Updated: Oct 4, 2019

Prior to the performance I spent most of the day in solitude, or rather in deep silent conversation with my art practice. I methodically prepared the Coyote pelt, stroking its fur and stitching the strings as I listened over and over to the audio journey I had created for this experience.


I sank into it until nothing else existed. Nothing but me, Coyote, and the sounds of my voice drowning in crickets and waves.

Time expanded and collapsed all at once as it usually does in the midst of the creative process, the experience of ecstatic time. Frankly, I love every instance that reminds us that time is a construct invented by humans. An attempt to garner control over every moment of our being.


Control. This too has become an interesting question I put to my work. In my proposal for this nueBOX residency, I said that I wanted to explore performance without using the camera as a tool for mediation. With my performative video work I get to decide what the viewer experiences, and more importantly, what they don't. I get to edit out anything that doesn't serve my vision for the piece. Live performance forces me to relinquish much of this control, which excites and terrifies me in equal measure.


Control. There are two specific moments in this experiment, where I noticed boundaries and the question of control surfaced.


~ After I had tied myself to the Coyote pelt and began to move, one of the strings tangled unexpectedly. In my attempts to crawl, the tangled string created tension. My movements were restricted- as I pulled against the pelt, it felt as though Coyote was pulling back.


~ As I slowly rounded the circle of fire we had created, I paused in front of every spectator. I became still and spent several moments looking directly at them. My vision was intentionally impaired so even while I knew these people, I could not register details of their face, and suddenly, I no longer recognized them. I saw them instead.


I see you, you see me.



Updated: Aug 29, 2019

I've been thinking a lot about my creative practice. About how often I focus so much on output- on making a tangible thing to present to the world- that I forget about the actual practice part. I was reminded of this last month, on an island, during an experience appropriately called Awakening.

I am remembering that art-making is a process. A process of experimentation, of play, of failure, of self-examination, of contraction and expansion, of perseverance, of acceptance, and eventually of creation. There's a freedom in this memory. This is what I always wanted, what I have been searching for, the reason I claimed myself as artist.


In support of this continuous journey, I've decided to push the boundaries of what I consider my creative practice to be. In collaboration with nueBOX, over the next few months I'll be exploring performance and questioning the role of mediation through the camera in my work. Part of this residency includes shared Works in Progress (WIPs), and my first one is next Friday, almost the last day of August, and a New Moon in Virgo.


New Moons are a time for beginnings, for releasing old energies to make room for the what's being birthed. The truth is I don't know what I'm doing. I am nervous, and full of doubt, but I am embracing this as an opportunity to trust in my process. Through this WIP, I am letting go of expectations, of my need to control every outcome in my art (and in my life). I am calling in the pleasure of presence, and welcoming the unknown.


© 2023 by Ashley Czajkowski

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