Oct 7, 2019
TWO DIARIES: Yes TWO diaries covering conNECKtedTOO.
TWO diaries to expose and nurture a network of TINY businesses, to show the beauty and challenges of the past, today and a future.
Jean-Marie Mauclet and Kit Loney are both visual artists and educators at heart. They know how to listen, look, read, challenge and fabricate.
They are community engaged with their own tools,
the ones they have developed over years of practice and their hopes for a meaningful social change. They act. They search.
The written diary is over 300 pages and needs a lot of editing. It will only be ready next year and will be ready to be downloaded in mid 2020.
As an artist/bookmaker, I will be making a collective journal/diary using drawing, painting, writing, and collage to respond to ten of the Tiny Businesses in this project. I am interested in various possibilities of book structures. Currently I am making house-shaped pages from recycled paper bag bottoms, units that, attached to one another, create an accordion book.
I aim to have this book be one hundred feet long by the Piccolo event. I am using a variety of media on these pages—pencil, color pencil, tempera, latex and acrylic paints, ink, and collage as I delve through the photos, sketches, and notes gathered during visits to and conversations with the businesses I am working with, Fresh Future Farm, Smitty’s Super Seven Barbershop, Poke San, Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum, Rose Florist, Choice’s Gourmet Market & Deli, Lab the Barbershop, Family Barbershop, Singleton’s Paint & Body Shop, and Island Breeze.
Here is the way I see my diary’s function: it collects thoughts and materials as a reservoir would water. It dispenses them as vital substance for future experiments.
Never was this diary for literary purpose or a personal twitch. My diary finds its purpose aligning the conNECKtedTOO programs and activities with vision and mission. Making sure that there is purpose and relevance to what we do. So that no one can ask: “but what does this really do for my people?” Also, writing a diary makes me dig deeper into the implications of our principles and our actions to inspire further projects:
– build a network of meaningful relationships with local TINY BUSINESS entrepreneurs whose schedule is full to the brim
– grow a common language of empathy which connects them with our interracial, inter-generational and grassroots crew of local artists, activists, youth and educators. And how does this local dialect facilitate conversations, artworks, stories and histories, interactive tours, performances, walks, hunts … How in turn, does it coordinate with a larger imaginary on the scale of the world?
… It peaks as a song!
The “Bet on me – I bet on you” jingle says it all: local may be TINY but here to stay. TINY is powerful. TINY BUSINESS is the keeper of our memories, the holder of our future. Respect and support it!
I happened upon the house page structure while idly folding a leftover bottom section of a paper bag I’d cut the top part from. Initially, I used paper clips to hinge these together to make an accordion book. When I showed Gwylene this, she asked if it could be as long as one hundred feet – a City block – and so we got to work. Debra cut and folded many piles of pages. Nyla, Aysha, Shaniqua and Markelle all contributed to the painting of the surfaces, adding their own flair and making the whole more vibrant than what I had initially envisioned.
For my part, I continued working on the pages with various media: collage, paint, and graphite. Referencing the giant conNECKtedTOO map of the 2019, 1998, and 1968 MLK district, I labeled these pages with the names of each business, as well as some others from outside the MLK neighborhood. The intent was to spark recognition and/or memory of these tiny businesses on the part of viewers.
Collaboration extended to the displaying of the work, using JEMAGWGA’s ladders from a previous art installation. The book exists in sections. Anastatia envisioned having participants at the June 6 event hand-hold the multiple sections together in a great circle. In this way, everybody at that event became part of the book, and the stories and memories that were shared became part of it as well.
Oh, and I finally counted them– there were 197 house pages at the June 6 event, in their various forms.