Tuesday, July 2, 2013

DAY #1, 2013: Potential

 How do we engage and invite the Ko Festival audience into this season's theme of COURAGE?
 After consulting with this season's performers, I've broken courage down into actions of: showing up, stepping into the unknown, facing the truth, resilience, and sacrifice. I also have created images around Ernest Hemingway's definition of courage, "Grace under pressure." I want objects in our installatation to somehow soar through the air while at the same time being weighted or grounded...
Discover #1: All nine Ko Fest interns take a rock and create a being to hold their courage. How do these shapes change the landscape and draw us into their stories? 

Discover #2: Maybe audience members will create tin foil people - with a rock some kind of courage that they would like to muster - then intentionally placed within the space. Creating a tableau and accumulating throughout the festival as people participate before and after the indoor performances.

Discovery #3: Connecting points and creating lines between things within our space. Views from below and above. A person hanging on the line and where to attach to...

And final discovery of the day: all points coming together and being held up by weight.

Introducing the team: Aaron, Marnie, Kathleen, & Andrew... along with input in person with Sally Goers Fox from Australia (who you might remember from Skype talk-backs for Overture to a Thursday Morning in 2011)

Let's see how we bring all of these ideas together tomorrow. Thanks for following our process!

~ Installation Facilitator, Kali Quinn 

Remember... the Ko Festival opens this Friday and runs for 5 weekends of great shows!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Ko Fest 2013: COURAGE

Another Ko Festival is upon us... the 22nd in fact! And this year's theme is: COURAGE. Performances will take place this July-August at Amherst College Campus in Amherst, MA exploring this theme. Read more about the season now: http://kofest.com

And... Kali Quinn will create another community art installation this year around the theme of COURAGE and is just getting starting by getting your responses. WE WOULD LOVE YOUR INPUT! Please visit this site to add your two cents to the creation process!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Despite the wind, rain, and beating sun over the past several weeks, the Facing Our Age art installation remains standing tall! Here are two pictures from last weekend:

- Pictures by Colleen McCaughey

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Queer Divine, July 13-15

As the installation continues to grow, people are consistently curious and excited about getting involved. What I love about working on the art installation is the many levels at which people can enjoy it. Some jump in whole-heartedly, reading every cupcake tin, writing their own, and proudly wearing the age they wish to be on their chest for the night. Others love taking ownership of the project with their own answers, but are more reserved about joining the faux birthday party. And then there are those who are happy just to read and observe. Regardless of their level of involvement, everyone seems to really enjoy the exhibit. I had one woman thank me for giving her the “pleasure” of participating.

I’ve also seem some interesting individual takes on the project…I found one of the 40 year old tins in the under ten section. I don’t know if that person was trying to fit in with a younger crowd or just got confused. Another young lady got really enthusiastic about the installation and dragged her date over explaining fervently what was all about. I was happy to let her do the talking since she seemed so excited about it, but then I saw her walking into the theatre with someone else’s metallic cupcake tin clothes-pinned to her chest instead of one of the paper and safety pin ones. It was definitely a highly interactive choice! We eventually corrected her, but I kind of like her interpretation better…

I’ve noticed that just like live performance, the audience is different every night in how they interact with the installation. On the first night, I spent lots of time talking with people about their lives while I wrote their cupcakes for them. This evening, however, most were more inclined to quietly observe and do it themselves. No matter. I think we actually got more responses tonight from private participants. Before long, there won’t be anymore room!

- Jenny Curatola

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


“What are five things that you associate with being the age you are now?” The question is quite open ended. Not surprisingly, the resulting responses—virtual and in person, international and local—varied widely. 

One memorable contribution came from a man from Elmira, NY who associated “zombie blackberry bushes” with being 32 years old. Meanwhile, a 31-year-old woman boiled her current age down to her cat, comfortable shoes, and a good cocktail. 

Though each response is undeniably personal, as we complied (and continue to compile) the contributions, certain patterns peaked our interest. Understandably, 10-20 year-olds quite often emphasized school, many 31-year-old females seemed to have security, home, and babies on the mind, and people in their 70s and 80s often thought of peace or satisfaction. Best of all, as visitors to the installation continue to contribute, we all will observe many more thought-provoking phrases and enlightening, new patterns taking their place on the piece.

So far here are a few of our favorite additions from the first weekend:
“Fabulous but fraught” – Female, 50, Pelham, Ma
“Cultivating spirituality, Buddhism, love and friendship” – Female, 54, Pelham, Ma
“Parent, having fun, orange” – Female, 52, Shutesburry, Ma
“Amazed” – Male, 87, Belchertown, Ma
“I am ‘acting my age’ with joy!” – Female, 60, South Amherst, Ma 

- Cami Devoney

The Creation of Facing Our Age

The Beginnings: 
A sketch of the area in front of the Holden Theater - the location of 
the Facing Our Age art installation.

Day 1 - July 4th

 Testing out possible materials. Kali tests out how birthday cards 
would endure a heavy rain.

Testing out more materials.

Consulting with the friendly folks at Home Depot. 

Loading up the car

Day 2 - July 5th

 Potting the ivy after picking up paint cans from the local landfill

Cutting holes in the remesh for the ivy

Design 1.0: Setting up the installation in a wave

Design 2.0: In a circle. 
Tying hemp around the bamboo sticks to help the lvy climb

Writing out the submissions from the online survey

Our first visitor!

Day 3 - July 6th 

Lighting the birthday candles to melt them a little

Hanging measuring cups filled with clothespins that audience members can 
use to pin up their own answers when they arrive

Our homemade welcome sign

Cami (intern), Nate (intern), Kali (installation artist) and Margo (intern)

Opening night! Our first visitors

After the show

Day 4 - July 7th

 Facing Our Age 2.0: Now with chalk numbers, a DIY table, and laminated instructions

The chalk numbers that indicate where the different ages are (the birthday candles do this as well)

The instructions on the DIY table

The survey question prominently displayed at the entrance of the installation 

Audience members before Connie Congdon's show IS SEX POSSIBLE?

Jenny, one of the KoFest interns, transcribing an audience member's response

An audience member at the DIY table

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Creation of "Facing Our Age"

For “Facing Our Age”, the art really is in the process. This installation on what it’s like to be your age is a correspondence between the artist and the audience. Everyone who comes to see “Facing Our age” can become a part of it by answering the question “What things do you associate with being your age?”

The process of creating “Facing Our Age” began with that initial question, sent out in a survey also asking for the age, gender and location of participants. With the collection of that information began the journey to find a way to present it and invite further participation from a new audience.

The finished structure is a culmination of many shopping trips, brainstorming sessions, and adaptations. Early in the process a grid structure was established as ideal base for presenting the data, and sheets of re-mesh became the foundation. Tied together with bamboo and crawling ivy to represent growth, the re-mesh became a malleable wall.

One of the greatest challenges in the construction of the piece was finding the right object to write each set of information on. Many objects were tested, including birthday cards, tiles, and mirrors, but the winning candidate was the innocuous cupcake foil. Inexpensive, light, reflective and whimsical, the foils became shining tokens presenting each participants experience of their own age.

With the structural aspects of the installation well under way, it was time to clarify the performative and participatory elements. Taking the theme of aging, artist Kali Quinn brought in the idea of birthdays. Each section of re-mesh would contain one decade of life, designated by birthday candles ascending from 0-100.

Now, each night of a Ko Festival performance, installation attendants wearing party hats and ribbons  welcome audience members and encourage them to share their own experience of their age. Continuing in the theme of birthdays, participants are welcomed by the attendants to select a new age to be for the night. They can be younger, older, or stay their own age if they wish. Each participant receives a badge with their new age, and rings a bell to signify the change for the night.

Through its evolution, “Facing Our Age” has become a way to express the shared and divergent experiences of a variety of people from every decade of life. 

- Nate Gibson