent and this to the really not good.

    My own estimation of all the fragments so far is extremely positive. It has amazed me to see how each artist responded to the challenge of contributing – responding either to the theme directly or to another contributing artists contribution.

    My estimation is purely subjective and I resist underpinning it with undue aesthetic, analytical justification / elaboration.

    Going into each poem, each picture, each piece of music I can see, feel and hear the sincerity, the effort, the skill, the compassion, the spirit, the agility, the intelligence and passion that each and every contributor nurtures and cultivates.

    No one participating is doing this for money, no one is doing it for prestige – and I am so grateful for the good fortune to have connected with such a group of artists, musicians and poets – who have been so generous with their art, music and poetry.

    Part 1 is drawing to its final fragment – 3 to go now. Part 2 (Childhood and Youth) looks forward to beginning in mid January.

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  9. Kevin M. Hibshman

     
     
    A poem by Kevin M. Hibshman – his contribution to 53 Fragments (Part 2) childhood & youth
     
     

    For Kyle Still Young

    I see myself, hear myself in you.
    I have worn those starry eyes.
    My first advice; Don’t keep the angel waiting!
    Youth is but one fast and furious season you will endure.
    May you never become a slave to reason.
    Never offend the gods with a garden untended.
    Remember to dig a hole each night for that one star that lands.
     

    Kevin M. Hibshman
     
     

    Liked by 1 person

  10.  
    A poem by Dean Pasch – his contribution to 53 Fragments (Part 2) childhood & youth
     
     
    Clinging To Courage

     
    We live through events, somehow,
    holding on to balance,
    like a brave face clinging to courage
    in the midst of fear.

    His knee was my security.
    Mam was in a locked ward,
    electricity in her head.
    Dad’s knee remained sane.
    When you’re young (say six)
    mental illness is not getting your pocket money.

    “Who’ll give me my pocket money?” I asked.
    He pulled me onto his knee, reassuringly,
    and I knew my Friday night fish and chips
    were safe.

    The ambulance men had come for her.
    Mam insisted on an emerald green dress
    for her departure. Her face was red,
    after scrubbing it free of sin.
    I had been Jesus in the bath
    (until they broke into the room).
    Now I wonder (years later)
    what my six years made of it all.

    Later I enjoyed the security
    of my Dad’s knee.
    My Mam’s departure was emerald green,
    face red raw (from scrubbing away sin),
    and ambulance men in white (I think).

    Mam is dead now, so is Dad;
    And I am Dad,
    providing security, a pair of arms,
    a knee to sit on
    and seeds of memory.

    My children live their own events.
    Hold on to balance,
    crying and laughing because that is life.

    They never knew their Grandma.
    I wonder how much I knew her,
    How far I understood my Dad.

    Like a winter reminding me
    gloves are useful,
    My thoughts shine a light
    into the darkness.
    This both comforts me
    and causes pain.

     
     

    Liked by 1 person

  11.  
     

    A poem by Chris Madoch – his contribution to 53 Fragments (Part 2) – childhood & youth
     
     
     

    AGED EIGHT
     

    The florescence of his ever overbearing
    presence in all ways
    always caught my fledgling magpie eye
    and I would ache to the point of crying just to
    stick a small thumb in the warmth of his plum pie-
    my distant Da-
    a man who did not touch or do emotion.
     

    And by the age of eight
    I found myself inside a prison of his sullen making.
    His tools the enemy of any affection.
    Fear and prudery and sociopathy.
    All weapons of an unseen abandonment
    where discontentment brewed its own shiny shiny.
     

    Intoxicated on the mead of this growing need I
    made myself complicit in my own cottage rape-
    so fucking grateful for it
    kissing the perpetrator on the nape of his brass neck.
     

    First stepping stone across a dry river bed
    to a pathway I had no idea led to a formative hell
    of having no-one to tell
    until much lately aged sixty five.
     

    No eyes then to fill with my face trying to explain
    that childhood had been crushed long before
    [A whole other score for a full orchestra]
    and this was just the underlining of it.
     

    I was eight, just eight years old
    when I submitted with such a sweet complicity
    to the sourness of innocence being stolen,
    swollen with pride
    that I had seduced a grown man to embrace me
    and slip his little-man painfully inside.
     

    It mended nothing but started a vast library.

     
     
     
    Chris Madoch Copyright 2015: All Rights Reserved.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. When I conceived 53 Fragments I knew a couple of things. I wanted it to be expansive in the sense of the contributors included and the subject matter. I knew I wanted a particular scale of time – and first landed on 52 Fragments – which became 53 fragments to differentiate it from other projects and take into account a variance in weeks that constitute a year.

    As far as the evolution in my thinking of the cycles of life aspect – I can’t recall how and where that came from – probably a simple sense of pragmatism – how to divide 53 fragments in a meaningful and accessible way (for both contributor and visitor.

    The first 18 fragments and their assembling was an effort for all involved. Blind faith was part of the guiding principle and effort. No prestige or no payment was a part of the commitment to contribute – some declined and others accepted my invitation and thus we together embarked on the project.

    The first part was the biggest in terms of the sheer number of fragments – 18 in total. I had always included (in my conception) a presence of music / sound – though what came to form the first part exceeded my original plans in that respect. I thought there would be a peppering of music pieces. What became the reality was every fragment of Part 1 included a piece of music and that was very special – because this online platform affords the ambition to encompass multi-media, not only as a recording of one piece of expression but also as a unique expression unto itself – in words, pictures and sound / music. That has been a real thrill for me.

    Part 2 is underway and almost all of the ingredients are here and I am amazed by the difference and range of interpretation and expression.

    Part 1 (creation / birth) was a kaleidoscope of expression that for me lived up to the theme admirably.

    Part 2 (childhood & youth) is continuing this in ways I could not have imagined.
    It has actually been more effort in spite of there being less fragments. But every effort (on my part) is worth it because when I committed personally to this project I knew it came with an organic, unforeseeable flow and range of efforts that would, like nature, include ups and downs and more and less, arrivals and departures and a need for determination and perseverance.

    Part 3 (early adulthood & middle-age) looks like being an even greater challenge and I will muster the energy and resolve to rise to this challenge as best I can and trust in the organic, in the nature of nature and those years of early adulthood and middle-age that inform our lives so deeply and richly – with the warts and smarts, the joys and colours that make the rainbow what it is.

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  13. This is not a showcase for any one thing, layer or dimension. Where so much is elevated and show-cased …
    Often in an attempt to counter-act the imbalances fostered daily by the seduction of well-being

    This is (I hope) a place where
    There is no harmony no well being no homogeneity

    It is a place where is
    is

    A death is a death

    Where life is life
    And death is death

    With all that
    Entails

    There from

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  14. Part 4 in 53 Fragments is complete. I presented the first fragment when? September 2014 – a good 10 months ago.

    In 2 weeks I will present the opening fragment of the final part of the project. Death – rebirth takes us into a space a place I am looking forward to exploring with the support of such a rich collection of contributors.

    I have been so fortunate in the project I decided to undertake in 2014. So many brilliant poets, visual artists and musicians joined me on the journey that 53 Fragments is and has been about.

    When I conceived the project it was very simple – to explore the cycles of being alive as contained within the artificial categories my sense of structure decided upon:

    Creation / birth
    Childhood & youth
    Early adulthood & middle-age
    Old-age
    Death / re-birth

    I reached out to artists I knew physically and virtually. People I felt drawn to. I felt something about their work touched me – drew me in and I felt intrigued by the idea of how they might respond to the challenge of exploring and interpreting the cycles of life (including a before and beyond).

    The big unplanned aspect of this was the music.

    I had hoped that some fragments would include a music / sound facet. But knowing the nature of sound/music creation (and its recording) I kept my ambition in this area down to a few pieces per part. Somehow my hopes were proven to be out of touch with the possibilities – and since 53 Fragments’ inception – every fragment has included a music / sound component. And I am so glad about this.

    Why? Because as wonderful as words are / can be, as much as pictures can be (telling their thousand stories) – sound and music is a profound part of life. Even I daresay, for the hard of hearing and deaf.

    Multi-media. 53 Fragments is about all the senses being engaged.

    It is about reflection, expression, exploration, change, arrivals and departures, people meet and people part, people commit and people retreat and it is all part of a myriad wonder. Before and after existence does its thing.

    I am so grateful to everyone who has contributed to 53 Fragments thus far.

    No one received payment for this. This is not a prestige project catapulting anyone’s work into the world and increasing its sellability.

    It’s a collection of fragments of a collection of artists intrigued and dazzled by being alive and artists who throw themselves into the fray … and artists who embrace mystery … deepening it and celebrating it. And I love this. Deeply.

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  16. Please know that Abby and your family are in my prayers. I pray this is just a teramopry bump in the road and that sweet little Abby will be restored to good health once again. I pray you have the strength to endure this test with Abby. I hold you in my thoughts and prayers.

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