Sunday, May 16, 2010

30 Days of Dinner Time, Day 12

In the window, Mary Ellen and Stephanie. From what I have gathered, these two women are about as close to strangers as two people who have already met can be. Yet again another representative relationship comes out of the schedule, we'll call them acquaintances. Mary Ellen is the owner of Art on Armitage and Stephanie is a fellow Chicago artist whom I met for the first time at the dinner.

They each brought their own food for the piece. This is also a first, though I expected it to happen more frequently. Maybe it's my own history, too often defining dinner as separatist activity intended for physical nourishment and little else, which leaves me surprised at the trend thus far. Or maybe most people function like I do but still operate within nostalgia or hopefulness that 'dinner time' is best experienced in the communal.

At any rate, Mary Ellen brough sushi and other tidbits while Stephanie brought braised pork. They shared red wine between them and talked like old friends by 8pm.

More so than other nights, this dinner made me more aware of the participants (versus the viewers). Foot traffic was light, which always puts more of my attention on the actual activities in the space. For a while I spoke with Mary Ellen's husband who came out to support his wife. Getting to know him while watching his wife left me with a unique sense of stereo. When two people have been together for so long, hearing one of them tell a story is almost the same as hearing the other one tell it. It was like hearing from part of Mary Ellen's life while watching another, at the same time.

Also knowing Stephanie as an artist, I was anticipating feedback from her experience on the inside, a point of view I am not allowing for myself. Her ways of seeing are not necessarily the same as mine, but we share a common professional stage, which I hoped would leave her with language to share that would engage my more subtle hopes for the piece. All in all, my mind sat with them in the gallery while my ears and eyes waited outside. This was new.

On the bus ride home, speaking about the piece with Stephanie, I was refreshed by her perspective and encouraged that my hopes for the gesture are still alive and well. After only twelve days my brain is confusing its intentions. It's not uncommon to totally doubt the piece at 6:30pm while waiting for my bus yet again. But it's healthy to doubt it I think, afterall it's only art. But around 8pm when things start to wrap up, confidence is creeping back in and the doubt turns into a challenge to make it better, because afterall, it's only art.

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