“I sat at the foot of a huge tree, a statue of the night, and tried to make an inventory of all I had seen, heard, smelled, and felt: dizziness, horror, stupor, astonishment, joy, enthusiasm, nausea, inescapable attraction. What had attracted me? It was difficult to say: Humankind cannot bear much reality. Yes, the excess of reality had become an unreality, but that unreality had turned suddenly into a balcony from which I peered into—what? Into that which is beyond and still has no name…”
― Octavio Paz, In Light of India
These last few weeks have been bizarre and dislocating, and also not without unexpected pleasures. In the first few days, I found it nearly impossible to concentrate on anything, least of all ArtYard, or to conceive of a way to operate as a communal art resource without communing. We closed our doors and sent our staff to work from home. It was a primal experience. I could only think of protecting my family, and what I might cook for our next meal.
One thing I slowly realized was how much I needed a period of enforced stillness. Creativity, it turns out, is closely linked to boredom. If you don’t close the door and stare at nothing, you do not create the opening for the next idea.
Slowly, we are figuring out how to be alone together. We have a series of ArtYard engagements planned, the kind of thing we would have done in person at 62A Trenton Avenue, and as these ideas emerged from our halting, awkward, nervous and then increasingly joyful staff zoom calls, I experienced the rush of pleasure that comes from inventing things with people I love and respect. One door closes and another opens. It is the artist’s job to stare into this new darkness and make something of it. Over the next few weeks will unfold a new kind of programming, invite you to participate, to find objects you love and share them, to honor small daily acts of heroism, and tell your stories.