Tuesday, June 10, 2014

harmony in the midst of dissonance

This past Saturday, our Artist in Residence, 18-year-old singer Jens Ibsen, unveiled his first happening for the Museum of Joy. I want to offer him & his singers my deepest thanks for their hard work, their talent, and for making this happening possible.  

The principle behind this piece is simple: we've been given this idea that there are places that art doesn't belong, that certain places are too loud, too ugly, too busy being functional for any kind of frippery like art. The determination to make art, even imperfectly, in a place that seems categorically unsuitable for it is a way to defy the maxim that art belongs only in a special kind of hallowed, consecrated, and basically elitist space.

Classical music, in particular, suffers from this kind of marble hall syndrome; opera and the symphony are the finest of fine arts, the most rarefied and expensive and inaccessible, the one we never seem to see anywhere but a fancy stage in a vast, clean, traditional sort of concert hall. People think it's boring because it is handed down as fancy, and there's so rarely a chance to come across it suddenly and marvelously, to discover it in all its glory.

There are a few exceptions to this, notably in the form of flashmobs in countries where the arts are better funded, like Austria's Carmina Burana - though the amount of confetti makes me feel bad for the janitors - and Spain's Ode to Joy. But the fact remains that most people don't go out of their way to see classical music, and classical music is not well-known for coming to the people. After all, classical music is something refined, something classy, something actively opposed to the noise, dirt, and stress of urban life, right? Doesn't it need to be done somewhere quiet? You're not supposed to do it in a noisy, dirty, ugly, dissonant place like, say, a train station.

To bring something wholly beautiful in a space we consider fundamentally improper for such things seems to me to be a simple way to protest the enforced ugliness of civic space and the accompanying implication that art is for those with the time, money, and leisure to go seek it out where it's supposed to live - in galleries and museums and theaters and other places with ticket prices. (That's why I suggested to Jens that we stage it at Civic Center station, incidentally - it's the station that serves the SF opera house, and I thought the contrast would make something of a point.)

But it's not just speaking up for the importance of accessibility that makes bringing something like this to a train platform a radical act. It's also, well, it's one thing to go into a shiny marble symphony hall built specifically to optimize the sound of a piece of music and hear a piece you knew perfectly well was going to sound amazing, and quite another thing to go into a space you generally loathe, a space that signifies boredom and grunge at best and misery at worst, and find that suddenly something extraordinary is happening there.

Because the train station is, in fact, an incredible venue in which to hear this music. The sounds of the trains arriving and departing turn out to be in strange and beautiful harmony with the voices singing. The echoey concrete box of the station has a kind of resonance all its own. And it's precisely because it's so improbable, so inappropriate, so radically unlike the space we think this music needs to be in order to sound good that it's so moving. It's not beautiful despite the noise and grime; the beauty and serenity of the piece are actively amplified by it.

BART stations really are unusually ugly, even for train stations (this 2013 report on art in the BART system makes that pathetically clear). Their apparent idea of art is something like the giant rope installation at Embarcadero Station - a thing you can stick in the corner and feel good about because Public Art!, then fail to maintain for forty years and take it down against the artist's protests because it got dirty. But they are also hostile spaces when it comes to art in other ways: try dancing on a BART car and you might end up like Nubia Bowe, the 19-year-old who was brutally beaten by police because she was misidentified as someone dancing on a train in Oakland. The fact that she was innocent - and that other passengers were corroborating the fact that it wasn't her - makes it worse, absolutely. But even if she hadn't been innocent, if in fact she had been dancing, she would have been no more deserving of violence or punishment. I've seen the kids dancing on trains in Oakland. Are they loud? Sure. Are they "disruptive"? Sure. Do they ask for money? Yes. They are, however, amazing dancers, and they rarely perform for more than one or two stops. The idea that somebody would want them arrested for it is appalling.

But it doesn't surprise me. Making art without permission is always an act of defiance, because it's a way of saying this is my place. And if you're not the kind of person who is seen as an arbiter of culture - if you're brown or Black, for example, or poor - then your desire to have your voice heard and your self-expression seen is a threat. And as forums for alternative expression shrink away in the white heat of the tech boom, there are fewer and fewer places to make yourself known. Galleries and community arts spaces all over the city are being evicted or priced out; the number of places you can go for art outside a museum is shrinking, not least because artists can no longer afford to live here. Access to a creative life is becoming a luxury in San Francisco, and as far as I'm concerned, that's why it's more important than ever to take art outdoors in protest.

To say that art belongs to everyone - even, or maybe especially, the hallowed fine arts like classical music - is still radical. If you're working two jobs to afford your apartment, you don't have money for a museum ticket or time to make art. If your kids go to an underfunded public school, chances are they don't get art classes. If you're worried about making ends meet, your creative life is going to get deprioritized. And as the economic gap widens, so does access to the time, leisure, and resources to spend on expressing yourself, experiencing beauty or meaning, and discovering what makes being human worthwhile in the first place.

And so bringing art into the places it's not supposed to be is desperately important. It's a way of claiming ownership, of refusing to let the soul wither despite the harshness of conditions. It's a way of saying I matter, and you matter, and we can make this place matter. It's a breaking of rules, both spoken and unspoken, that say you can't do that here. You know, a man came up to me after this performance almost in tears. "What was that?" he asked me. "Where did that come from? What kind of music is that? I've never heard anything like it." And maybe he hadn't. Or maybe it was just that he had never heard it here, in the last place he expected to hear something beautiful.

To experience delight and wonder just where it seems least likely, where it does not seem to belong, where we are farthest from it - that seems to be a fundamental human need. It's how we tell ourselves that things can be better than we had dared to hope for. It's the way we know the universe might have some gifts left to spare for us. Discovering something wonderful where you had not thought or dreamed or expected it could be - that's as good a definition of joy as any I can offer.

with love,

"While the tale of how we suffer, and how we are delighted, and how we may triumph is never new, it always must be heard. There isn't any other tale to tell, it's the only light we've got in all this darkness."

- James Baldwin, "Sonny's Blues"

For more videos of this happening, including one from the 2nd performance at Embarcadero Station, visit the Museum's Vimeo page!

Monday, May 26, 2014

The Library of Joy: Reflections

Today is the last day to send in your memories to the Memorial Lanterns project! Which reminds me, I sort of, um, forgot to ever mention what happened with LAST month's happening.

Which is a shame, because the Library of Joy happening was marked by a particular fortuitousness, and I'm so happy with how it turned out. Thanks again, and a million, to the Awesome Foundation for the funding that made it possible! Getting the grant from them last fall was just the first lovely thing: when the time to actually produce the work rolled around, it turned out that the day I had picked for optimal distribution of shiny eggs containing tiny books throughout San Francisco's public libraries was also the last day of National Library Week. So in addition to being seasonally appropriate (it being the weekend of both Passover and Easter, two holidays in which eggs figure rather prominently), the project - apparently of its own volition - became a special sort of love poem for the library system.

The Richmond branch of the SFPL put this up on
their Facebook when they discovered the eggs.
I didn't mean for this happen, but I love that it did. I mean, libraries are a kind of museum of joy in and of themselves. They're highly publicly accessible, often beautiful, and filled with the compiled memories, dreams, imaginings, and experiences of humanity. And they're that rare thing, a place where you can walk in and get whatever fragment of beauty or meaning you want -- for FREE. I spent a lot of time in libraries as a kid. They're shelters for anyone who needs time to be in a world of their own -- as many kids (and adults) do. So I'm really glad it happened this way, and it made the creation of the books an extra joy (as if I needed more reasons).

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Memorial Lanterns: invitation to participate

UPDATE: Deadline to send in your memories EXTENDED through Sunday, May 25th!

On the last day of May, paper lanterns will be appearing in trees in Golden Gate Park, one of the most beautiful public spaces in San Francisco. These lanterns are a little bit special: they'll be made from memories. Every glowing light among the leaves will be the story of a moment of joy someone shared with a loved one who has since passed on.

I would like to invite you to add your words to our illuminated forest. If you have a memory of a moment you shared with a loved one that still lights you up inside, I would love to make it literally luminous by turning it into a lantern.

The How: Sending in your memory for lantern-ing is simple. You can write about a single memory of a moment of joy with someone you've lost, or multiple moments, or go wild with the concept and write whatever the heck feels like it matters. Use a quote from someone else if it fits your feelings better. It can be a friend, family, a partner, anyone who mattered to you, a recent loss or one from long ago. All that matters for this project is that you shared a moment with them that still glows inside you somewhere.

Send your words via email to memorial@themuseumofjoy.org. That's it! You can also send a picture (jpeg files only, please) and and a name and dates too if that feels important to you.

(If you'd like a visual on what the lanterns will look like, they'll be something like this.)

The When & Where:
Send in your words by May 20th, 2014. The lanterns will be hung the evening of May 31st, 2014 in a spot in Golden Gate Park to be disclosed closer to the actual date. Everyone who sends a memory will receive an email with the exact location.

We will be attempting to take photos worthy of your memories to create a virtual version of the illuminated grove of lanterns as well for anyone who can't actually be there in person.

The Who:
Memorial Lanterns is the May event for The Museum of Joy, a San Francisco-based arts organization that creates monthly art "happenings" to foster and celebrate joyous experience in public space.

The Why:
Because the moments of joy we share give us something to hang on to when we're in pain. Because our cities can always use a few more reminders of what makes us human. Because the people we love illuminate the dark times in our lives. Because we all need lights in the dark sometimes.

Please feel free to get in touch with any questions, and share the info with anyone you feel might like to participate. All are welcome. The more lanterns, the better.

with thanks & love,

Monday, March 31, 2014

April Happening: The Library of Joy

This post originally appeared on the March 21st edition of the Insatiable Booksluts blog

I’d like you to do something for me. Just real quick, I mean honestly-five-seconds fast. Open up a google image search in a new tab and type in miniature books. Glance at the results. Just a brief little browse. Then come back here. I’ll wait.

Okay, you’re back. Is your pulse raised? Is your heart full of longing? Do you feel covetous and greedy as a child with someone else’s shiny toys? I hope you do. Because if there’s one experience that seems to be common among readers, no matter how diverse their desires otherwise, it’s the throb of delight brought on by tiny books.

TINY BOOKS! Why are they so magical, exactly? My theory is that something happens when you take an object that is powerful in its own right and you shrink it down: somehow the amount of power in it doesn’t shrink with it, and so the tiny version is not only just as potent but somehow more so, because there’s this itty bitty thing containing all the vitality and energy of something much larger. That’s a kind of magic. Think of amulets in the shape of animals or human hands or hearts or eyes, like Zuni fetishes and milagros, versus a dollhouse miniature of a table and chair: the furniture might be cute, but tables and chairs don’t mean anything by themselves, so the small version isn’t something you’d carry around with you as a good luck charm or a talisman against evil. But a tiny silver heart, or a minute stone animal, has a special aura to it that comes from the liveliness of the thing it represents – both physically and spiritually, or at least metaphysically – being packed into something you can fit in a walnut shell.)*

Okay, sure, maybe, but whatever. TINY BOOKS ARE AWESOME, AMIRITE? Right. Okay, now do me another favor. Imagine you’re in your favorite bookstore. Or you’re at the library checking out a reference volume. Or you’re a kid at the laundromat picking through the faded, dog-eared romance novels on the one bedraggled take-a-book-leave-a-book shelf. You’re just browsing. Nothing’s leaping out.

And then you spot it. Tucked away on the shelf is an Easter egg. A bright, shiny, brand-new Easter egg.

An egg like this one!
By Brianjester (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 ],
via Wikimedia Commons
You pick it up, of course. There’s definitely something in it. You open it up – and there’s a tiny book inside. The book, a little slip of paper informs you, is a volume in a series calledThe Library of Joy, and it’s the tale of someone’s singular, wild, honest, heartfelt, joyous experience. And it belongs, you lucky finder you, to you.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

March Happening: Mystery Dances

At 7:45 pm on March 28th, 29th, and 30th, something unexpected is going to happen in a neighborhood of San Francisco known and beloved for its many kinds of performance. Here's a little clue:

If you don't know where I'm standing, that's okay. This isn't the kind of performance you buy tickets to. It's something you stumble across, something you catch out of the the corner of your eye as you're leaving a theater or exiting a train...the kind of improbable event we all dream of seeing in a city and sometimes, if we're lucky, manage to glimpse. Cities are such strange and wonderful and brutal places, full of magic and suffering, and all my life I've loved the sense one gets (especially at night) that anything at all could happen; there's a door into a junkshop with an alchemist's kitchen in the back, a stairway up to a secret garden, a window from which spills the music of some forbidden, haunting instrument. In a city, if you look just right, you may see dancers, acrobats, or angels. This is why living in a city is worth the money and the dirt and the disenchantment: because sometimes, every so often, something senselessly beautiful actually happens.

The Museum of Joy, unsurprisingly, wants to get in on this. This is what the happenings we do are all about: the joy of an unexpected gift that you didn't do anything special to deserve but get to have anyway because sometimes life is like that. That's what Poemflowers was for; that's what our April event, the Library of Joy, is all about. And our March event, the Mystery Dance, is all about it too. Following in the tradition of West Side Story, in which the street itself becomes a glorious stage, our choreographer has created...well, I don't want to tell you too much, but it involves some rad hats. Keep your eyes open - maybe we'll see you there...

Monday, March 10, 2014

May Happening: Memorial

If there's anything the Museum loves, it's fortuitousness. That's why I was so delighted when the very fabulous Hunter Franks, founder of the Neighborhood Postcard Project, finagled me an introduction to the founder of the Hope Chronicles, an extremely cool project that asks the simple question "What do you hope for?" as a opening for compassion through conversation.

If you know me at all, you know that I struggle sometimes with words like "hope" and "compassion" and yes, "joy" too, and that one of my great fears in life is winding up misquoted on someone's inspirational Facebook page in Papyrus font (or worse, Comic Sans... *shudder*) on a picture of a flower or a girl jumping on a beach. You know, the kind of thing that shows up on Inspirational Quote Bingo cards. When I talk about the Museum, one of the first things I try to express is that what I mean by "joy" isn't double-plus happiness, it's the feeling of being broken open by something inexplicably wild and vast and painfully lovely. Joy is a transcendent feeling precisely because you can't fit it inside yourself, because it's too big for you and it spills over the edges, and that's where you get that sense of being part of something bigger - because it kinda breaks you, you crack open with the size of it (and yeah, that's how the light gets in, etc.) It's not necessarily a happy feeling, and it's not always a pretty or even a pleasant feeling; joy, as I define joy anyway, is bigger than that, dammit, it's overwhelming and a little frightening and glorious and revelatory and those things depend on a certain degree of unmanageability.

The Chapel of the Chimes is, as usual, my first thought on contemplating
the connection between loveliness and pain: it's one of the most beautiful
places in this country, and it's a columbarium, a storehouse for the ashes
of the dead. Picture by me. 
So it was really exciting to hear Sam Lundquist, the founder of the Hope Chronicles, use the word raw to talk about his conversations about hope. I like the word raw. I like it because words like raw point to exactly that unprettiness, that larger-and-more-deep-down-true feeling that hasn't had its edges polished off and its meaning wrapped up in a tidy package with a picture of a dandelion or perfectly tanned model jumping in a field with a big smile on it. I like the word raw because it's how every experience that really, really actually in-my-bones mattered to me actually felt. Bigger and wilder and stranger and scarier and more beautiful and usually painful, that particular piercing, almost bittersweet sensation we get when our hearts feel too big for our bodies. That hurts, yo.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Love Poems For Strangers

Listen: Poemflowers was the single best thing I've ever spent a Valentine's Day doing. Man oh MAN it was joyous. People just light up when you give them gifts for no reason. "For ME?" they kept saying. "For ME?" Yeah, for you. Why? Because you deserve it, dammit.

I ran into one of my very favorite poets while I was in the
Bart station giving out flowers, purely by magical chance.
He took this photo, which I promptly stole from his Insta-
gram. Sorry, Toaster. 

People like to feel like the universe is handing them wonderful things through chance and synchronicity. I had one kid tell me that he'd been having a horrible morning and he'd missed three buses and now he knew why - because otherwise he would never have gotten a flower. Another man told me he was going to give the flower to a woman who meant the world to him and then said - looking a little tearful - that the world has a way of bringing you things just when you most need them and think they're least likely to appear. The lesson in all this: next year I'm doing it again, only I'm making a thousand flowers instead of a hundred.

And now I'd like to give credit to the amazing poets who contributed their poems to this project, without whom this would never have been possible. And not just credit - they wrote these poems for you, after all. If you didn't get a flower yesterday, well, these poems are for you every day, in the same way that love is not one day in February but a whole bloody lifetime. A couple of poets submitted several poems, and I had to choose a few from each just to keep down the printing costs this time around, but I made sure that everyone who submitted a poem had at least one piece made into a flower. Here are all the poems that were given out yesterday, love poems for you, o stranger.

To love with the intensity of air congealed
And struck by the sudden silence of birds
May not be wise, but how can it be helped
By such a fool as falls at the speed of water?
The monsoon in my breast beats for you.
Please know that you are adored, dear stranger,
As infinitely as rain is absorbed by the sky.

Evvie Marin

Dear Sir or Madam,
We haven't met and yet
How it makes my eyes crinkle to think
Of a park bench bathed in setting light,
Where we sit for a spell and tell our cares and qualms,
While tracing the living maps of each others' palms.

The pleasure that might bring us wayward two
Echoes effortless and onward through
The cores of several hundred-thousand someones,
Waiting achey-patient yet to meet you.

Evvie Marin

A Crossed Room

I first felt your arrival
because the room changed
temperature, the air changed
consistency: everything
was warm,
everything soft
had a thrill run through it,
hearts woke up.

You were a reflection
in the mirror I was looking
at. We met across the room. Now
you were coming
closer. Any moment,
your hand,
my shoulder,
both will become real.

Ryk McIntyre


Stranger, you may not know it,
but when your hands unfold this poem,
my heart will beat like all the saints
have gone marching in.
Like a 3-year-old with an electronic toy.
Like a labrador’s dream of a rabbit.
With every crease your fingers pull,
you prompt new words from the silent voice,
you lift and release the blue curtains in my throat
that flow like ghost company. Maybe I have not spoken
in years. Keep unrolling this I have written for you.
A tinman’s oil, you open my wires.
This is a serenade for you. I cannot apologize
for the strange looks people will give you
as they hear this paper sing. I have asked God
that, at the end of the day, She check in with me,
grab a beer, and tell me how many people
thanked Her today because they saw your face.

Annie Robertson


At some point, an atom you breathed out today
will enter into my body. Thank you.
I like all that Gandhi, Frida Kahlo,
Keira Knightley, Garcia Lorca up in you.
I like all that you up in you.

Annie Robertson

Love Bug

You with sunshine shoulders,
I like the way you breathe.
Your accent is Jiminy Cricket,
a boy’s best friend, so don’t lose
that voice of yours. I am the kid who needs
his insect. Come ride your words
in the palm of my shaded hand.
I will think there’s a legend
that you’re lucky or something.
I will keep you uncrushed.

Annie Robertson

Catching a Hot

For you, I’m going to go stand in the cold.
Until I get sick.
And then, near enough for you to hear,
I’m going to sneeze.
just to hear you say,
“bless you.”

Annie Robertson

A Fortune

You are a bellini drunk on a Sunday.
You look good in every light.
You are waking up in a yellow room.
You are the belly of Ganesha, touched
for luck, for love. Strangers cross their fingers
when they pass you, hoping to catch
your molecules. Stranger, my fingers
are crossed, hoping you can feel
bellini drunk on this senseless
and lovely Friday. That you are
well, and whole.

Annie Robertson

There's something about the turning light
that brings my heart across oceans.
I am a sunset away from you, hills soaked in light rain.
Our hands have not touched -
I can taste your parched streets
from here.

Today I want my toes to curl up against yours under the sheets, today
I want to ruffle your hair
and smell your neck, today
I want to jaywalk with you.
Breathe in the bay
Breathe out our lives
into each other's palms.

Two ships come in through the Golden Gate.
Their radios are silent
together they circle Alcatraz,
Angel Island,
they dance by the freedom of the Richmond bridge.
But the hills hem them in and
they leave before morning.

Simka Senyak

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Life doesn't suck
And neither do you

Jon Sivel

It is cold here on the east coast
snows like sand in the wind
air that chills through my long black coat
but my heart holds a blooming love
like the first glowing green shoots
of the garlic reaching for the light
that comes with the gentle coaxing of March
this love blooms and grows and warms
I smile with chapped lips

Lydia Sivel-Irons

Friday, February 14, 2014

Poemflowers TODAY!

Valentine's Day, as we have said before, is kind of a stressful holiday for something supposedly dedicated to love. To mitigate a little of the loneliness, the Museum put together Poemflowers, turning love poems written for strangers from people all over the country into paper flowers to be given out on the streets this afternoon.

Some poemflowers in progress...
...and some finished bouquets ready to carry forth for

We're delighted that creative folks in other cities liked the idea enough to get in on a Poemflowers event of their own. The lucky folks of Dallas, TX will be treated to these glorious creations from a Museum co-conspirator...

If you're in San Francisco and you'd like to join us in handing out poemflowers, we'll be meeting up at 5:30 at 16th Street Mission Bart (just past the turnstiles) before setting off with our bouquets. Supplies of flowers are admittedly a little limited, but we'll make sure you get to give out at least a few. We'll be posting poems throughout the day on the Museum Facebook page, so if you're feeling a little bitter in the midst of all the sugary sweetness, swing by the page and read some poems written for you. Yes, you, stranger, who are more loved than you know.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

February Happening: Poemflowers!

Check out this fabulous image of a paper flower workshop from 1765 by
Robert Benard nach G. R. Lucolle. This is totally what the Museum will
look like while we're preparing for Poemflowers: A Happening.
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Here at the Museum we regard Valentine's Day with a great deal of suspicion. Now, we do like love. Love is wonderful. But Valentine's Day is a stressful, demeaning, often dispiriting holiday for many people, and we don't like that at all.

So we're going to hack your heart day. Just a little bit.

Imagine that you, dear reader, are walking down the street and someone hands you a flower. And that flower turns out to be made out of a poem. A love poem. A love poem for you, the unknown passer-by. Because we all fall in love with strangers sometime. Because you deserve a love poem just for being part of the lonely and glorious and painful world we're all falling in and out of love with all the time.

In the days leading up to the 14th, we're asking all the talented people we know to write love poems for strangers. We're going to take those poems and we're going to turn them into paper flowers. And we're going to hand them out by the bucketload to strangers in the street on February 14th.

And we'd love it if you helped. Interested in taking part in Poemflowers: A Happening? Write a love poem to a stranger and email it to us here on or before February 6th and we'll print it out, fold it up, and give it away. We'll also be posting paper-flower-folding tutorials on our Facebook page in coming days, and if you want make your own flowers and get dressed up and give gifts to strangers too, wherever you happen to be, why, we'd be honored to have you join us. (Let us know if you're near our base in San Francisco and we'll make sure you can come along with us!)

We don't hate Valentine's Day. We just hate how many people don't get to celebrate or feel celebrated. So we're coming out to show you some love -- yes you, the stranger, the unknown, the face in the crowd, the person we smile at on the train, the person we're too nervous to smile at on the train. So if someone hands you a flower on the 14th, take it. Keep it. Enjoy it. Because we're a little in love with you.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

extra/ordinary: an online exhibition

Friends and fellow conspirators in the pursuit of wonder, I am really delighted to announce the opening of a new online exhibition here at the Museum of Joy. extra/ordinary is a pairing of works by photographer Laura Mason and poet Thea Henney around the theme of the fragmentary moments when something completely ordinary suddenly seems to be more. Please feel free to peruse it here.

Laura's photography was the original inspiration for the exhibition. She's in the habit of posting shots on her Facebook page that regularly startle and arrest me with their transformative framing of absolutely everyday things: a cement wall, a dead flower, a mason jar, a window, all of them caught in a moment where they seem - because of the light, the mood, a certain color? - to be suddenly alive and vivid in a way I don't expect such mundane objects to be.  Her images echoed those glimpses of the same strange luminousness that I've stumbled upon in my own life, times when things that are not ordinarily beautiful act like windows onto a wilder and deeper world for no apparent reason other than sometimes the universe is like that.

Those transcendent flickers are, for me, a huge part of the experience of joy. I think of joy as something that descends upon me from above, catching me off guard, drenching me like a sudden storm and then moving on, elsewhere, leaving me damp and surprised and still smelling the earth long after the thunder is already booming away into the west. When I asked Laura if she would be interested in putting together a selection of her works for a show on everyday moments of beauty, I was already thinking of Thea's work, because her poetry has always struck me as analogous to Laura's imagemaking in the way it captures an almost accidental glimpse of the everyday as it becomes, momentarily, extraordinary. The photos Laura chose for the exhibition all have the feeling of being captured in mid-step, as if she was on her way to something else when she noticed that the world around her was a little more beautiful than it had any right to be in such a mundane moment. Her images are all of things easily overlooked and quickly lost: a double reflection in a puddle, the shape of a curtain in the breeze. Likewise, in Thea's poems the poet appears suddenly paused by something at the very edges of her vision: she is surprised, almost puzzled, by the specific richness of feeling of the world outside her bed, the prints in the snow, the unraveling universe inside the human heart. Her lines carry the same sense of discovery - not of something large and glorious, but of something small and quiet, an almost private loveliness. What is enticing about these works is how tiny a thing it is that their creators are caught on, and the intricacy and depth of the minute worlds they uncover. There is a sense that they were almost never seen at all, and the very fact that they are here in front of us is due only to marvelous and poignant chance.

It is an honor to invite you to take a walk in the world of these photos and poems.
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